OSAKA, Japan (AP) — Highly touted Japanese pitcher-outfielder Shohei Otani announced on Saturday he wants to move to Major League Baseball.
At a press conference, Otani said "I hope to do my best in America from next year on,"
Otani's Japanese club, the Nippon Ham Fighters, said on Friday they will allow Otani to use the posting system this offseason, clearing the way for him to sign with a major league team next season.
Otani, 23, is the reigning Pacific League MVP and was 3-2 with a 3.20 ERA this year. Despite thigh and ankle injuries, he batted .332 in 65 games with 16 doubles, eight homers and 31 RBIs. He had ankle surgery last month.
He has a 42-15 record with a 2.52 ERA and 624 strikeouts in 543 innings over five seasons, and a .286 batting average with 48 homers and 166 RBIs.
Because Otani has less than nine years of service time, Nippon Ham retains his rights and he must go through the posting system to leave.