It feels as though Roki Sasaki could make history any time he takes the mound. That was the case in his most recent outing on April 28.
Sasaki had already made his mark in Nippon Professional Baseball’s record books by throwing the hardest pitch of any lefty in league history. He had upped the ante during an exhibition game for Samurai Japan prior to the World Baseball Classic as he fired a 102.5 MPH fastball. However, as that pitch did not come during an NPB game, it did not count toward the record.
Roki Sasaki turning heads with blazing fastball, performance
It did not take long for Sasaki to match that mark during a game for the Chiba Lotte Marines. He fired a 102.5 MPH fastball during the fifth inning of his outing on April 28, tying Shohei Ohtani for the fastest pitch thrown by a Japanese player. Sasaki then hit the 102.5 MPH mark three more times in the game for good measure.
It should not come as a surprise that Sasaki has been utterly dominant this season. He has allowed just three runs on 13 hits and four walks over his 27 innings, striking out 38 batters. That includes what could be considered a “disappointing” outing in his last start as he allowed three runs on eight hits in seven innings, hitting his first two batters of the season. But even that outing was relatively solid.
Barring injuries, Sasaki will come stateside at some point in the future. The only question is when that will happen. However, when that time does come, he will have the most fanfare of any Japanese player since Ohtani. There will be plenty of suitors for the latest Japanese phenom as he could instantly transform a starting rotation. Along the way, he will continue to set records in NPB.
Roki Sasaki is continuing to impress every time he takes the mound. This time, the Chiba Lotte Marines star has the fastest pitch in NPB history.