“I want to play in the Major League in the future. But first of all, I think it’s important to play in the 2024 season and the upcoming season,” Sasaki said at a press conference held at Jozo Marine Stadium in Chiba Prefecture, Japan, the home of Chiba Lotte Stadium on Wednesday.
Sasaki, a “high-end promising player” who recorded 19 wins, 10 losses and an ERA of 2.00 376 strikeouts in 46 games (283 ⅔ innings) in the Japanese professional baseball league, expressed his intention to advance to the Major League after the end of last season. However, Chiba Lotte did not allow Sasaki to post the posting.
Chiba Lotte manager Yoshii Masato said, “I would feel that I would have to repay the club more,” adding, “It is premature for Sasaki to advance to the Major League. Sasaki is a young pitcher who has never even reached the required innings yet.
Controversy grew as the contract between Sasaki and Chiba Lotte was delayed, and Sasaki also withdrew from the Japanese professional baseball team.
Sasaki still has strong commitment to advance to the Major League. “As a professional baseball player, I want to play baseball at a high level and play at such a place. I want to grow further,” he said.
Sasaki joined Chiba Lotte as a first-round pick in 2020, and this year marks his fifth year in the pro league. He debuted in 2021. He had three wins, two losses and an earned run average of 2.27 in 11 games (63 ⅓ innings) that year, demonstrating his potential. He was also the youngest player to play a perfect game in the history of the Japanese pro baseball in 2022. He had nine wins, four losses and an earned run average of 2.02 in 20 games (129 ⅓ innings) in the 2022 season.
He had a foot injury last season. As a result, he pitched in 91 innings, less than 100 innings, in 15 games, but showed excellent pitching with seven wins, four losses and an earned run average of 1.78.
“I haven’t had a chance to talk about my situation in public. There was a misunderstanding and I made you worry,” he told a press conference. “I had conversations with my club about entering the Major League since I joined Chiba Lotte. I didn’t ask the club all of a sudden last year,” he said, showing that he has a firm belief that he will advance to the Major League when the time comes.