Rangers Watch Top High Schooler
According to Nikkan Sports, the Rangers had two scouts watching high school lefthander Yusei Kikuchi on May 21st. Kikuchi didn’t appear in his team’s game, the first of an Iwate Prefectural tournament, but the Rangers watched him work out with a long toss excercise. Kikuchi was quoted as saying, “I’m happy to get this attention but I can’t consider how to proceed until the end of summer”. The Dodgers had assistent GM Logan White watch Kikuchi in a practice game in March, and he appears on the draft lists of all 12 NPB teams.
Kikuchi is among the consensus top class of this year’s draft candidates. Brandon Siefken has brief profile of him in English, and Draft Reports has more on him in Japanese. The Nikkan Sports Draft Guide gave him a “BA” rating, a rating that we would normally denote in English as “a/b”, saying that his fastball is good but he can work on his delivery to get a more movement on his pitches.