TOKYO — Samurai Japan U-18 National Team stars Kotaro Kiyomiya, Shoshei Nakamura and Hisanori Yasuda were selected in the 1st Round of the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) Draft.

The three first-rounders helped Japan to a bronze medal at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup 2017 in Thunder Bay this past September. Kiyomiya also played for silver-winning Japan at the WBSC U-18 Baseball World Cup 2015 Osaka.

The Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters High won the lottery among seven NPB clubs seeking superstar slugger Kiyomiya, with Nakamura going to the Hiroshima Toyo Carp and Yasuda to the Chiba Lotte Marines.

In the recent Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) Draft, WBSC U-18 All-World Team 2017 two-way star Kang Baek-ho was the first player selected. Kang helped Korea earn the silver in Thunder Bay.

USA’s U-18 Baseball World Cup 2017 “Dream Team” is likely to have a record number of MLB 1st Round picks in 2018, with tournament MVP Triston Casas and WBSC U-18 All-World Team 2017 members Ethan Hankins, Mike Siani, Alek Thomas and Brice Turang, as well as, Jarred Kelenic, Kumar Rocker, Will Banfield, Ryan Weathers, Mason Denaburg, Cole Wilcox, Matthew Liberatore, JT Ginn and Nolan Gorman all potential first-round selections.

Many of the biggest superstars in baseball today played in the U-18 Baseball World Cup or the qualifiers,