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Shohei Otani: Aims to join Major League Baseball in 2018

13 September 2017, 04:23 | Henrietta Morgan

Shohei Otani: Aims to join Major League Baseball in 2018

Japan's pinch hitter Shohei Otani watches the flight of his ground-rule double with Netherlands' catcher Dashenko Ricardo in the seventh inning of their international exhibition series baseball game at Tokyo Dome in Tokyo Sunday Nov. 13 2016

Potentially huge news broke in the baseball world late on Tuesday night, as multiple Japanese outlets reported that two-way sensation Shohei Otani will be posted this winter and play in the majors in 2018.

Otani would have to wait until he's 25-years-old to be exempt from the hard cap of the worldwide bonus pool but it appears neither he or Major League Baseball clubs are going to wait that long. He needs the Fighters' approval to negotiate with a major league club through the posting system before that time.

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There was some speculation that Otani might delay his move to the big leagues either because of changes to Major League Baseball's worldwide signing rules or because he has been plagued by injuries this season. The 23-year-old two-way superstar now boasts a.346/.416/.574 slash line over 51 games this season and holds a 2.60 career ERA over 522.1 innings in Nippon Professional Baseball. His best work came last season, when the young right-hander - who bats left-handed - finished with a 1.86 ERA with 11.2 strikeouts per nine innings. Instead of commanding a high-end contract, he will be subject to the global bonus pool rather than true free agency.

Far and away the main reason any team will want Otani is because of his ridiculous abilities as a pitcher.

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The rules, ratified early this year, mean that global pros under the age of 25 are treated like amateurs and unable to sign lucrative free agent contracts.

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