The media folks — nearly 70 of them, nearly all from Japan — in attendance Monday at Salt River Fields already knew the drill. The television contingent congregated along the baseline of the U-shaped formation, with the reporters and camera operators crowded next to their cameras and tripods, and the boom mics laid out in front, in aesthetically pleasing parallel lines. The writers stood bunched together on either side of the horseshoe formation, leaving a comfortable gap in the middle for a certain star baseball player to answer questions without being too crowded. No, this group was not assembled for Shohei Ohtani, the Angels' prize acquisition. His unveiling was set for Wednesday in Tempe, about 17 miles to the southwest. And this media throng wasn't here for Yu Darvish, the Cubs' prize offseason acquisition, either. His unveiling was Tuesday in Mesa, about nine miles due south of Salt River Fields. These media folks were waiting to talk with 18-year-old slugger Kotaro Kiyomiya, the next potential superstar to wear the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters uniform. Haven't heard of him in America? You will, soon. Now, in fact. Actually, though you might not remember his name, you might know a bit about him. Back in 2012, Kiyomiya led Japan to the Little League World Series championship in Williamsport, Pa.; already 6 feet tall at 13 years old, he struck out eight Tennessee batters in four innings in the title contest and went 2-for-3 with a pair of runs scored and an RBI in Japan's 12-2 win.
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Meet 18-year-old Kotaro Kiyomiya, Japan's next superstar slugger
Sporting News | Feb 14