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Reports: Japanese phenom Rintaro Sasaki to play college ball in U.S.

Rintaro Sasaki, a 17-year-old first baseman from Japan, did not enter the Nippon Professional Baseball draft and instead intends to play college baseball in the United States, multiple reports said Tuesday.

Sasaki is 6-feet, 250 pounds and known for his raw power. He broke the Japanese high school career home run record by bashing 140 long balls.

Sasaki played for his father at Hanamaki-Higashi High School, where Shohei Ohtani also played in his teenage years.

According to Baseball America, a Japanese prospect named Rikuu Nishida was selected in the 11th round of this year’s MLB Draft after spending two years at a junior college in Oregon. But Sasaki is a big enough talent that he is expected to commit to a Division I school.

As an international player, Sasaki is not eligible for a traditional name, image and likeness (NIL) deal to earn money while playing in college.

–Field Level Media

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