The Yakult Swallows' record-breaking slugger Munetaka Murakami revealed Monday he has his sights set on a move to the majors as soon as possible.
One of Japanese baseball's brightest talents, the 22-year-old third baseman was unequivocal about wanting to join the likes of countryman Shohei Ohtani in MLB when quizzed by reporters during a media conference at the Japan National Press Club in Tokyo.
"Of course I want to try. I don't know how old I'll be, but I'm still young, so the sooner the better," Murakami said. "It will involve discussions with (the Swallows), but if I can go, I want to go soon."
The Kumamoto Prefecture native was named Central League MVP last year and is in strong contention to repeat this year.
He became Japan's youngest Triple Crown winner in the 2022 Nippon Professional Baseball season, during which he belted 56 home runs to surpass all-time great Sadaharu Oh's previous record for a Japanese-born player of 55.
While Murakami is firmly on the radar of major league teams, the path to MLB is not always a straight one for Japanese players, and can often depend on the whims of their NPB clubs.
"Of course, since I first joined (Yakult), the challenge (of the majors) is something that I have eventually wanted to take on, if allowed the opportunity," Murakami said.