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Japanese pitcher Shohei Otani to stay in Japan for now

By Matt Snyder | Baseball Writer
Otani will not be bringing his talents to America -- at least not yet. (Getty Images)

The news on Japanese phenom pitcher Shohei Otani has drastically shifted from a few months ago. Otani announced Sunday that he will start his professional career in Japan with the Nippon-Ham Fighters (via latimes.com).

Originally, Otani had warned Nippon Professional Baseball teams to avoid drafting him because he was planning to head to the United States to play Major League Baseball. The Fighters ignored this advice and selected him in the first round of the NPB draft in October.

Still, Otani met with multiple MLB teams earlier this month and the Dodgers were seen as the frontrunner to land him, with the caveat of "if he comes to America."

Otani is a 6-foot-4 right-hander who reportedly can hit triple digits on the radar gun. His announcement that he will start his career in NBP is a huge victory for the Nippon-Ham Fighters. Not only do they get their first-round pick with big upside, but they are likely to see a huge payment in a few years via the posting system. That's because Otani is focused on coming to America down the road:

“I would eventually like to go to the major leagues,” Otani said Sunday. “It's a place I admire. I would like the Fighters to teach me the road to get there.”

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