Rintaro Sasaki, projected No. 1 pick in Japanese pro draft, decides to play baseball at Stanford


STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — Japanese high school baseball star Rintaro Sasaki has signed a national letter of intent to play at Stanford in 2025, the school announced Tuesday night.

Sasaki will graduate in March from Hanamaki-Higashi High School, the school that produced major league star Shohei Ohtani. Sasaki hit a Japanese high school-record 140 home runs and was projected to be the No. 1 pick in the Nippon Professional Baseball Draft, but decided to go to a U.S. college.

“We are excited to welcome Rintaro into our Stanford family,” coach David Esquer said. “He may be the most high-profile international prospect to play college baseball in the United States in a long time. His power bat plays right into our style of play, and we look forward to him contributing immediately to help us achieve our goals of competing for and winning national titles.”

Sasaki has walked twice as many times as he has struck out and has career batting average of .413, with a .514 on-base percentage and .808 slugging percentage.

Stanford has played in three consecutive College World Series.


AP college sports: https://apnews.com/hub/college-sports

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