I love that JD and the Rangers aren't simply resigned to the fact that they can't outspend other teams for free agent Starting Pitching (not to mention that pitchers most likely don't want to come to Texas..or at least that was the mentality of old). Instead, we've seen the Rangers wisely allocate their money toward pitchers in the draft or foreign players (even studs such as Iona, even though we didn't get him). It appears we might see this again with Yusei Kikuchi.
You can find video of the kid here:
Per NPB Tracker:
According to Nikkan Sports, the Rangers had two scouts watching high school lefthander Yusei Kikuchi on May 21st. Kikuchi didn’t appear in his team’s game, the first of an Iwate Prefectural tournament, but the Rangers watched him work out with a long toss exercise. Kikuchi was quoted as saying, “I’m happy to get this attention but I can’t consider how to proceed until the end of summer”. The Dodgers had assistant GM Logan White watch Kikuchi in a practice game in March, and he appears on the draft lists of all 12 NPB teams.
Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker passes along a Nikkan Sports article indicating the Rangers sent two scouts to watch high school lefty Yusei Kikuchi. Newman notes that the Dodgers had Logan White watch Kikuchi practice back in March.
Kikuchi is highly regarded, but how does he compare to Junichi Tazawa? Newman told me:
The way I look at it is, Kikuchi is younger, taller, and lefthanded, whereas Tazawa was a older, more polished and had faced better competition. Kikuchi appears to have similar velocity to Tazawa. Tazawa was definitely closer to the big leagues; you wouldn't sign Kikuchi and have him start the season opener in AA. But Kikuchi is a better prospect than Tazawa was when he was 18. So Kikuchi may have a little more upside, but I don't think he would command the same kind of offers Tazawa got. A key difference is that Tazawa had basically made up his mind to come to America by the time I started writing about him. We don't know what Kikuchi's plans are.