Every baseball fan should know the name Roki Sasaki.
He's the 21-year-old sensation from Japan who's already the most electric pitcher in Nippon Professional Baseball. He's a once-in-a-generation talent in the class of Shohei Ohtani.
He's finally on the global stage at the World Baseball Classic, where he'll start Japan's semifinal showdown with Mexico. And in a few years, Sasaki could be the next big thing in Major League Baseball.
If you saw his dazzling WBC debut against the Czech Republic, you probably want to know about one of the most exciting young baseball players in the world.
"It's hard to explain," Japan manager Hideki Kuriyama said after Sasaki's start, "but to me, it's as if he is throwing his soul, not the baseball."
Here's a primer on Roki Sasaki:
He's one of the big three NPB rising stars
Japan has three young superstars who are taking the baseball world by storm: Munetaka Murakami, Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Sasaki. All three are on Samurai Japan for WBC '23.
The 23-year-old slugger Murakami hit 56 home runs in 2022 to break Sadaharu Oh's NPB single-season record of 55 by a Japanese-born player.
The 24-year-old ace Yamamoto won his second straight pitching Triple Crown, Sawamura Award and Pacific League MVP Award.