Kansas City Signs 16-year-old Pitcher

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

by: Eric Boston @EricBoston3

Have the Kansas City Royals added the next Yu Darvish?

Kaito Yuki is a 16-year-old pitcher from Japan who is believed to be the youngest Japanese player EVER, to sign with a major league baseball team.

The Royals have been making an effort to expand their international scouting, and that includes progress in the Pacific Rim. The team’s Japanese scout targeted Yuki, who is forgoing high school to begin his professional career, a player that has drawn many comparisons to Darvish – in fact, a Japanese outlet referred to him as “Darvish II.”

At 6’ 2” and 170 lbs, Yuki projects to fill out into a solid MLB prospect. Over the past year, his fastball has reached 88 mph and his breaking pitches are developing as well. The team hopes that Yuki will get some work in during the fall league, but right now is focused on getting him adjusted to American culture.

Yuki is not taking the traditional route for Japanese players to get to the MLB. Many make a name for themselves in the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization before becoming posted to sign with major league teams.

So what does this mean from the point of view of the Royals?

As a fan of the team, here is the way that I see it. Royals’ fans should be excited about this. Not because of the player, too many never live up to their potential. Instead, fans should love what this says about the organization and their commitment to winning.

The Royals are getting a lot of hate in 2018 due to being one of the worst teams in baseball. Disappointment is understandable due to the team recently reaching the highest level of success in the sport. However, there have been a lot of people saying that the front office isn’t even trying.

This line of thought is basically garbage.

No team wants to lose. For small to mid-market teams winning is a process. You have to develop a winner in a place like Kansas City. In order to do that it all begins with your scouting.

Expanding your presence in the international market opens more opportunities for success. Even if Yuki never makes it to KC this is the kind of move that makes the team familiar to players in Japan. That could end up paying huge dividends.

General Manager Dayton Moore has been making moves to improve the team’s pipeline for pitching; one area the team has struggled at developing. Between the draft and international signing period, it appears the philosophy is that the more you have, the higher your chances of finding quality.

Clearly, time will tell how Yuki will work out. He is signing a standard seven-year deal and most likely will not make his debut until 2019. Even so, these are the types of opportunities the Royals, and others, need to take to be competitive.

No comments:

Post a Comment