Japanese phenom Shohei Otani will reportedly join an MLB team this offseason

If you haven't heard about Shohei Otani, here's the elevator pitch: he's a Japanese pitcher-slash-outfielder who is widely considered the best player in the world who isn't already in the majors -- yet, anyway.

The last part is crucial, because it appears Otani could be heading to the majors this offseason. That per a Japanese report passed along by Jeff Passan

Otani, 23, could well test baseball's willingness to let a player both pitch and play a defensive position on his non-start days. Some scouts have compared him to Justin Verlander on the mound, and Curtis Granderson in the batter's box. Appealing, right?

The one problem is -- well, just how teams will acquire Otani. The new Collective Bargaining Agreement greatly limits Otani's earning potential, and as of yet it's unclear if Major League Baseball intends to tweak things in order to bring Otani to North America. As Passan added:

Between these reports, and the increased scouting presence by high-ranking executives with the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers (among others), it seems increasingly likely that Otani will play in the majors in 2018. Until then, feel free to get your Otani fix by watching him break off a nasty slider.

CBS Sports Staff

R.J. Anderson joined CBS Sports in 2016. He previously wrote for Baseball Prospectus, where he contributed to five of the New York Times bestselling annuals. His work has also appeared in Newsweek and... Full Bio

Show Comments Hide Comments
Our Latest Stories