Kansai Sugimoto strives to play professional baseball and envisions the pathways he can take to get there.
His numbers on the mound over the past few seasons have been solid and he has the opportunity to build on them before attempting to take the next step.
The Yavapai College commit will join the Roughriders in Arizona in the fall, after spending the time with the Ontario Blue Jays. He has his eyes set on playing professional baseball.
“I want to play in NPB first, then go to the MLB,” said the Kyoto, Japan, native. “I’ve heard the minor leagues are very tough and there’s almost zero money, but in the NPB they can make more money.”
Sugimoto posted a 6-3 win-loss record with a 2.07 ERA over 60.2 innings pitched with the Fraser Valley Junior Cardinals in the 2019 regular season.
Last fall, the young pitcher put up a 3.20 ERA, with a 1.525 WHIP through 19.2 innings with the Blue Jays on their “fall trip” to the United States.
The Japanese product has the ability to reach 95 miles per hour on the radar gun, with a four-pitch arsenal that includes a four-seam fastball, curveball, changeup, and splitter.
His desire to play in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball league is motivated by more than just money.
“They have a lot of good coaches and good food,” Sugimoto said. “Environment-wise I think Japan is better than the minor leagues.”
Kansai Sugimoto looks up to Japanese baseball star Shohei Ohtani so much that he keeps a photo of the Los Angeles Angels designated hitter and pitcher on his phone case.