It wasn’t Sasaki Loki’s ‘160km fastball’ that the Japanese media really paid attention to

It is currently unlikely that Rocky Sasaki (22, Chiba Lotte), who throws the fastest ball in Japanese professional baseball, will play against Korea in the first round of the World Baseball Classic 메이저사이트(WBC). Darvish Yu (San Diego) is being talked about as the starting pitcher for Japan’s Korean match.

However, it is impossible to predict at what moment and in what form we will meet him until the end of the tournament. On the 15th, Sasaki became a hot topic when he climbed the mound for his first actual game in a practice match against Yakult held at the Itoman Baseball Stadium in Okinawa Prefecture and shot 160 km per hour. Sasaki is the type of player who quickly picks up his pace enough to shoot up to 163 km in an exhibition game at the end of February last year. March competitions can be strong.

Sasaki already showed his natural restraint and threw 2 innings, 5 strikeouts, 1 hit and no runs. However, more than the result of the mound that day, what the Japanese media was interested in was the third pitch in his pitching repertoire.

The Japanese media, including ‘The Digest’, focused on the slider Sasaki threw on the 16th. As a starting pitcher, Sasaki has a monotonous pitch. Last year, 90% of all pitches were filled with fastballs and forkballs. In the practice game that day, he threw 29 pitches, 13 fastballs, 13 forkballs, and only 3 sliders. To put it simply, it’s either a fastball or a forkball,

but Sasaki responded by paying close attention to the slider during the pitching process that day. Even in an interview, he said, “I tried to use a forkball for left batters and a slider for right batters. It’s not the best yet, but better than last year. I think he’ll get better with more throwing in the future,” he said.

For example, it seems that he is experimenting with a fastball and forkball combination for left-handed batters, and a fastball and slider combination for right-handed hitters.

Chiba Lotte catcher Go Matsukawa, who received Sasaki’s ball, explained, “Last year, the slider only bent horizontally, but this year it shows a vertical change in front of the batter.” Sasaki is also said to have changed the slider grip.

Again, the problem is the completeness of the pitch. This is because if the slider is not properly engaged, it may become a powerless fastball that enters flat. This is something to look into when Sasaki is on the mound for a tournament. If there is a possibility of appearing in the Korean War, it seems to be a topic that needs to be looked at more deeply.

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