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Japan's 'Babe Ruth' Shohei Otani wants to pitch in MLB next season

Sporting News logo Sporting News 9/13/2017 Thomas Lott
Shohei Otani © (Getty Images) Shohei Otani

Shohei Otani is known for many things in Japan, but he wants to expand his horizons to MLB and he wants to do it in 2018.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Otani has expressed interest in coming to the United States. The Chronicle also stated the Giants are scouting the phenom, but honestly, who isn't?

The 23-year-old has been a staple for the Nippon Ham Fighters since he was 18. In that time he has batted .286 with 47 home runs and 163 RBIs is 389 career games. He has also gone 39-15 as a pitcher with 601 strikeouts in 522 1/3 innings hence the comparisons to Babe Ruth in his ability both on the mound and at the plate.

Otani isn't eligible to be a free agent until after the 2021 season in Japan, so he'll need the Fighters' approval to negotiate with any MLB team. If he Fighters plan to post Otani after this season, he would be subject to the international bonus pool under the new MLB collective bargaining agreement.

Otani would have to wait until he's 25 years old to be exempt from the hard cap of the international bonus pool but it appears neither he or MLB clubs are going to wait that long.

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