But the development monster is a greedy guy, and the first hint of troubles came a month later when scouts said they didn’t think the bat would reach the gaps quite so good (9 > 8). The next report said that apparently the Lasix procedure didn’t work as well as expected, and the plate discipline wasn’t quite so good (6 > 5). In April, the complex’s hitting coach said he was thinking the power potential was over-stated (8 > 7).
This is when stories of journalistic manipulation started to surface.
Ojima, it turns out, is the nephew of Hashima Koto, multi-billionaire news magnate. Word started to leak out that perhaps Ojima had been hyped to the tune of $3M bucks. "He had the movie star looks," said one journalist. "The plan was to get him a baseball background to feed his aura. No one thought he'd ever actually play ball for long."
A week later, the club’s roaming scout reported to the executive row that Ojima’s projected contact/average was probably more like a 6 than a 7, and the gap power was still probably on its way down (8 > 7).
News was generally good for the next week, and tabloid stories settled down until June when it was noted that Ojima had siphoned $1M of his bonus cash to a Swiss bank account that was cosigned by his uncle. It was noted that Ojima rarely made it to the batting cage during his allotted time, and instead was spending his time in a local community theater troop. In July the team suggested that the kid’s contact and eye were both really kind of below par—the Contact fading from 6 > 5, and his eye dropping from 5 > 4. In August, the wire carried concerns that his ability to avoid striking gout was also probably over-stated, dropping the rating from 6 > 5.
The complex season finished with news that Ojima’s power was more like a middle infielder’s (7 > 6), and the Gap (7 > 6) and Eye (4 > 3) were looking like they’d be in line with a good AA guy.
Ojima, free of the complex, was seen in Indonesian night clubs and spending what had to be another million of his bonus. He was appearing in a night club doing stand up when a visit from team officials caused the club’s scouts to rejigger the numbers and suggest that his power was more like a 5 vs. the 6 they had him at, and that his swing, that was once sweet-sweet, was now maybe not so sweet-sweet (4 > 3).
This week, per his contract, the kid made a mandatory off-season session with a coach. The report was not good: Gap 6 > 5, Avoid K 5 > 4.
All total, it adds up to a 7/9/8/6/6 looking a lot more like a 3/5/5/3/4, which might dominate in little league in a good year.
“It’s been a good run,” Ojima was reported to say. “And I’ve still got a million buckeroos to spend.”