Roki Sasaki may be a long way from coming stateside but that does not mean he does not already have a presence here.
Sasaki had already made Nippon Professional Baseball history. The Chiba Lotte Marines star became the youngest pitcher to fire a perfect game in league history, tying the league’s strikeout record in the process. His 19 strikeouts were the most even in a perfect game in professional baseball. It was a truly impressive performance.
Roki Sasaki making presence felt in Cooperstown
And that performance is being recognized stateside. An autographed game used ball from that outing is heading to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
This may not be the last item of Sasaki’s to be kept in Cooperstown. He followed that perfect game with eight perfect innings in his next start before being taken out of the game, leaving him tantalizingly close to matching Johnny Vender Meer by throwing consecutive no-hitters. Sasaki’s accomplishment would have been far more impressive had he been able to complete the perfect game.
While that perfect game garnered the most attention, Sasaki was a dominant force throughout much of the season. He posted a stellar 2.02 ERA and a 0.796 WHiP in his 129.1 innings, striking out 173 batters with just 23 walks. At 20 years old, he appears to be well on his way to stardom.
It will be some time before he comes to the majors. Sasaki would not be eligible for international free agency for another eight years. He could wait to ask to be posted until he has turned 25 so that he is not subject to signing bonus limitations. However, he is likely to be well worth the wait if he does decide to make that move. If it does happen, Sasaki could end up with quite a collection in Cooperstown.
Roki Sasaki is already making his presence felt in Cooperstown. An autographed gamed used ball from his perfect game is heading to the Hall of Fame.