Kikuchi’s October Schedule
Update: Added some details from Nikkan Sports.
Sanspo has gotten a hold of Yusei Kikuchi’s meeting schedule over the rest of the month, leading up to the draft. Here’s the breakdown:
Oct 16: meetings with Hanshin, Seibu, and Orix
Oct 17: Chunichi, Yakult, Nippon Ham, Chiba Lotte, Hiroshima, Rakuten and others
Oct 19: begin meeting with MLB clubs
Oct 20: Cleveland Indians, others
Oct 22: conclude meetings
Nikkan Sports lists the MLB clubs stopping by as the Giants, Mets, Dodgers, Yankees, Rangers, Mariners and Indians. With the 12 NPB clubs, that gives us a total of 19 teams that will meet with the young lefty. The Kikuchi camp appears to have accommodated NPB requests in some regards; the NPB teams are getting a chance to talk with him first, and Kikuchi himself will take part in the meetings rather than relying solely on Sasaki-kantoku. Kikuchi did not pander to the request of holding off meeting with MLB clubs until after the draft.
This is a pretty unusual situation in NPB, I can’t think of another draft prospect who’s been handled quite this way since the current draft rules were installed (maybe someone will remind me). It kind of makes me wonder if the NPB teams will collude to allow Kikuchi be drafted by the team that he wants to play for, just to keep him in the league.