Global Baseball Recap (4/29-5/5)

Roki Sasaki finally met his match: his best friend.

Baseball is global! Here are the top storylines from around the world of baseball (4/29-5/5).


Roki Sasaki vs Hiroya Miyagi


Roki Sasaki is maybe the hottest name in international baseball at the moment. The 22-year-old flamethrower has taken the baseball world by storm after nearly throwing back-to-back perfect games in 2022, his WBC performance in 2023, and heavy speculation that he wants to come to MLB this upcoming winter. But far fewer American fans are fimilar with one of Sasaki’s best friends, and one of NPB’s best pitchers: Hiroya Miyagi.

Like Sasaki, Miyagi is also 22 years old, but everything else about him as a pitcher is polar opposite: while Sasaki is a long, lanky 6’4″, 202 lbs RHP who regularly touches triple digits, Miyagi is a LHP who is listed at 5’7″, 176 lbs, and sits in the low 90s with his fastball. And yet, there is a good case to be made that they may be NPB’s two best starting pitchers at the moment.

Their friendship is well-documented, and they were teammates on Samurai Japan in last year’s WBC, but they faced off in maybe the best pitching matchup in world baseball last week:

Roki Sasaki 7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 10 K
Hiroya Miyagi 8.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 13 K

Sasaki’s highlights:

Miyagi’s highlights:

And yes, they remain friends in the aftermath of battle.


Tyler Black’s MLB Debut


Canada has a REALLY solid young core of position players ready to show out in the next World Baseball Classic (2026): Edouard Julien, Owen Caissie, Denzel Clarke, the Naylor brothers (Josh, Bo, and Myles).

One of the very best of this Canadian generation is the Brewers’ Tyler Black.

Milwaukee called up Black last week after he slashed .303/.393/.525 with 5 HR, 3 SB, and only 16 K to 13 BB in Triple-A to start this season. The corner infielder is MLB Pipeline’s 41st ranked prospect, making him the top ranked Canadian prospect, one ahead of Owen Caissie.

Black may not have the power potential that Caissie does, but he has a really nice power-speed blend that fantasy managers crave, and with more Triple-A walks than strikeouts, he should excel in OBP leagues as well.

In his MLB debut, Black went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI, but the most heartwarming part was his dad getting to make the call for Tyler’s first big league hit:

“And there’s a base hit to right field from my boy, Tyler Black.”


Munetaka Murakami’s 4 HR Week


Munetaka Murakami! He’s back!

After a very quiet start to the season in the HR column, the 24-year-old former Triple Crown winner had a huge power surge this last week, hitting 4 HR in 5 games.

Murakami was one of the stars of last year’s WBC, where he walked-off Mexico in the semifinals and hit a bomb off Merrill Kelly in the final vs Team USA (115.1 MPH, 432 FT). He holds the record for most HR in a single NPB season by a Japanese-born player with 56 HR in 2022, the same year he won the Triple Crown and slashed .318/.458/.711. He is truly one of the strongest players in world baseball.

Last year was a big step back in plate discipline as he struck out 168 times, but he still cranked 31 HR with a .256/.375/.500 slash line.

Now, after his 4 homer week, he is tied for the season lead in NPB, is 1 shy of 200 career HR, and his early numbers this year are starting to look much better. Through 29 games:

.284/.443/.539, 29 H, 20 R, 13 RBI, 8 HR, 38 K, 28 BB, 2 SB

He’s back. It was only a matter of time. MGM (mashers gonna mash).


Venezuela’s Serie Internacional


While international tournaments are nothing new to our global sport, they certainly are becoming more commonplace!

Venezuela will reportedly be hosting an international series, a “Serie Internacional,” this October. The plan is to hold the tournament before the winter league seasons begin.

There will be 6 teams participating:

Leones del Caracas Venezuela
Navegantes del Magallanes Venezuela
Tiburones de La Guaira Venezuela
Tigres del Licey Dominican Republic
Cangrejeros de Santurce Puerto Rico
A representative “made up of players from two leagues” Japan


The host site is said to be Estadio Monumental de Caracas Simón Bolívar. I’m hoping there will be an English-language broadcast. This will be a must-see event for international baseball fans, and fans of the Caribbean winter leagues.


MLB History: Wins for 3 Japanese Pitchers


Lots of Japanese baseball news this week! For the first time in MLB history, 3 Japanese pitchers earned a win on the same day:

Kenta Maeda 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K
Shota Imanaga 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K
Yoshinobu Yamamoto 6.0 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K

Japanese pitchers are performing incredibly well through one month of the season, and while wins don’t dictate a pitcher’s true value, May 1, 2024 is a testament to both the quality and volume of Japanese pitchers in MLB at the moment.

Shawn Spradling

Shawn Spradling is an International Baseball writer and content creator who specializes in World Baseball Classic coverage. His content looks at baseball through an international lens, and he loves to bring exposure to the growth and culture of the sport all across the globe. He is from Austin, TX, but is currently living in Dallas. He loves to travel, meet people and try food from different countries. Outside of baseball, he is an all-around sports fan who loves football, soccer, and F1. He loves music, Marvel movies, and is a big foodie.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Account / Login