[If you are looking for more up-to-date Otani information, be sure to check the Shohei Otani tag]
Updates on Shohei Otani from October 20:
- The Chiba Lotte Marines are unsure about what to with their first pick and will likely wait until Otani announces his plans. If he decides to play in Japan, he could become their first pick. If he decides to play in the US, they will likely remove him from their list. Source: Sponichi 10/20/2012 @ 6:00am
- The Yokohama Bay Stars will also probably remove Otani from their list if he decides he wants to play in the US. Source: Sanspo 10/20/2012 @ 5:02am
- The Rakuten Eagles, Nippon Ham Fighters, Seibu Lions, Softbank Hawks have expressed interested in Otani. Source: Nikkan Sports 10/20/2012 @ 7:07am
- According to people involved, Otani, both his parents, and manager Hiroshi Sasaki are scheduled to meet today. An announcement was originally planned for Monday, but with the draft looming, it was push up a day to Sunday. Otani is reportedly concerned about burdening family and about his future in the NPB (if he goes to the US now, he will not be able to play in the NPB for three years after his return to Japan). People around him are also suggesting that he stay. He will probably decide to remain in Japan. Source: Sports Hochi 10/20/2012 @ 6:00am
- Otani will make an announcement on Monday. A number of teams, including the Yokohama Bay Stars and Rakuten Eagles, are waiting to hear what Otani's final decision. Source: Sanspo 10/20/2012 @ 5:02am
- A person with knowledge of the situation told reporters that Otani has his heart set on going to the US, but his father wants him to stay in Japan. His mother also took his father's opinion. A number of teams could still select Otani even if he decides he wants to play in the US. Source: Sanspo 10/20/2012 @ 5:04am
Sportive Shueisha posted an interesting interview with Otani on October 15. I have provided bits of it below:
With regards to your plans, the media mentions it is either the NPB or the MLB. What are you current thoughts?
The NPB and the MLB each have their good points. I am not sure [where I want to go]. During my high school year, I got hurt and I feel that I am still an unfinished player. That is why the manager and I thought it would be good for me to go to a team with a strong player development program instead of one that will put me at Ichi-gun right away. I want to base my decision on which I think fits best for me right now.
What kind of image do you have of the NPB?
Compared to the US, there are fewer players per team, which I think means they get more attention and coaching support.
What about the MLB?
I have not gone myself, so I do not know the details, but I did read some materials. It mentioned that while team practices were short, many players also worked out on their own. They create programs for each player and the player in turn follows that program. I do, however, think that the difficulty level in both Japan and America is about the same.
Regardless of whether you play in the NPB or go to the US, what do you think is missing from you right now?
The thing I got from the international tournament in September was how big the US players were. They looked so big for their age. I think I did grow during my three years in high school, but that made me feel I have to get even stronger. I want to create a body that can compete at the professional level.
If you look at yourself objectively, what kind of person are you?
Good or bad, I have my own pace. I think that sometime comes out when I am on the field.
You have a lot of skill, but there are some that are not sure if someone so simple/honest can make it in the pros. What do you think about that?
That is part of what is good about Tohoku and Iwate. There is nothing I can do if that is what they think. I need to get past that, ignore it. I would like to try and change that into a good thing, like fodder to push me forward to prove they are wrong.
Lastly, where do you see yourself play in ten years?
Regardless of whether I start in Japan or the US, I want to be standing on an MLB mound ten years from now. I want to be performing at the front of the lines. That is what I want to focus on. And I want to become a player that can give kids a dream to shoot for, like Ichiro and Daisuke Matsuzaka did for me when I was kid.
UPDATE @ 8:07pm - Otani is scheduled to hold a press conference tomorrow afternoon/evening to announce his decision. Source: Nikkan Sports 10/20/2012