The Stanford University baseball team has recruited a first-round MLB talent in Japanese teenage slugger Rintaro Sasaki, according to head coach David Esquer.

The 18-year-old, left-handed hitting first baseman has made waves in Japan by opting to play college baseball in the United States instead of entering the NPB draft.

He will graduate in March from Iwate Prefecture's Hanamaki Higashi High School, where he has been coached by his father, Hiroshi, who previously mentored Los Angeles Dodgers two-way star Shohei Ohtani and Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Yusei Kikuchi at the school.

Sasaki decided to head to the United States straight out of high school after receiving advice from Ohtani and Kikuchi.

"I think his ability is first-round capable," Esquer said in an online interview. "Our job is to help him improve every year and reach his potential."

Stanford has won the NCAA College World Series twice, in 1987 and 1988. The 184-centimeter, 112-kilogram Sasaki will attend the university on a scholarship.

He will enroll at Stanford for the spring quarter in April before joining the baseball program for the 2025 season.

"We've seen Rintaro exclusively on video and film and had access to a lot of tape," Esquer said. "It's unquestionable, his ability to hit and be a middle-of-the-order bat and play right away."

Esquer has high hopes for the team once Sasaki joins the program.

"We hope to win a national championship while he is here," he said.