Japanese high school pitcher Yusei Kikuchi's 96 mph fastball had eight Major League teams courting him. But Kikuchi is not ready to move so fast.
Kikuchi, 18, announced at a press conference Sunday in Japan that he will opt for his country's pro leagues for now. He is expected to be the No. 1 pick in Japan's Oct. 29 amateur draft.
"I don't think I have what it takes to compete at the world level yet," The Associated Press quoted Kikuchi as saying during the press conference.
Once a player joins a Japanese team, he must play nine seasons before becoming a free agent. Some players, such as Red Sox right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka, can leave earlier through a posting system that allows Major League teams to bid for negotiating rights
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.