Monday, November 17, 2014

Draft Photopost (of actual draftees! ha!)

You know what?  It turns out that photo posts are a lot easier to do once you already know who's been drafted!  I went and dug around my last 3-4 years of photos to see which of this year's draft class I might have (the number keeps dwindling as I no longer live in Japan and can't go as many games, of course, but)...

Anyway, here are photos I took over the last few years of some guys that were drafted last month. I meant to get this out a lot sooner, but well, between work and other things I've been swamped as usual.

Sachiya Yamasaki, Meiji University LHP/1B (Nichidai Sanko HS), 1st Round, Orix Buffaloes

I not only expected more colleges to go after Sachiya, but I also expected the Fighters to try.  His dad Akihiro was a mostly-minor-league catcher for 11 years, mostly for the Giants, but also for the Fighters for 2 years, before retiring and becoming a minor-league coach for the Fighters for 12 years; he was infact coaching for the Fighters when Sachiya was born.  Now he's the manager of the Hyogo Blue Thunders after spending the last decade or so bouncing around as a coach for various indie league teams like the Kochi Fighting Dogs and the Kobe 9 Cruise.

(Sachiya's brother Fukuyuki, for the record, is a LHP for Sega Sammy.  They both do have names starting with 福, the kanji for luck.)

But I digress.  Sachiya not only comes from a super baseball family, but his baseball pedigree is also pretty solid, as he was a pitcher/1B at Nichidai Sanko (one year ahead of my favorite team ever, but I saw him play there too) and oddly, a pitcher/1B at Meiji University as well (Big6 career stats here; there was a point where he seriously both had enough innings and a good enough ERA to be on the Top 5 pitching list for the league but also enough ABs and AVG to end up in the Top 10 batters for the league.  Meiji was kinda just letting him and Hiromi Oka do both things; but in all honesty I still think Sachiya's a better pitcher than Oka and better batter, both for being taller, throwing the ball faster, and being left-handed. But I guess I'm pretty biased.)

A story I only heard much later is that right before he entered Sanko, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor and had a 6-hour surgery.  He apparently had a very successful recovery and despite that, entered Sanko and was a regular on their roster by the fall of his freshman year, and pitched at Koshien in the summer of 2010.  The Winter 2010 issue of 輝け甲子園の星 had an interview with him and his mom and how she took care of him all through his playing career, it was very sweet.

Anyway, whatever.  I am a pretty big fan, incase that wasn't obvious.  Even though I'm often cheering against Meiji in recent years (having become more of a Rikkio-Todai supporter in addition to my usual Hosei), most of my friends know I was a big Sanko fan and a big Sachiya fan and I did get to meet him once during his sophomore year and he was kinda very incredulous like "WTF the white girl is a Sanko fan?" but I did get a photo with him and he was pretty bemused about it.







Yasuaki Yamasaki, Asia University RHP (Teikyo HS), 1st Round Baystars

Something really funny is that despite that I have been following this guy since 2009ish, I have nearly zero photos of him whatsoever.  There is a good reason for this:

The reason I was following him in the first place is that he's from Arakawa, the part of Tokyo I taught JHS English in, and he went to the junior high school next to ours (Ogu Hachiman).  One of my students, his older brother had played baseball with Yamasaki on the Nishi-Nippori Glitees, even.  Plus, Teikyo is one of the schools I've followed for a long time thanks to Hichori Morimoto (who, much like Yamasaki, is also from Arakawa and half-Japanese, although Hichori's dad is Korean and Yamasaki's mom is Filipino).

So, summer of 2010.  I planned my schedule around Teikyo's bracket in the East Tokyo tournament.  I saw them at Edogawa on July 18th, where they beat Nichidai Tsurugaoka.  Bizarrely, Michiori Okabe pitched the first 3 innings of that game, a kid named Hagiya pitched the rest, it was called in the 8th inning on mercy rules anyway.

July 20th, Yamasaki started for Teikyo against Kokushikan, a whole bunch of scouts showed up to see him, and... he totally got pounded.  I think the eventual game score was 14-6.  It was ridiculous.

It worked out okay because instead of seeing Teikyo in the semi-finals I saw Shutoku beat Kokushikan and that was pretty awesome, but... yeah.  I never actually managed to be at a Teikyo game in person that Yamasaki was pitching at.

So then he went to Asia University, and there's two main reasons I never really saw him pitch there...

1) he didn't get a ton of time pitching when the guys in front of him were Nao Higashihama and Allen Kuri.  You may have heard of those guys.
2) Asia seriously won the Tohto League championship SEVEN SEMESTERS IN A ROW and so I actually found it pretty boring to watch them play because they were always winning.  Plus they look like a bunch of robots when they're practicing.  Like, they all stand in lines really orderly and shout and turn and all this other stuff.  It's kinda freaky.

I did go to try to see him pitch twice this year actually, and he didn't start either of the Asia games I showed up for.  Go figure.



Kohei Arihara, Waseda University RHP (Koryo HS), 1st Round, Fighters

I first saw Arihara play when he was a freshman in 2011 and he was facing off against Yusuke Nomura (Meiji University, but also Koryo HS, so people were making a big deal about it).  I still basically think he's a big ugly dude who throws a baseball pretty fast and I don't quite know why the Fighters had to go in on the sweepstakes for him but at least I have a feeling it'll work out better than Yuki Saitoh did, anyway.

  
Arihara in his 4th year.

Arihara in his sophomore year.

Kona Takahashi, Maebashi Ikuei HS RHP, 1st Round, Seibu Lions

The really stupid thing here is, I actually saw Kona Takahashi play in person at Koshien in 2013, and I'd even been sitting in the 2nd row and taking photos of the first two games of the day.

The third game of the day was Joso Gakuin vs. Maebashi Ikuei.  I was on the Joso side and they were the expected winners as they're a long-standing powerhouse school, but just like the rest of that tournament, expectations were NOT coming true, and their ace pulled a muscle and had to come out of the game in the 9th and the replacement literally had the game down to one or two more pitches and then BAM, a routine 4-3 play became a runner reaching on error, and then a double, and then Kona Takahashi, the sophomore ace pitcher for Maebashi Ikuei, slammed a TRIPLE that tied the game, and Ikuei won in the 10th inning. Talk about drama.

However, from my standpoint, some guys set up a gigantic tripod by the fence between the 2nd and 3rd games, and so my view became blocked not only by the gibbering old men who had been there the whole time but ALSO two dudes with a tripod, so I wasn't getting many good photos AND it was 97 degrees out AND all my ice was gone by the 3rd inning AND that Takahashi kid wasn't even pitching, so I gave up and moved to the shade of the upper part of the stands, which was a generally good call as I could tell I was having the start of heatstroke issues.

Of course, Takahashi came out to pitch in the 6th inning and I regret not being there to get better photos of him because he is AWESOME. Just this big tangle of arms and legs that somehow throws a baseball really fast. I left after Game 3 because I was quite sunburnt and exhausted already.

I watched the Koshien finals a few days later from my living room back in Tokyo and I was pretty happy for Maebashi Ikuei and even happier that I was sitting in a nice air-conditioned room.


Kona Takahashi pitching (photo taken from way up in the stands)


Takahashi standing on 3rd after his bases-clearing triple.

Shogo Nakamura, Waseda University IF (Tenri HS), 1st Round, Chiba Lotte Marines

This is going to sound dumb, but I've been watching Shogo Nakamura play baseball for four years and really don't know a damn thing about him.  When I still lived in Japan and could go to all the Big6 games I would at least know all the players from afar if not more personally, but I have to prioritize which teams I see and interact with, and you can't easily talk to Waseda players for the most part anyway, so I focus less on them.  Sorry.  So this is at least a photo I have of Nakamura at bat -- he was Waseda's captain this year even. His college record speaks pretty well on what a solid player he is.



Onto the next rounds.  Let's see...

Kenta Ishida, Hosei University LHP, 2nd Round, Yokohama DeNA Baystars

The funny thing about Ishida is that I actually got to know him a bit during his freshman and sophomore years.  I moved back to the US in 2011, which is when Ishida started at Hosei, but I was still going back to Japan for long periods of time and still knew a lot of the guys on the Hosei team so I was still always going to their games and hanging out with the team afterwards.

Ishida started pitching regularly in the fall of his freshman year, and even went 3-1 that semester, and one week I brought some photos and got him to sign one, and would you believe... the next week I ended up sitting next to his dad and siblings at a game (he looks like him, but I figured it out for sure when Arihara came out to pitch and his dad went batshit crazy talking about Koryo, so I'm like "aha!  You're Ishida's dad!  You know the Hiroshima baseball scene pretty well, right?" and he laughed and we got to talking, and sure enough they'd all come up to see Kenta pitch, and it was a big deal to see him face off against Arihara since they'd been rivals in HS too).  He complimented me on both my Japanese and my photos since it turns out he'd seen the photos I gave to Kenta the week before!  So the next time I ran into him I just gave him a bunch of photos since I figured he could bring them back for the family.

So the really funny thing is, the picture of me and Ishida here was actually taken by his dad.

The sad part is that I haven't talked to Ishida OR his dad in like 2 years at this point, beyond maybe just saying hello in passing.  It's mostly that I haven't been able to get to many Hosei games due to scheduling and weather recently on my trips.

Still, I am really amused that the Baystars now collected Kagami, Mikami, Mishima, and Ishida, all the Hosei aces of their respective years.






These are actually all photos from Fall 2012.  I can see Kanji Kawai in the background behind us in the shot together :)

Taiga Egoshi, Komazawa University OF, 3rd round, Hanshin Tigers

Funny thing about Egoshi is that I remember him showing up as a freshman and immediately playing as a regular at Komadai, and he's been there all along, but since I don't really know their team that well, I literally have nothing to say beyond that he's always looked like he had the build to go pro for as long as I remember.  Plus it's great that a guy named Taiga got taken by the Taigas, so to speak.









Masayoshi Fukuda, Chuo University OF, 3rd Round, Rakuten Eagles

Fukuda is a player that I feel extraordinarily sad I never got to meet. I've been watching him for years and when looking through photos I noticed I had a ton of him bowing to the field, smiling with teammates, things like that, the habits I pick up on subconsciously on players. I haven't met a ton of Tohto players in general though and just a handful from Chuo so it's not that weird, I guess.





Daiki Tanaka, Kokugakuin University LHP, 4th Round, Yomiuri Giants





Shun Ishikawa, JX-ENEOS IF, 4th Round, Chunichi Dragons

Ishikawa has a pretty interesting history. He was a slugger in high school and had scouts interested in him back then, but then he got hit by a pitch and had his wrist broken during his senior year. So he went to Meiji after deciding not to go pro. I saw him in a few of the Rookie tournaments and thought he looked pretty good but then he disappeared again due to injuries, he had a knee problem and basically during 4 years at Meiji only had 1 productive semester in league games, and had another problem his senior year. So, he didn't go pro then either but instead went to ENEOS, which is currently one of the most competitive corporate teams (they regularly beat up on professional minor-league teams and I actually think they could regularly beat some of the pro teams if they tried). And the scouts still like him, so here you are. He's from Shiga so it's even close to Nagoya, and we'll see how he does, I guess.





Takuma Katoh, Aoyama Gakuin University C, 5th Round, Chunichi Dragons



Yosuke Shimabukuro, Chuo University LHP, 5th Round, Softbank Hawks

If you don't know who Shimabukuro is, you haven't been following Japanese baseball for a while. He was the ace pitcher for Konan HS's high school team in 2009 and 2010, when they represented Okinawa in the spring and summer both years. Shimabukuro first made splashes in his first game in 2009 when he struck out 19 batters (19 batters!!!) and STILL LOST in the 10th inning on an (well, his) error because Konan couldn't score any runs. He also has a pitching motion that people were calling the "left-handed Tornado" like Hideo Nomo.

They lost again in the first game of the summer 2009 Koshien, and that was the last time Shimabukuro would lose a game at Koshien, as Konan went on to become the 6th team in history to sweep Spring and Summer Koshien in 2010, and the first Okinawa team in history to win summer Koshien, period.

Despite all of that, almost all of the core Konan team ended up going to college (much like the Nichidai Sanko team in 2011), and many graduated this year. Ganeko, Shimabukuro, and Agena were all college captains this year, and Ohshiro is likely to be next year.

Anyway, I went to see Shimabukuro both in the preseason in Spring 2011 and at his very first college game at Jingu. It was pretty crazy -- a ton of people clustered around the bullpen to watch him warm up, which I hadn't seen at a Tohto game in a very long time, and hadn't even really seen at Big 6 since Yuki Saitoh's freshman year. It was a big, big deal. Of course, he ended up going 4 2/3 innings and losing on an error by the first baseman. But still.

Later that fall I got up the nerve to talk to him after a game once the craziness about him had settled down. I asked if we could get a photo together, he said sure, we actually ended up having another player take it because I was there alone. I told him I was a huge fan of his during Koshien and hoped he'd do well in college and thought he seemed like a really nice boy.

Unfortunately, his college career was not entirely stellar, although that partially has to do with the fact that Chuo has been pretty awful lately relatively, and partially due to some elbow/shoulder pain. I watched Yohei Kagiya lose a ton of games due to the lack of run support and a ton of errors behind him as well, which is really weird because Chuo always has a few fielders/batters that are stellar and end up going pro as well. I really don't get it. Anyway, let's hope that Shimabukuro has a good pro career (except for when he plays against the Fighters). At least he shouldn't be given the Yuki Saitoh treatment, given that he wasn't hyped during college and wasn't drafted in the first round.



These two are from a preseason game at Hosei.


Shimabukuro in the bullpen before his very first game playing for Chuo.



Koki Yamashita, Kokugakuin University IF, 5th Round, Yokohama Baystars



Masataka Iryo, JX-ENEOS OF, 6th Round, Chunichi Dragons

Iryo has been playing for ENEOS for as long as I've been following them and he's been in the draft magazines for almost that long too. I don't entirely understand the story there.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Draft 2014 Liveblogging

I realize I haven't actually updated this blog in a year, but don't think I haven't been doing my normal rounds of Japanese baseball (I had my 2-week trips to Japan in April and September/October to get my fix of cheering sections and college baseball and other amateur baseball, and I did crazy things like meeting Shunsuke Watanabe in Lancaster).  I do often update Twitter when I'm doing baseball stuff although not always in English. If I have time tonight I'll put up a photo post with a few guys going into the draft, but it's unclear if I will.  I don't really have a lot of time to write anymore; working at Google for the past year has really kind of taken a lot of my brainpower.

But the draft is always important to me and I'm not about to stop this tradition (this will be my 9th year in a row translating the draft), even if I end up not being able to stay awake the entire night.

Since I'm not in Japan this year either I have absolutely no idea if I'll be able to watch the live broadcast, but I'll be watching info come across sources such as Nikkan SportsSponichiSanspo, etc.  I bought some draft magazines when I was over there (only 2 weeks ago) and should be fairly well-equipped to deal with it.

Well, aside from being annoyed if the Fighters seriously go for Arihara instead of Sachiya Yamasaki.

Moving the chart up to the front... rant and liveblog below, for those who just want to see the results. I believe I'm 100% done tracking down info now (as of 12pm on the 23rd in the US)

By the way, I do want to call out a few interesting players since they may get lost in the shuffle otherwise:
  • Yuma Mune, Orix round 2 - his father is from Ghana. They call him "The Munerin of Yokohama" apparently, though, he is supposedly very funny and has a similar play style.
  • Luciano Fernando, Eagles round 4 - his grandmother is Japanese and other than that he's from a Japanese-descended Brazilian family, came to Japan when he was 5. Played HS baseball at Kiryu Daiichi and supposedly has a crazy strong arm.
  • Takuya Kawai, Giants Ikusei #2 - actually graduated from Obirin in 2012, but stayed there coaching the college team, and decided to somehow enter the draft this year.
  • Shinnosuke Takahashi, Giants Ikusei #4 - much as another Shinnosuke entering the Giants disgusts me, this guy is kinda interesting, after high school he joined an agency that is geared towards trying to get Japanese players into the Majors or at least into American baseball clubs, so he played ball for the SUNY Herkimer Generals the last few years (page here)
  • Yusuke Tamamura, Lions #4. I still don't know what his story is. He was a superstar pitcher at Tsuruga Kehi, the Fukui Prefecture powerhouse HS team, and pages show he intended to go to Asia University, but apparently did not, as I can't find him listed in any of my college magazines. I find this more curious because it is definitely not the first case of me finding a high school star player who decided NOT to put up with the ridiculous military-like way the players train at Asia (the one before this was Kenichi Suganuma, from my favorite Sanko team -- he was at Asia for about a semester before he said "screw this" and took a semester off and enrolled at Nittaidai the next year).


Name                   Pos  HS/Univ/Company         T/B   DOB          Ht/Wt  
--------------------   ---  ---------------         ---   ----------   -------
Softbank Hawks
1 Yuki Matsumoto        P   Morioka Univ HS         R/L   04/14/1996   183/80
2 Ryoya Kurihara        C   Harue Tech HS           R/L   07/04/1996   178/73
3 Shogo Furuzawa        IF  Kyushu Kokusai Univ HS  R/R   09/05/1996   178/80
4 Shunsuke Kasaya       P   Oita Shogyo HS          L/L   03/17/1997   172/62
5 Yosuke Shimabukuro    P   Chuo Univ               L/L   10/24/1992   173/71

Yomiuri Giants
1 Kazuma Okamoto        IF  Chiben Gakuen HS        R/R   06/30/1996   183/95
2 Chiaki Tone           P   Nihon Univ              L/L   10/17/1992   175/90
3 Hayato Takagi         P   Mitsubishi Eng Nagoya   R/R   07/13/1989   178/80
4 Daiki Tanaka          P   Kokugakuin Univ         L/L   08/07/1992   182/76

I1 Shinpei Shinohara    P   Kagawa Olive Guyners    R/L   06/13/1990   186/95
I2 Takuya Kawai         IF  Oberlin Univ*           R/S   11/25/1990   174/71
I3 Takaya Tanaka        C   Yamanashi Gakuin Univ   R/L   08/27/1992   178/80
I4 Shinnosuke Takahashi P   Kisarazu Sogo HS*       R/L   07/25/1994   187/85

* Kawai graduated from Obirin/Oberlin in 2012 but stayed there as a coach for the college team.
* Takahashi had actually been playing in the US for the SUNY Herkimer Generals (player page)

Orix Buffaloes
1 Sachiya Yamasaki      P   Meiji Univ              L/L   09/09/1992   186/88
2 Yuma Mune             IF  Yokohama Hayato HS      R/L   06/07/1996   181/75
3 Kodai Sano            P   Oita HS                 R/R   09/02/1996   182/70
4 Ban Takagi            P   NTT Higashinihon        R/R   06/01/1990   181/80
5 Koki Saitoh           P   Hokusho HS              L/L   12/18/1996   180/77
6 Seiichi Sakayori      P   JR Higashinihon         L/L   04/05/1990   180/70
7 Masahiro Nishino      IF  JR Higashinihon         R/L   08/02/1990   166/66
8 Yuya Oda              OF  Nihon Seimei            R/L   11/04/1989   172/75
9 Yu Suzuki             P   Yukigaya HS             R/R   02/05/1997   180/75

Hanshin Tigers
1 Kohei Arihara
1 Yasuaki Yamasaki
1 Yuya Yokoyama         P   Shin Nittetsu Kashima   L/L   02/21/1994   182/82
2 Tsuyoshi Ishizaki     P   Shin Nittetsu Kashima   R/R   09/09/1990   182/85
3 Taiga Egoshi          OF  Komazawa Univ           R/R   03/12/1993   182/85
4 Koki Moriya           P   Honda Suzuka            R/R   11/25/1993   183/78
5 Kai Ueda              IF  Ohmi HS                 R/R   04/19/1996   175/72

Nippon Ham Fighters
1 Kohei Arihara         P   Waseda Univ             R/R   08/11/1992   187/90
2 Yushi Shimizu         C   Kyushu Kokusai Univ HS  R/R   05/22/1996   184/86
3 Daiki Asama           OF  Yokohama HS             R/L   06/21/1996   182/74
4 Naoya Ishikawa        P   Yamagata Chuo HS        R/R   07/11/1996   191/78
5 Hayao Segawa          P   Muroran Sharks          L/L   10/21/1986   177/77
6 Shota Tatsuta         P   Yamato Koryo HS         R/R   06/04/1996   181/82
7 Yuto Takahama         IF  Yokohama HS             R/R   08/08/1996   182/82
8 Kengo Ota             IF  Kawagoe Kogyo HS        R/L   01/19/1997   186/78
9 Masataka Satoh        IF  Aichi Keisei HS         R/R   04/16/1996   169/75

Hiroshima Carp
1 Kohei Arihara
1 Takayoshi Nohma       IF  Chubu Gakuin Univ       R/L   01/28/1993   180/80
2 Kazuki Yabuta         P   Asia Univ               R/R   08/07/1992   188/82
3 Atsuya Horie          P   Takamatsu Kita HS       L/L   02/21/1997   177/72
4 Koya Fujii            P   Okayama Sanyo HS        R/L   07/29/1996   181/81
5 Tatsuki Kuwahara      IF  Tokuha Kikukawa HS      R/L   07/04/1996   182/73
6 Tetsuya Iida          P   JR Higashinihon         L/L   03/28/1991   182/80
7 Daisuke Tada          C   Naruto Uzushio HS       R/R   05/25/1996   189/81

I1 Kodai Matsuura       C   MSH Medical Vocational  R/R   04/06/1993   175/75
I2 Satoshi Kimura       IF  Tokoha Tachibana HS     R/R   05/06/1996   180/75

Chiba Lotte Marines
1 Shogo Nakamura        IF  Waseda Univ             R/R   05/28/1992   180/75
2 Eisuke Tanaka         P   Kyoto Univ              R/R   04/02/1992   180/75
3 Daiki Iwashita        P   Seiryo HS               R/R   10/02/1996   181/83
4 Kandai Terashima      C   Soka Univ               R/R   10/12/1992   183/82
5 Kazuya Katsuki        IF  Osaka Toin HS           R/L   04/16/1996   176/83
6 Atsushi Miyazaki      P   Hiroshima Kokusai Univ  L/L   12/08/1992   171/72
7 Naoto Wakimoto        OF  Kendai Takasaki HS      R/L   06/10/1996   180/80

Chunichi Dragons
1 Ryosuke Nomura        P   Mitsubishi Pwr Yokohama R/R   07/09/1993   187/80 
2 Tomohiro Hamada       P   Kyushu Sangyo Univ      L/L   10/01/1992   183/75
3 Shota Tomonaga        OF  Nippon Express          R/L   04/01/1991   170/76
4 Shun Ishikawa         IF  JX-ENEOS                R/R   05/26/1990   178/81
5 Takuma Katoh          C   Aoyama Gakuin Univ      R/R   04/29/1992   174/71
6 Masataka Iryo         OF  JX-ENEOS                R/L   11/04/1989   175/86
7 Issei Endoh           IF  Tokyo Gas               R/L   03/23/1989   180/78
8 Masashi Yamamoto      P   Tokushima Indigo Socks  R/L   11/03/1994   173/78
9 Takeshi Kaneko        P   Osaka Shogyo Univ       R/R   02/25/1993   183/90

I1 Yuichi Satoh         P   Tokaidai Sagami HS      R/R   09/30/1996   192/95
I2 Kodai Ishigaki       P   Inabe Sogo HS           R/R   08/08/1996   180/76
I3 Masaru Fujiyoshi     C   Shugakukan HS           R/L   08/07/1996   180/74
I4 Hiroki Kondoh        OF  Meijo Univ              R/R   02/12/1993   179/78

Seibu Lions
1 Kona Takahashi        P   Maebashi Ikuei HS       R/R   02/03/1997   188/88
2 Yasuo Sano            P   Heisei Kokusai Univ     L/L   01/18/1993   176/78
3 Shuta Tonosaki        IF  Fuji Univ               R/R   03/14/1993   177/79
4 Yusuke Tamamura       P   Tsuruga Kehi HS*        R/R   11/04/1995   181/79     
5 Haruka Yamada         IF  Saga Kogyo HS           R/R   09/30/1996   177/73

I1 Daisuke Togawa       OF  Hokkai HS               R/L   04/29/1996   188/86

* Tamamura graduated from Tsuruga Kehi LAST year.  Supposedly he was going to attend
  Asia University, as I saw him listed there a bunch, but must have dropped out.

DeNA Baystars
1 Kohei Arihara
1 Yasuaki Yamasaki      P   Asia Univ               R/R   10/02/1992   177/84
2 Kenta Ishida          P   Hosei Univ              L/L   03/01/1993   180/83
3 Toshihiko Kuramoto    IF  Nihon Shinyaku          R/L   01/07/1991   180/82
4 Motoharu Fukuchi      P   Mitsubishi Pwr Yokohama L/L   06/21/1990   182/88
5 Koki Yamashita        IF  Kokugakuin Univ         R/L   01/31/1993   173/70
6 Hiroki Momose         IF  Matsumoto Daiichi HS    R/L   03/11/1997   176/69
7 Satoshi Iizuka        P   Nihon Bunri HS          R/L   10/11/1996   185/76

I1 Toui Kamei           C   Nissei HS               R/R   02/09/1997   180/75

Rakuten Eagles
1 Tomohiro Anraku       P   Saibi HS                R/L   11/04/1996   187/88
2 Fumiya Ono            P   Nishinihon Tankidai HS  R/R   10/23/1996   176/71
3 Masayoshi Fukuda      OF  Chuo Univ               R/R   04/17/1992   174/76
4 Luciano Fernando      OF  Hakuoh Univ             R/R   04/13/1992   175/79
5 Takahiro Irino        P   Tokushima Indigo Socks  R/L   11/26/1988   180/84
6 Masashi Katoh         P   JR Higashinihon Tohoku  R/R   09/07/1989   173/71
7 Ryota Itoh            OF  Nihon Seishi Ishinomaki L/L   07/27/1989   194/92

I1 Takumaru Yaoita      OF  Seikou Gakuin HS        R/L   01/17/1997   180/76
I2 Hiroki Osakaya       IF  Aomori Chuo Gakuin Univ R/R   11/09/1992   179/83

Yakult Swallows
1 Tomohiro Anraku
1 Shingo Takeshita      P   Yamaha                  L/L   10/20/1990   180/84
2 Ren Kazahari          P   Nodai Hokkaido Okhotsk  R/R   02/26/1993   181/82
3 Koji Yamakawa         C   Fukuoka Kodai Joto HS   R/R   11/15/1996   184/86
4 Tetsuya Terada        P   Kagawa Olive Guyners    R/R   04/02/1987   185/92
5 Yusaku Nakamoto       P   Hakuwa Victorys         L/L   12/12/1988   178/76
6 Hiroaki Dohi          P   Honda Suzuka            R/R   11/16/1990   181/85
7 Izumi Hara            OF  Daichi Kogyo Univ       R/R   07/26/1992   190/96

I1 Shogo Nakashima      P   Fukuoka Univ            R/R   06/15/1992   178/72


First round starting now!  OMG!
Swallows - Tomohiro Anraku (P, Saibi HS)
Eagles - Anraku
Baystars - Kohei Arihara (P, Waseda Univ)
Lions - Kona Takahashi (P, Maebashi Ikuei HS)
Dragons - Ryosuke Nomura  (P, Mitsubishi Power Yokohama)
Marines - Shogo Nakamura (IF, Waseda Univ)
Carp - Arihara
Fighters - Arihara
Tigers - Arihara
Buffaloes - Sachiya Yamasaki (P, Meiji Univ)
Giants - Kazuma Okamoto (IF, Chiben Wakayama HS)
Hawks - Yuki Matsumoto (P, Morioka Univ HS)

Looks like Anraku is going to the Eagles -- heh, anRAKU, RAKUten, it makes sense.
Arihara is apparently going to... the Fighters.  ARRRRGGGGHHH.  I guess I'll get used to it just like I did when they took Yuki Saitoh a few years back, and I actually believe Arihara is a better pitcher, but I'm just not a Waseda fan, you all know that.

Okay so the second "first" round BECAUSE YOU IDIOTS ALL TOOK ARIHARA:
Yakult: Shingo Takeshita (P, Yamaha)
Baystars: Yasuaki Yamasaki (P, Asia Univ)
Carp: Takayoshi Nohma (IF, Chubu Gakuin Univ)
Hanshin: Yamasaki

And Yamasaki, who lived down the street from the JHS I taught at but went to the next one over because mine had no baseball team, is going to be a Yokohama Baystar.

Hanshin will now pick... Yuya Yokoyama (P, Shin Nittetsu Sumikin Kashima), thus ending the first round.  I suppose that was less painful than some past years.

So the ACTUAL FIRST ROUND RESULTS:
Swallows - Shingo Takeshita (P, Yamaha)
Eagles - Tomohiro Anraku (P, Saibi HS)
Baystars - Yasuaki Yamasaki (P, Asia Univ)
Lions - Kona Takahashi (P, Maebashi Ikuei HS)
Dragons - Ryosuke Nomura  (P, Mitsubishi Power Yokohama)
Marines - Shogo Nakamura (IF, Waseda Univ)
Carp - Takayoshi Nohma (IF, Chubu Gakuin Univ)
Fighters - Kohei Arihara (P, Waseda Univ)
Tigers - Yuya Yokoyama (P, Shin Nittetsu Sumikin Kashima)
Buffaloes - Sachiya Yamasaki (P, Meiji Univ)
Giants - Kazuma Okamoto (IF, Chiben Gakuen HS)
Hawks - Yuki Matsumoto (P, Morioka Univ HS)

Turning off the TV and concentrating on the website updates until I fall asleep from here on in.  I'll add notes as I get excited or angry about picks (especially wondering whether some of my former favorite college guys who are now in the industrial leagues will get drafted)

So here we go into round 2, and I'm reminiscing about how annoyed I was at Yasuaki Yamasaki in the 2010 East Tokyo HS tourney because I planned my schedule to see Teikyo HS at Jingu and then he choked in front of scouts, they lost, instead I got to see Shutoku and Taiki Mitsumata so I guess it all worked out okay, but anyway,

THE BAYSTARS JUST TOOK KENTA ISHIDA WITH THEIR 2ND ROUND PICK BECAUSE THEY ALWAYS TAKE A HOSEI PITCHER WITH THE 2ND ROUND PICK AND OMG THAT'S NUTS because now they have Kagami, Mishima, Mikami, and Ishida.  I guess Mikami technically came out of ENEOS and was a 4th rounder but the other three were all 2nd round out of Hosei to Baystars and wow.

And hey, Eisuke Tanaka got picked by Lotte in the 2nd round too!  That's great!  He will be the first pro player ever out of Kyoto University -- there was a super interesting article about him in the draft magazine including the details of his engineering thesis and how he went to a high school that "only practiced baseball for 90 minutes a day, thus meaning they would never go to Koshien" and so on, and how he came to Kyoto Univ and stopped their 60-game losing streak (we could use someone like that at Todai dammit) and so on.  Yay!

Something that only comes up when you are entering data: Rakuten draft pick #2, Fumiya Ono, his birthday is today (Oct 23).

Hmm, so some notes, I'm glad to see the non-Japanese guys like Luciano Fernando (Brazilian) and Yuma Mune (half-Ghana) getting drafted, that's a step in the right direction.

Also okay so Shimabukuro DID get drafted. I was worried because he had a pretty crap year and Chuo has kinda sucked lately.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Draft 2013 Liveblogging!

Alright, just setting up this post so I have it ready to go when things start in 4 hours (at 1am Pacific time.  Whee.  Yes, I'll be here all night!)

Since I'm not in Japan this year either I'll be hoping to catch a justin.tv broadcast of the TV part, and I'll just be watching the picks come in on various news sources such as Nikkan Sports, Sponichi, Sanspo, etc.

Fortunately this year is not quite as emotionally draining for me as some past years have been, at least.

Name                   Pos  HS/Univ/Company         T/B   DOB          Ht/Wt  
--------------------   ---  ---------------         ---   ----------   -------
Fighters
1 Yuki Matsui
1 Yuta Kakita
1 Yuta Iwasada
1 Ryo Watanabe          IF  Tokaidai Kofu HS        R/R   04/30/1995   178/80
2 Hiroshi Urano         P   Sega Sammy              R/R   07/22/1989   178/70
3 Hiromi Oka            IF  Meiji University        R/R   07/15/1991   185/83
4 Hirotoshi Takanashi   P   Yamanashi Gakuin Univ   R/R   06/05/1991   187/82
5 Masashi Kanehira      P   Tokai Rika              L/L   03/24/1991   180/80
6 Akihiro Hakumura      P   Keio Univ               R/L   12/11/1991   187/84
7 Ryosuke Kishisato     P   Hanamaki Higashi        R/L   04/03/1995   181/75
8 Ryo Ishikawa          C   Teikyo HS               R/R   04/20/1995   180/85

Swallows
1 Daichi Osera
1 Toshihiro Sugiura     P   Kokugakuin Univ         R/R   02/25/1992   188/82
2 Naomichi Nishiura     IF  Hosei Univ              R/R   04/11/1991   178/75
3 Ryo Akiyoshi          P   Panasonic               R/R   03/21/1989   182/76
4 Keiji Iwahashi        P   Kyoto Sangyo Univ       L/L   04/23/1991   185/75
5 Yuto Koyama           P   Kanzei HS               L/L   09/01/1995   183/78
6 Ryota Fujii           C   City Light Okayama      R/L   09/30/1988   177/70

Orix
1 Kazumasa Yoshida      P   JR Higashinihon         R/L   09/24/1989   191/90  
2 Daiki Tomei           P   Fuji Juko               R/R   06/15/1989   178/78
3 Kenya Wakatsuki       C   Hanasaki Tokuharu HS    R/R   10/04/1995   178/80
4 Satoshi Sonobe        IF  Seiko Gakuin HS         R/R   11/30/1995   184/87
5 Yuto Yoshida          OF  Hokusho HS              R/L   04/21/1995   178/73
6 Kyo Okunami           IF  Soshi Gakuen HS         R/R   08/29/1995   176/95
7 Kento Shibata         P   Shinano Grandserows     R/R   02/08/1989   175/83
8 Satoshi Ohyama        P   Sega Sammy              L/L   10/06/1988   168/69

I1. Hiroaki Azuma       IF  Tokushima Indigo Socks  R/R   02/20/1992   180/74

Baystars
1 Yuki Matsui
1 Yuta Kakita           P   Nihon Seimei            R/R   08/27/1992   182/85
2 Shingo Hirata         P   Honda Kumamoto          R/R   08/29/1989   181/72
3 Hiroki Minei          C   Asia University         R/R   06/04/1991   175/75
4 Tomoya Mikami         P   JX-ENEOS                R/R   04/10/1989   190/90
5 Taiki Sekine          OF  Toho HS                 L/L   06/28/1995   174/76
6 Shun Yamashita        P   Matsumoto Univ          L/L   08/19/1991   182/73

I1. Yoshiki Sunada      P   Meioh HS                L/L   07/20/1995   179/78
I2. Kohei Mantani       P   Miki House              R/L   08/28/1987   185/78

Softbank
1 Yuki Matsui
1 Toshihiro Sugiura
1 Ren Kajiya            P   JR Kyushu               R/R   11/25/1991    184/82
2 Yuito Mori            P   MB Kurashiki Oceans     R/R   01/08/1992    173/72
3 Ken Okamoto           P   Kazusa Magic            R/R   10/29/1992    177/80
4 Seiji Uebayashi       OF  Sendai Ikuei HS         R/L   08/01/1995    184/77

I1. Shuta Ishikawa      P   Soka Univ               R/R   12/27/1991    
I2. Shinsuke Toho       P   Hamada Shogyo HS        R/R   09/17/1995
I3. Kaisei Sone         IF  Kyoto Kokusai HS        R/L   04/24/1995
I4. Masahiro Harimoto   C   Bukkyo Univ             R/R   10/13/1990

Dragons
1 Yuki Matsui
1 Shota Suzuki          P   Seirei Christopher HS   R/R   06/16/1995    183/74
2 Katsuki Matayoshi     P   Kagawa Olive Guyners    R/R   11/04/1990    180/74
3 Iori Katsuya          C   Osaka Shodai            R/R   07/09/1991    185/80
4 Takuma Achira         P   JR Higashinihon         R/R   11/20/1992    189/88
5 Daisuke Sobue         P   Toyota                  R/L   08/11/1987    174/71
6 Takuto Fujisawa       IF  Seino Tsuun             R/L   05/27/1990    174/80

I1. Junki Kishimoto     P   Tsuruga Kehi HS         R/R   02/19/1996    181/79
I2. Daisuke Hashizume   IF  Osaka Sangyo Univ       R/S   03/30/1992    174/73

Marines
1 Ayumu Ishikawa        P   Tokyo Gas               R/R   04/11/1988    186/75
2 Yuta Yoshida          C   Rissho Univ             R/R   07/21/1991    182/94
3 Ryo Miki              IF  Jobu Univ               R/R   10/25/1991    174/76
4 Shohei Yoshihara      P   Nihon Seimei            R/R   09/14/1989    173/75
5 Seiya Inoue           IF  Nihon Seimei            R/R   07/03/1989    180/105
6 Kota Futaki           P   Kagoshima Jouhou HS     R/R   08/01/1995    187/73

I1. Ryuzo Hijii         C   Hyogo Hojo HS           R/L   11/13/1995    182/84

Carp
1 Daichi Osera          P   Kyushu Kyoritsu Univ    R/R   06/17/1991    187/82
2 Allen Kuri            P   Asia University         R/R   09/01/1991    186/82
3 Kosuke Tanaka         IF  JR Higashinihon         R/L   07/03/1989    170/80
4 Kenta Nishihara       P   Nichidai                R/R   09/29/1988    178/76
5 Yuta Nakamura         P   Kanto Daiichi HS        R/R   08/31/1995    181/75

Seibu
1 Tomoya Mori           C   Osaka Toin HS           R/L   08/08/1995    170/80
2 Hodaka Yamakawa       IF  Fuji University         R/R   11/23/1991    175/98
3 Takuya Toyoda         P   TDK                     R/R   03/28/1987    176/88
4 Kazuki Kaneko         IF  Nichidai Fujisawa HS    R/R   05/29/1995    182/73
5 Takayuki Yamaguchi    P   Toyota Higashinihon     R/R   07/29/1989    184/83
6 Masatoshi Okada       C   Osaka Gas               R/R   06/30/1989    172/78
7 Kentaro Fukukura      P   Daiichi Tech Univ       R/R   08/03/1991    177/75

Hanshin
1 Daichi Osera
1 Yuta Kakita
1 Yuta Iwasada          P   Yokohama Shokodai       L/L   09/05/1991    182/78
2 Shintaro Yokota       OF  Kagoshima Jitsugyo HS   L/L   06/09/1995    186/85
3 Naomasa Yohkawa       IF  Tokyo Agriculture Univ  R/R   07/17/1991    178/79
4 Ryutaro Umeno         C   Fukuoka Univ            R/R   06/17/1991    173/72
5 Shoya Yamamoto        P   Oji                     L/L   10/12/1988    181/80
6 Suguru Iwazaki        P   Kokushikan Univ         L/L   06/19/1991    184/78

Eagles
1 Yuki Matsui           P   Toko Gakuen HS          L/L   10/30/1995    174/74
2 Yasuhito Uchida       C   Joso Gakuin HS          R/R   05/30/1995    185/87
3 Kodai Hamaya          P   Honda Suzuka            L/L   02/27/1993    185/80
4 Yuri Furukawa         P   Ariga Kogyo HS          R/R   09/08/1995    178/77
5 Yusuke Miyanishi      P   Yokohama Shokadai       L/L   05/01/1991    180/80
6 Takaaki Yokoyama      P   Waseda Univ             R/R   04/10/1991    180/83
7 Kazutomo Aihara       P   77 Bank                 L/L   10/27/1989    186/73
8 Susumu Aizawa         P   Nihon Seimei Ishinomaki R/L   06/03/1987    172/70
9 Ryuta Konno           P   Iwadeyama HS            R/R   05/11/1995    177/70

Giants
1 Ayumu Ishikawa
1 Seiji Kobayashi       C   Nihon Seimei            R/R   06/07/1989    178/73
2 Ren Wada              IF  Kochi HS                R/R   09/26/1995    180/80
3 Kazuto Taguchi        P   Shinjo HS               L/L   09/14/1995    170/75
4 Nobuyuki Okumura      IF  Nichidai Yamagata       R/L   05/26/1995    177/72
5 Kentaro Taira         P   Kitayama                R/R   07/12/1995    180/70

I1. Makoto Aoyama       OF  Nihon Univ              R/R   11/01/1991    185/81
I2. Shota Nagae         P   Osaka Keizai Univ       R/L   10/08/1991    190/88
I3. Ryusei Kitanosono   IF  Shugakukan HS           R/L   04/12/1995    180/80

It's 1am and it's time to party!  I've got the justin.tv feed up and ready to follow the craziness.  Not much to say except it's super-weird to see Tanishige and Ochiai there together like that!  (Tanishige definitely has a little bit of a "WTF" look on his face).  Hoshino sure looks happy.  Can we get on with the parade and start with the drafting?  :)

Hey, it's Katoh-not-commissioner-anymore!

1:12am Finally round one is starting!  "unmei no shunkan" or moment of fate, heh. Let's see who everyone names for real!

Fighters: Matsui Yuki (Toko Gakuen, P)
Swallows: Osera Daichi (Kyushu Kyoritsu, P)
Orix: Yoshida Kazumasa (JR East, P)
Baystars: Matsui Yuki
Softbank: Matsui Yuki
Dragons: Matsui Yuki
Marines: Ishikawa Ayumu (Tokyo Gas, P)
Carp: Osera Daichi
Seibu: Mori Tomoya (Osaka Toin, C)
Hanshin: Osera Daichi
Eagles: Matsui Yuki
Giants: Ishikawa Ayumu

So that's 5 votes for Matsui, 3 for Osera, 2 for Ishikawa, and Mori is going to Seibu uncontested and Yoshida to Orix uncontested.  That was unexpected!!

1:21 and Matsui goes to RAKUTEN

1:24 and Osera goes to HIROSHIMA!  wow!

And Ishikawa goes to the Marines but I honestly didn't care :)

1:34 Okay so now for the second round of the first round

Fighters: Yuta Kakita (Nihon Seimei, P)
Swallows: Toshihiro Sugiura (Kokugakuin P)
Yokohama: Yuta Kakita
Hawks: Toshihiro Sugiura
Dragons: Shota Suzuki (Seirei Christopher HS, P)
Hanshin: Yuta Kakita
Yomiuri: Seiji Kobayashi (Nihon Seimei, C)

Not too surprising that there's a fight for Kakita too, really.

Kakita to Baystars.  Huh.
Sugiura to Swallows -- that's kinda cool!  I look forward to seeing him again at Jingu!  Plus he's the pride of Obihiro Ohtani :)

1:42 THIRD round of the first round:
Fighters and Hanshin both go for Yokohama Shokodai lefty Yuta Iwasada!
Hawks take Ren Kajiya.

I cannot believe this is going on further but there you have it.  It appears that Iwasada is going to Hanshin because the Fighters opened their ballot faster.  Holy crap!

Well, at least whoever the Fighters take now will be uncontested...

...and it's Ryo Watanabe, IF, Tokaidai Kofu HS.  Huh!  That was not a name I expected to come up in the first round, but there you go!
Time to start filling in the grid...

Okay, so there you have the ACTUAL first round finished:
Fighters: Ryo Watanabe (Tokaidai Kofu, IF)
Swallows: Toshihiro Sugiura (Kokugakuin Univ, P)
Orix: Yoshida Kazumasa (JR East, P)
Baystars: Yuta Kakita (Nihon Seimei, P)
Softbank: Ren Kajiya (JR Kyushu, P)
Dragons: Shota Suzuki (Seirei Christopher HS, P)
Marines: Ayumu Ishikawa (Tokyo Gas, P)
Carp: Daichi Osera (Kyushu Kyoritsu, P)
Seibu: Tomoya Mori (Osaka Toin, C)
Hanshin: Yuta Iwasada (Yokohama Shokadai, P)
Eagles: Yuki Matsui (Toko Gakuin HS, P)
Giants: Seiji Kobayashi (Nihon Seimei, C)

Wow, that was a mouthful.

Honestly this was not terrible as far as I'm concerned.  Also as expected, I don't feel much of any sort of emotion at the outcome this time.  Kinda glad Sugiura went to Yakult, kinda wondering more about this Watanabe kid, kinda amused Mori will be on Seibu, and kinda like OMG CARP because they are really stacking their pitching rotation with these guys aren't they!

Now for the parts of the draft I really care about like OMG THE FIGHTERS TOOK HIROSHI URANO IN THE SECOND ROUND!  I love Urano, I've been a huge fan since he was at Aichi Gakuin and it is SO embarrassing that I don't have many good photos of him.

And the SWALLOWS TOOK NISHIURA FROM HOSEI!  YEAH!

Tomei to Orix!  Oh, this second round is the awesome round, screw the first round :)

Good thing I have my copy of Grand Slam out because I'm beating some of the newspapers to the vitals on these guys, seriously :)

YUTA YOSHIDA TO LOTTE!  OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG!  I'm so happy he got drafted and by a team I actually can go cheer for him at!

...I got buried in looking these guys up but MIKAMI TO BAYSTARS HE'LL BE ON THE SAME TEAM AS KAGAMI AND MISHIMA OH MY GOD MY HOSEI FANGIRL BRAIN MAY EXPLODE.

btw it's 2:50am.  I have had to dig for a bunch of details on a bunch of these guys so...

Oh yeah, Hiromi Oka to the Fighters?  Weeeeeeeeird.  I wonder if he'll remember me if I stalk him at Kamagaya or not.

still translating like a storm.  In the middle of the 5th round now at 3:37am despite that the actual draft is well into the 6th.  The Fighters took freaking Hakumura in the 6th and I do NOT know how to feel about that.  But Rakuten took Yokoyama and I'm happier about that one.

Also was glad to see my 2nd-favorite Tohto Big Boy go to Seibu in the 5th round, that is, Chuo now Nihon Seimei's Seiya Inoue.  So there are still some exciting moments but it is getting harder and harder to find some of these guys, to be sure.  Good thing I've got Grand Slam, some Shubes, and a college baseball magazine sitting here.  (I didn't get an actual draft mag this year)

hey look at that we took Ishikawa in the 8th round -- Fighters sure do like Teikyo boys, can I request they take Michiori Okabe next year now, please? :)

OMG how did I not notice Hanshin taking Shoya Yamamoto in the 5th round?!?!?  he was one of my favorite lefties at Hosei too!  wow!

Alright so it's 4:40am here now and I just finished translating the basic draft.  I think I might hold off on ikusei until the morning -- not sure -- going to have a snack first and then reevaluate.

One thing that I really really wonder is, how do all of these other little dudes get taken and not Ohshiro?  He's so awesome, it can't just be the height.

Note at 5:30am as I scour team sites for ikusei info: am I allowed to be... amused? that the "managing scout" for almost every Marines signing is either Kenji Morozumi or Yuta Shimoshikiryo?  Who are both former Hosei grads that played for the Marines that I liked?

next morning as I am checking and entering: I like that the Fighters site says for Oka: "圧倒的な身体能力を持つ大型選手。リーチを生かした打撃は飛距離十分。長打力に加えて50メートル5秒台の俊足と旺盛な闘争心も魅力。東京六大学リーグ戦では、「4番ピッチャー」を経験した二刀流選手だが、プロでは野手として勝負する。磨けばまだまだ光るダイヤの原石。" which is, roughly, "yeah he was a yon-ban pitcher/batter before but as a pro he's going to focus on being a fielder".  Yay.

2013 Draft Photopost!

Hi everyone. It's about 16 hours to the draft as I write this, having spent last night searching through photos for it. Yeah, I went dark all summer, but for those who know me on other outlets like Twitter and Facebook and Google+, you know that I was doing plenty of Japanese-baseball-related things all year, including some crazy trips like going to the east coast to see Darvish against Kuroda at Yankee Stadium (which, btw, I am completely never ever ever again allowed to diss the Yankees since they let me sit in Legends seats for that game and see the new stadium from an amazing perspective), seeing Uehara close a game at Fenway in my first game there, and trips to Sacramento to try to find Hiroyuki Nakajima (sitting in the dugout and not playing) and Fresno to find Kensuke Tanaka (who I got to meet, which was awesome!)

I then spent all of August and September in Japan, and while I had a vague focus on train-related things (I went all the way from Wakkanai to Makurazaki, if you know what that means) I also went to around 60 games, including a day at Koshien where I saw the Best 8 play (and sadly got myself out of the sun right before Kona Takahashi came into the game) and some awesome rural baseball adventures, a Big6 All-Star game at Kusanagi Stadium putting me up to 5 stadiums I've seen games at that Babe Ruth played at, a few WOMEN'S baseball games (including getting to meet Shingo Kawabata's sister Yuki AND also meeting the entire Kawabata family randomly), and of course re-connecting with some of my old college ballplayer buddies who are now in the pros or industrial league, and making some new college ballplayer buddies as well.

As usual, I'd love to sanitize and put some of the stories up here, but who knows if I'll have time -- I also started a new job right when I came back, at a very large search company that is taking up a LOT of my brain right now. I already warned them that I'll be staying up all night for the Japanese baseball draft tonight and will be in late tomorrow.

So, now that you've gotten a 2-paragraph summary of my year, why don't I go on to do a BIG WHOPPING PRE-DRAFT PHOTO POST! I didn't do one last year and I am a little bit sad about that. I also may not actually finish writing in descriptions for everyone before the draft starts (I'm going to just fill it in between stuff at work today). Apologies in advance.


Tokyo Big 6



Hosei University, Takuya Kinoshita, C

Kinoshita's a really great catcher (a lot of the pitchers at Hosei have said that) but he's not a really great batter.  I don't expect him to get drafted, but you never know.


He's built like a catcher, though, which is why the scouts have liked him for a while.


Throw to 2B


I don't know what was up with this exactly but I took a photo anyway :)

Hosei University, Naomichi Nishiura, SS

My only regret about Nishiura is that I didn't get to know him at all during his college career and is making me realize I need to be better about that.  He's a pretty solid shortstop and came from Tenri HS, where he played at Koshien in his 3rd year. I think he's been scouted since HS and even if he may not be a top-level prospect or super hotshot type, he's a fairly solid ballplayer, and I think he partially decided to file because he had a pretty great spring semester and hoped to repeat it in the fall. (Hosei's really had bad luck with hitters the last few years, it's really been all about the pitchers, and Funamoto decided to go to ENEOS next year instead of entering the draft.)





Meiji University, Hiromi Oka, RHP/1B/OF

Oh man, where to start with Oka. I remember him showing up as this big freshman kid at the Rookie Tournament who could throw like 150 km/h, and he went on to pitch for a few semesters before it became pretty clear he was a guy who was all speed and no control. However, he could HIT. I mean, really hit. He's had a .330 BA in his college career with power and has been a regular batter for most of that (I joked for a while that Meiji was lucky to not only have two of the best pitchers in the league in Oka and Yamasaki but to also have two of the best HITTERS in the league in Oka and Yamasaki). I would really expect some team to take him just because he's a big guy with a hell of an arm and he's got a lot of raw power that could be turned into something, if nothing else, sort of like Takumi Kohbe was a project for the Marines.


I swear I have better photos of him pitching but this was the best I could find.



Waseda University, Takaaki Yokoyama, RHP

I actually have no idea where Yokoyama-kun fits into the grand scheme of things. I really liked him when he was in high school (he was actually considered a decent prospect for the 2009 draft out of Seiko Gakuin up in Fukushima and I remember seeing him interviewed on TV during some Koshien) and then he went to Waseda, so I stopped liking him as much.  He's been injured a bunch, but when he's been healthy he's been a pretty good pitcher. I've heard rumors that Rakuten plans to take him for the local boy factor, but who knows.



Keio University, Akihiro Hakumura, RHP
Hakumura was kind of a big deal coming out of high school because he could throw 148 km/h even back then.  He went on to Keio University where he started out fairly strong, but then kind of ran into a roadblock halfway and went on to be somewhat mediocre (IMO, at least compared to what people were expecting of him).  His control actually seemed to get worse through his college career.  I think some teams see him as a tall dude who can throw really fast and may draft him anyway, hoping a good pitching coach can work out his problems.

I have a few friends who were classmates of his at Keio in both HS and university and they uniformly have said he's a jerk, but I've never met him so I don't really know.  (The fact that I never met him despite knowing a lot of his teammates may say something in itself.)





Tohto League



Asia University, Allen Kuri, RHP

Probably one of the more interesting people in this draft as far as I'm concerned. He's half-Japanese, his father was a minor-league shortstop in the US, and he actually started playing baseball with a Tampa Bay Rays little league when he was in 3rd grade. It sounds like he came back to Japan in 6th grade and was in Tottori, so some places report his hometown as Tottori and some report it as Florida. He is extremely lucky to look mostly Japanese -- I've seen him pitch for several years and never actually realized he was half until I saw his first name (亜蓮, which is "aren", but it's weird enough that I investigated to see for sure if it was kanji for the English name) It honestly shouldn't surprise me given how many other talented half-Japanese guys have come out of Asia University in recent years -- Robert Boothe, Krissada Shirakura, Bruno Hirata, etc.

Anyway, Asia University has won the Tohto League for 5 consecutive semesters, and Kuri has been in the rotation and has a W-L record of 18-4 in those semesters. It's possible he's getting helped by being surrounded by a decent team and all, but he's also got an ERA of like 1.60 in that time, so... yeah. I wonder if he'll be courted by an MLB team (like Boothe was by the Dodgers) if he doesn't get drafted? He's a pretty big kid at 6'3" 200ish and can throw 90mph.





Asia University, Hiroki Minei, C

I would be really surprised if Minei doesn't get drafted. Not only was he a regular catcher at Asia pretty much from his freshman year, but he's also from Okinawa Shogaku (Koshien stronghouse and highschool of current pro players Ishimine, Hiyane, and Higashihama). He caught Higashihama when they went to Koshien and then again in college, and then Minei became team captain this year, and just like some other guys who suddenly get it into their head that being captain means being a superstar, he exploded into batting .361/.439/.528 this spring and is currently at a .357/.437/.571 clip for the fall.




Toyo University, Takaaki Nohma, LHP

I dunno what to say about Nohma. He's kinda like Fujioka or Inui but not as good. On the other hand he came from a legendary Toin Gakuen high school team -- legendary in that almost everyone on their team went on to have fantastic college careers and SEVERAL became team captains at their respective schools, including Nohma. He's kind of Toyo's post-Fujioka lefty ace -- when he isn't being injured, anyway.




Rissho University, Yuta Yoshida, C

I've been a Yoshida fan for a really really long time even if I haven't been all that vocal about it. He was Nichidai Sanko captain back in 2009 when I first saw them at Koshien, and then he went to Rissho, where he pretty much became the team's regular catcher from his freshman year on. He came to the US as a sophomore for the US-Japan tourney, which is where I met him as the bullpen catcher and fangirled on him about Sanko. I caught up with him a semester or two later and gave him some photos from the US tourney and had him sign one, and he already looked kind of different -- like I asked a teammate where he was, and the guy basically said "oh, Yoshida's over there", I went to talk to him, and momentarily honestly wasn't sure it was the right guy because he was... bigger. He was listed as 182/84 in the summer of 2011 and as 182/94 by the fall of 2012. 10kg or 22 pounds really does make a big difference in a guy's physique.


In July 2011.

In September 2013.




Other College (US-Japan)



I'm trying to mostly put up photos that I didn't put up in 2011 when I photoposted the US-Japan games.

Kyushu Kyoritsu University, Daichi Ohsera, RHP

It was incredibly embarrassing remembering seeing Ohsera at the US-Japan game and realizing I'd not posted any photos of him -- because he didn't appear in any of the games I saw! But I did have a few of him, since he's a really tall guy and I did watch him throw in the bullpen a little so I did notice him. Alas, I've not seen him pitch for real pretty much since Koshien 2009, but he's a top top top top top pick in this year's draft, so it's only a matter of who wins the lottery, not whether he gets drafted.





Fukuoka Universty, Ryutaro Umeno, C

I really liked Umeno and even as a sophomore he was the starting catcher for the national team in 2011. Seems he has also only gotten better since then.



With Takahiro Fujioka. I'd love to see this battery together again someday :)

Fuji University, Hodaka Yamakawa, 3B

One of my friends who is a scout was at the 2011 US-Japan games and we saw Yamakawa hit a grand slam home run straight out of Durham Park. That was impressive. Yamakawa also turned out to be a really goofy kid when I talked to him. I'd really hoped to see him again sometime in Japan, but it just was never convenient since he doesn't play in Tokyo and I'm not around for the summer tourneys. He has been SOLID in college though, with a .304/.431/.460 line, 9 homers, in 9 semesters as he's been a regular pretty much since his first semester. My friend every now and then has asked me where Yamakawa is in the pros now -- not sure he realized that he was only a sophomore that year! I guess we'll see what happens today.




Yokohama Shokadai, Yuta Iwasada, LHP





Industrial League



JR Higashinihon, Kazumasa Yoshida, RHP

Yoshida is expected to be a super-high pick in this year's draft too. I only saw him play a little bit at the Industrial-Big6 tourney in April and not very much at that, unfortunately.




JX-ENEOS, Motoshi Ohshiro, LHP

I'd seen Ohshiro pitch a whole bunch of times for ENEOS over the last few years, and he's been on the cover of a whole bunch of Grand Slam magazines and whatnot. My best guess on why he hasn't been drafted is because he's seriously barely taller than I am, because he's GOOD. I don't think I've ever seen him have a bad outing. Anyway, this fall at Kamagaya I went to see the ENEOS team play the Fighters ni-gun, and of course I went to say hi to all the old Big 6 guys like Mikami, Yamasaki, etc, and then I also approached Ohshima to see if he'd sign one of the photos I'd printed out, and not only did he compliment my photography but he even perfectly remembered the game I'd taken it from and was super-sweet and funny! We got a photo together and sure enough, we're about the same height. I don't really expect him to get drafted this time around either, but I'd be overjoyed if he did.





JX-ENEOS, Tomoya Mikami, RHP

I've known Mikami far too long to be objective about him, I think I first met him in the fall of 2009 when he was a sophomore at Hosei and had been converted from an infielder into a pitcher, to take advantage of his arm and his huge height (190cm, he even towers over me). He didn't enter the draft when he graduated in 2011 because he wanted to "explore his options" a bit more, but when I saw him at the same Kamagaya game I asked him what he was up to now and whether he wanted to be drafted and his reply was something to the effect of "Yeah, I wouldn't mind getting drafted this year." So I hope he does :)