Japanese slugger Kotaro Kiyomiya elects to turn professional
TOKYO (AP) — Japanese high school baseball standout Kotaro Kiyomiya said on Friday he had decided to turn pro rather than attend university.
Kiyomiya, who holds the unofficial record of 111 home runs during his high school career, has impressed pro scouts in Japan and in Major League Baseball with his powerful swing.
The 18-year-old Waseda Jitsugyo High School senior has drawn comparisons to former New York Yankees slugger Hideki Matsui. Kiyomiya bats left, stands 6 feet (184 centimeters) and weighs 222 pounds (101 kilograms).
“I have decided to try for the next challenge knowing how tough it is to be a pro,” Kiyomiya said. “I want to clear each hurdle that comes before me. I hope to join a team that will help me develop as a player,”
Japan’s amateur draft will be held on Oct. 26.
Had Kiyomiya attended a Japanese university and graduated, he would not be eligible for Nippon Professional Baseball’s amateur draft until autumn 2021 and could not begin playing pro ball until the following spring.