This hasn't hit the U.S. press yet (or at least Google News anyway), but the Angels just picked up an interesting Japanese kid.
He is Ikko Sumi, a 20 year old righthand hitting third baseman out of Tokaidai Sagami High School and a dropout from Hakuo University. He played in the Dominican Summer League this year and the Angels decided to sign him to a minor league deal. He will be at their minor league spring camp at Tempe next season.
Ikko is the son of former Yomiuri Giants, Nippon Ham Fighters and Yakult Swallows pitcher Mitsuo Sumi. Sumi once struckout seven Kansas City Royals in a row in a game during the Royals 1981 Japan tour and ultimately compiled a 38-60 record with 99 saves and a 3.05 ERA during his 15 year career (1978-1982).
The elder Sumi most recently worked as a baseball commentator for NHK. Despite the bloodlines, though, Ikko went undrafted by the pros and was not considered a prospect coming out of high school, where he had slugged 30 homers for his career there.
Ikko was born on October 20, 1987 in Tokyo. He started playing organized baseball in first grade with a youth team, the Fujigaoka Fires (not a Little League club) before moving on to Senior League ball in junior high, being named to a national all star team as a ninth grader. He batted cleanup and was team captain at Tokaidai Sagami High, playing in the spring Koshien Tournament as a senior. He is 5'8" and 187 pounds and speaks no English.