Meet the Japanese man who threw a perfect game with 19 strikeouts in his 20s

This is Japanese pitcher Roki Sasaki, just 20 years old, who made history and set new records in organized baseball in Japan.

Roki Sasakiis a 20-year-old right-hander who was chased by teams from the MLB before joining the Chiba Lotte Marines of Nippon Professional Baseball. Now his name is trending after launching a perfect game of 19 strikeouts Sunday in a 6-0 win over the Orix Buffaloes in the Japan Professional Baseball League.

Sasaki dominated Orix hitters using his vast repertoire of pitches, including a 100+ mph fastball, a devastating splitter and his forkball. The funny thing about it all is that he only needed 105 pitches to complete the perfect game. And as if that weren’t enough, he struck out 13 batters in a row.


Records that Sakaki set. (Via Sports Summary)

• Pitched 1st NPB perfect game in 28 years.

• Tied the NPB record for strikeouts in a game (19).

•Set an NPB record for consecutive strikeouts with 13.


Sakaki’s words:

“This is the best. Honestly, I wasn’t thinking about the possibility (of a perfect game). I thought it would be okay if I gave up a hit, so I just pitched and put my trust in (catcher Ko) Matsukawa until the end.

What hardly anyone knows.

Sakaki’s father lost his life in 2011, he was one more death from that earthquake and tsunami that caused so much damage in Japan.


Numbers in the 2021 season

Sasaki, one of Japan’s brightest young throwing stars, was heavily recruited by the MLB after high school, but eventually signed with the Marines after they drafted him. As a 19-year-old rookie in 2021, he posted a 2.27 ERA and 1.06 WHIP with 68 strikeouts in 11 Pacific League starts.

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Meet the Japanese man who threw a perfect game with 19 strikeouts in his 20s