Draft Storylines: For the Love of the Giants

» 29 October 2008 » In npb draft »

Every so often, an amateur player comes along who refuses to play for any team other than the Yomiuri Giants. This year, that guy is Honda outfielder Hisayoshi Chono. Chono has been willing to put his money where his mouth is in the past: Nippon Ham took him out of college with a mid-round pick, but he refused to sign and instead moved on to the amateur Industrial League. This time around, he’s said he’ll remain with Honda unless the Giants select him.

Chono has reportedly been on as many as 10 teams’ short list for draft candidates, but some fluxuation is starting to be reported. Nippon Ham unsurprisingly took him off their list. Yakult pulled him off their list, but then put him back on. And Hanshin is said to have narrowed down their choice for their top pick to Chono and Waseda University outfielder Keijiro Matsumoto. 

Having said all that, I don’t quite understand what the hype around this guy is. I haven’t seen him live, or even in a full game on TV, but I did find this 10 minute game footage reel of him via Draft Reports. And I’m not impressed. He is very clearly vulnerable to breaking pitches; check out the sequence at about 6:00 where Junichi Tazawa feeds him nothing but curves and sliders, resulting in a strikeout and a booted grounder. He does seem to run and throw reasonably well in the video.

Still, it seems like there’s a pretty good chance that he’ll get selected by someone with a reasonably high draft pick. It’ll remain to be seen whether it’s the Giants or someone else, and if he sticks to his guns this time.


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  1. Patrick
    Keith Law
    29/10/2008 at 4:47 pm Permalink

    That strikeout around 6:10 is on a splitter. Good one, too.

  2. Patrick
    29/10/2008 at 7:36 pm Permalink

    Sponichi reports today that he has had a change of heart and is ready to play for other teams besides Kyojin.

  3. Patrick
    29/10/2008 at 9:59 pm Permalink

    The thinking is that he (and/or his advisors) finally realized that he’s not pure 1st round material after not especially spectacular outings with Honda this year. So he has less leverage when it comes to choosing where he wants to go pro. Deanna had a fun time cheering against him when we saw the Honda-Eneos match last month.

  4. Patrick
    29/10/2008 at 10:19 pm Permalink

    Looks like Hanshin has settled on Matsumoto as their top pick, with Chono as a fallback.

    I could’ve sworn I saw a post Deanna had about booing Chono at an industrial league game, but I couldn’t find what I was looking for on her blog.

  5. Patrick
    30/10/2008 at 12:04 am Permalink

    Draft’s going on as we speak. Turns out Chono was selected by the Marines with their 2nd round pick. Wonder if he’ll sign, he did change his tune in the last minute leading up to the draft, so he should sign, but who knows.

  6. Patrick
    30/10/2008 at 12:19 am Permalink

    Yep, I’m working late tonight (very late) and following it a bit online. Hanshin got Hsiao, whom I looked at a few days ago, with their top choice.

  7. Patrick
    30/10/2008 at 12:30 am Permalink

    Yeah, Chono went to Lotte. SERVES HIM RIGHT.

    I definitely was booing Chono at an industrial league game but I think that is the game I didn’t have time to blog about, ENEOS vs. Honda. Chono was cursed the whole time I was there, it was pretty fun. Screw him.

    Today I was at Jingu for Asia vs. Toyo and get this, Ueno pitched a complete game win and Ono was his catcher. Fighters took Ono in the first round and Lotte just took Ueno in the third. I have tons of photos to post as soon as I can get them off my camera. <3!

  8. Patrick
    30/10/2008 at 12:41 am Permalink

    That’s pretty cool.

    The ironic thing is Deanna, aren’t the Marines your 2nd or 3rd favourite team? If Chono signs, you could actually find yourself cheering for him on days the Marines aren’t playing the Fighters. 🙂

  9. Patrick
    30/10/2008 at 2:53 am Permalink

    I’m about halfway done translating the draft. Will finish in a couple of hours when I can sit down somewhere with internet again.

    I put up my photos though. Oh, I love Ono already 🙂

    Yeah, it’ll be tough seeing Chono with Lotte… maybe he won’t sign. Or maybe I’ll get used to him. We’ll see. Or maybe my Lotte ni-gun boyfriend Takumi Kohbe will beat him up for having a bad attitude!