Did you become arrogant after winning the WBC?
‘Perfect Man’ Rocky Sasaki (22), who contributed to Japan’s 7-game winning streak at the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC), returned to his team, Chiba Lotte Marines, and trained for the first time.
Japanese media such as ‘Sankei Sports’ reported that on the 28th, Sasaki joined the Chiba Lotte 1st team training held at Jojo Marine Stadium and threw about 20 balls with bullpen pitching. On the 30th, through live BP, we will go to the final inspection ahead of the opening.
At the WBC, Sasaki formed a four-man starting rotation with top class seniors active in the US and Japan, such as Shohei Ohtani (LA Angels), Yu Darvish (San Diego), and Yoshinobu Yamamoto (Orix).
In the group stage match against the Czech Republic (3⅔innings, 1 run, no self-record victory) and the semifinal match against Mexico (4 innings, 3 runs), 7 hits (1 home run), 2 walks, 1 walk, 11 strikeouts, 4 runs (3 earned runs) average ERA in 2 games in 7⅔innings scored 3.52. He caught the attention of the major leagues with his terrifying four-seam fastball, which reached a maximum of 101.9 miles (164 km) and an average of 100.5 miles (161.7 km).
Regarding Sasaki’s change, Masato Yoshii, who went to the WBC as a pitching coach for the Japanese national team, said, “It seems that various values have changed while experiencing world championships. To put it badly, I became a little arrogant, but I think it’s good. All majors are arrogant. To put it in a good way, I gained confidence,” he said, explaining that the WBC has become a stage that inspires confidence.
Regarding Sasaki’s first three-run home run against Luis Urias in the fourth inning against Mexico in the semifinals, coach Yoshii said, “I was prepared to give up three runs and put it on the mound. I wondered if there would be a mistake in the bad flow, but the Mexican batter hit well,” he said, looking back, saying, “It was fortunate that I overcame myself after hitting a home run.” After allowing a home run, Sasaki was replaced after finishing the 4th inning by grounding the next hitter, Alan Trehoe, to the shortstop.
Sasaki, who has been called a monster by throwing 160km fastballs since high school, was nominated by Chiba Lotte as the first pick in the draft in 2019. started to unleash its potential. On April 10 last year, he set a new world record by striking out 13 batters in a row against the Orix Buffaloes, becoming Japan’s youngest (20 years and 5 months) hero of the perfect game. 스포츠토토
Last year, Sasaki recorded 20 games (129⅓ innings), 9 wins, 4 losses, an average ERA of 2.02, and 173 strikeouts. His skills are top-notch, but he was under intensive care at the club level, throwing at least once a week and being dropped from the roster even though he was not injured. This year, the same management will continue. Director Yoshii said, “I can’t handle it harshly considering not only this season, but also Sasaki’s future. He will definitely take care of it.