Shohei Otani has already become somewhat of a name in Texas and he’s barely out of high school and hasn’t even officially made his next career move. His fastball averages around 94 mph, but he is capable of reaching up to 99 mph. He has some command issues on the glove side and does have a tendency to be a bit wild, but his upside is still high enough to warrant MLB level attention. Otani has said that he fully expects to start out as a minor league player in a club’s system, which is a great thing to hear. I believe if he is a Ranger, our minor league system will help nurture and develop him over a year or two or however long they want him to take. I’m very much excited about the prospect of him coming over. Here is a little sampling of his work.
There are a couple of things to be aware of from a news stand point:
Update #1: It is believed that the Rangers and Red Sox have done the most in developing a dialogue and scouting relationship with Otani, his family and his representatives. Also, many believe that since Otani is a Yu Darvish follower, he may be enticed to listen to the Rangers and use Darvish’s first year as a gauge of what the club can and will do to ensure he has a good MLB career as a Ranger.
Update #2: As of a little over one hour ago, it was confirmed via ESPN that the Nippon Ham Fighters, former home of our beloved Mr. Darvish, have selected Otani in their NPB draft. Otani then sent out a release that stated that he is honored to garner their pick and their attention, but he still fully intends on making his way to the Majors. Unlike with Darvish last December, there is no fee to pay for negotiating rights. He is a free agent, but Nippon will have until March to speak with him and convince him to stay in Japan. Considering that, plus the need to start him in the minors, there is a great chance for the Rangers to bring him to Texas.