Undeterred by Shohei Otani's public statements that he plans to sign with a Major League Baseball team, the Nippon-Ham Fighters drafted the Japanese high school righthander on Thursday. Righthander Shintaro Fujinami, the 18-year-old Japanese high school pitcher who some scouts prefer to Otani, went to the Hanshin Tigers.
Despite being drafted, Otani, 18, still has the option to sign with an MLB team instead. It's a situation that rarely comes up, as top Japanese high school pitchers typically stay in Japan and almost never sign directly with an MLB team. Fujinami is of course in the same situation, but sources have said he has told people that his preference is to stay in Japan.
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