Watch Japanese teen phenom Sasaki in MLB Draft League

June 15th, 2024

Japan's all-time high school home run leader, Rintaro Sasaki, made his stateside debut in the MLB Draft League on Tuesday and promptly homered during a three-RBI performance. Tune in to the link above as he continues to suit up for the Trenton Thunder.

Just 19 years old, Sasaki has already established a reputation as a prolific slugger and will enroll at Stanford University in the fall, which means he'll first be MLB Draft-eligible come 2026.

More from MLB Pipeline:
Top 100 prospects | Stats | Video | Podcast | Complete coverage

Sasaki's move to the United States is a largely unprecedented one that will allow the teen phenom to subvert the posting system that Japanese players are traditionally subject to when making the move from pro ball in their native country. When it comes time, he will also be eligible to appear on MLB Pipeline's top Draft -- and if he signs -- and prospects list as well.

He has a direct connection to the Major League game in the form of Blue Jays left-hander Yusei Kikuchi, who used to babysit Sasaki during his childhood. Sasaki's father was Kikuchi's high school coach.

The first half of the MLB Draft League, which runs until July 13, consists of amateur and Draft-eligible players who are looking to enhance their standing. Last year's MLB Draft alone saw 47 alumni selected, with north of an additional dozen signing as undrafted free agents with big league clubs.