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Yusei Kikuchi wants to go the Majors… But too risky? (updated)

by on Aug.24, 2009 @ 5:25 pm, under High School

Sanspo has posted an article about Yusei Kikuchi's desire to go to the Majors. I've translated all the quotes from the article and included them down below. Right now, it sounds like he really wants to make the jump to the Majors, but is afraid of burning his bridges in Japan.

This news has got to be making the NPB nervous.

Here are the quotes from the article:

"No more school for me. A letter of intent to turn pro? I'll probably talk it over with some folks for about a week as soon as I'm eligible to submit a letter of intent."

"I know US clubs were out watching me. I want to study up on the draft a bit more. If I go to the US now, I might have some trouble when I come back. I want to look into that area as well."

"I think there's a big risk involved with going righ away. It's either take that risk, or stay in Japan and build up a foundation. A part of me would like to be one of the first high schoolers to break through. I think Tazawa-san is amazing for following through with his own convictions."

Reaction from Hanamaki Higashi manager, Hiroshi Sasaki:

"Now that the tournament ended, we'll have a chance to talk a little about the possibility of continuing his education. In the ends, it's really up to him. The Majors? I haven't really thought about it, but I have spoken to him about it. It's an option that's available to him, but I'd like to sit down and study the draft rules with him [first]."

Reaction from New York Mets scout, Isao Ojimi:

"Really?! This is big news. If he stays in Japan, he may never get to the Majors. I tend to think it's better for kids in Japan to stay in Japan. But he's a different case. It's his life though, so I want him to really think long and hard about what to do next."

=== Update: 8/25 @ 6:32am JST

Just another quick update.

In order for Kikuchi to qualify for either NPB or the MLB, he will have to submit a letter of intent by October 15th. If he wants to stay in Japan, he has nothing else to do. IF, however, he wants to go the Majors, he'll have to submit letters to every team that's interested in him and ask that they NOT pick him. Otherwise whichever team picks him will have FULL negotiation rights with Kikuchi until March 31, 2010. Since the MLB is in full compliance with this rule, they will not be able to talk to Kikuchi until April 1st.

If Kikuchi gets picked and turns down the NPB and goes to the Majors, he will not be allowed back into the NPB until 3 years after he leaves the Majors.

(Confirmed in latest Sanspo article found here.)

=== Update: 8/25 @ 5:23pm JST

I'm not sure if this is a new view on what Kikuchi has said, or if this is an update over what was said earlier, but Sponichi has posted an article stating that Kikuchi is now leaning towards staying in Japan.

A quote by Kikuchi from the article:

"Going to the Majors straight out of high school is really risky. I was really faltering between which path to take: taking the risk by going to the Majors, or staying in Japan and building a solid foundation first. But with the way my high school career ended, I feel as if I have some unfinished business left in Japan."