Shohei Otani is coming to America

Shohei Otani, an 18-year old Japanese player who was expected to go in the first round of the amateur draft on Thursday in Japan, will instead be starting his career in America.

The 6'4 Otani is extremely raw, with a fastball that has touched 98 or 99 mph, but typically sits at around 95. A report from NPB Tracker of an Otani start in the spring called him "effectively wild", detailing a game in which Otani struck out nine hitters and also walked nine. NPB Tracker also linked to a video of an Otani start on July 19th, where you can take a look at his mechanics and stuff for himself. Some scouts have compared Otani to a young Felix Hernandez, which is obviously extremely high praise for an 18-year old.

If Otani does sign with a MLB team, he's not going to make an immediate impact like Yu Darvish did this season for the Rangers. At the same time, I think Otani will get a lot more money than the three years and $3.3 million that Junichi Tazawa got as a 22-year old from the Red Sox, missing all of 2010 recovering from Tommy John surgery and finally making an impact in the majors in 2012 for Boston.

Teams linked to Otani include the Dodgers, the Yankees, the Red Sox, and shockingly, the Orioles. But remember, the Orioles made a splash in the Asian market last winter by signing Wei-Yin Chen and Tsuyoshi Wada (who missed all of the 2012 season) to multi-year deals each. Chen was a huge part of their success this season as Baltimore's most consistent starter, leading to them making the playoffs for the first time since 1997.

EDIT: As mentioned in the comments, the new international spending cap will limit the amount of money that a team can sign Otani for. So he won't be getting a bounty like Darvish, and probably won't even get a package like Tazawa got…instead, his bonus will likely be similar to a mid to late first round pick in the MLB draft.

About Joe Lucia

I'm the managing editor of Awful Announcing and the news editor of The Comeback. I also made The Outside Corner a thing for six seasons.