20-Year-Old Roki Sasaki Throws 19-K Perfect Game in Japan's Top League

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVApril 10, 2022

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 05:  Closeup photo of batting gloves and a baseball bat on the grass before the Los Angeles Dodgers played the Los Angeles Angels at Dodger Stadium on April 5, 2022 in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by John McCoy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
John McCoy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Japanese star Roki Sasaki was untouchable Sunday, throwing a perfect game in a Nippon Professional Baseball contest over the Orix Buffaloes, per ESPN

This wasn't a run-of-the-mill perfect game, either. The 20-year-old struck out 19 batters to tie an NPB record and fanned 13 straight batters at one point.

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Roger Clemens, Kerry Wood and Max Scherzer all share the MLB single-game strikeout record (20) for a nine-inning contest. None of the three had a perfect game, though, with Wood coming the closest by only allowing one hit in his 1998 gem.

In 16 games with the Chiba Lotte Marines in 2021, Sasaki had 87 strikeouts and allowed just 17 earned runs over 83.1 innings for a 1.84 ERA. Heading into this season, the 6'2" right-hander will have already been on the radar of MLB teams.

After Sunday, it might only be a matter of time before rumors linking him to a move to the United States reach a fever pitch.