Add another gem to the collection for 16-year-old Japanese phenom Tomohiro Anraku.
Facing Venezuela on Monday in his first start at the 18U World Championships in Taiwan, Anraku struck out 16 in a complete-game shutout, allowing just two hits and no walks in Japan’s 7-0 victory. He needed just 100 pitches to finish the game, working off a fastball that parked in the high-80s to low-90s and maxed out at 93, along with a slider that topped out in the low-80s.
Of the two hits Anraku allowed, one was a weakly-hit infield single to the first baseman, the other a grounder past the left of a diving third baseman for a single to left field, the only ball Venezuela hit out of the infield the entire game.
Anraku hit 97 mph earlier this summer, but he wasn’t going at maximum effort against Venezuela. The best Venezuelan 18-and-under players like Franklin Barreto and Carlos Tocci didn’t go to the tournament, as Venezuela brought over a team of unsigned players, or what the scouting community refers to as “passed over” guys who have already been eligible to sign since previous international signing periods.
The 6-foot-2, 187-pound Anraku generated attention across the world this year while pitching for his high school team at Spring Koshien, where he showed an electric arm and amassed an incredible workload, including a 232-pitch start and a total of 772 pitches over nine days.
His Summer Koshien was dramatic but brief, as Anraku’s Saibi High (Ehime Prefecture) was eliminated after two games. Anraku threw a 137-pitch complete game followed by a 183-pitch outing a few days later in which Anraku also hit a three-run homer in the 10th inning of Saibi High’s 7-6 loss.
Unlike at Koshien, Anraku, who’s the second-youngest pitcher on the Japanese squad, won’t be counted on to pitch every inning at the World Championships. Japan has already used two other pitchers to start games and is 3-0 with victories over Mexico and Taiwan.
You can watch every pitch Anraku threw in the game in the video below: