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UCLA Baseball: Bruins Among 4 Teams Being Considered By "Japanese Prince Fielder"

This slugger would be a terrific addition to John Savage's team...
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With the mass invasion of highly-touted Japanese baseball players coming to the United States, slugging first baseman Rintaro Sasaki is the next athlete hoping to fulfill his team of playing in Major League Baseball. 

However, he's blazing a new path both transcendent and atypical to his fellow countrymen. 

Although he's already eligible for the NPB draft, Sasaki -- Japan's best high school prospect -- is instead forgoing the opportunity to go pro in his native country. Instead, he's decided to come to the United States and play for a college program. By doing this, he'll be eligible to play in Major League Baseball by 2027. Otherwise, he'd not be eligible until 2030. 

A recent update indicated that Sasaki is down to four college programs: UCLA, California, Stanford, and Vanderbilt. 

Sasaki is a special prospect. He's not your ordinary run-of-the-mill power hitter from the prep ranks. He set a Japanese record for hitting 140 home runs during his high school career. 

The 6-foot 250-pound left-handed hitter is drawing comparisons to former MLB hitter Prince Fielder. While possessing a stocky, unique build for a first baseman, Fielder had a wicked bat -- hitting homers to all parts of the field. The leverage he accrued from a broader frame was evident. With shorter arms, Fielder was able to get to the ball more quickly. 

Though at least two inches taller than Fielder, we're seeing the same thing with Sasaki. There's effortless power with his swing. His ability to get his hands through the hitting zone while also applying considerable torque through his hips enables a tremendous launch angle. 

Had he decided to stay in Japan, he likely would've been the No. 1 overall pick according to various scouts and reports. As it currently stands, he'd enter NCAA baseball as one of -- if not the top high school prep prospect (which includes prospects from the United States and all over the world). 

UCLA would love to land Sasaki. John Savage's program is widely known for pitching and small-ball offense. In fact, there's been somewhat of a trend in which the Bruins simply don't score enough runs to match their pitching prowess. 

Sasaki would be an immediate impact bat. One has to wonder whether the location of Los Angeles helps here considering it's only a direct flight away from Japan. Being able to watch newly-signed Dodgers Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Shohei Ohtani in person can't hurt UCLA's chances, either. Ironically, Sasaki is graduating from the same high school that Ohtani attended. 

A source close to the situation indicates that UCLA is feeling confident about landing this impressive prep player.