The Next Tazawa?

» 23 February 2009 » In npb draft »

It may be a little early to start this kind of talk, but here’s a new story to watch: Hosei University pitchers Kazuhito Futagami and Hisashi Takeuchi are attracting attention from MLB scouts, fueling speculation that this could turn into another MLB/NPB arms race. Futagami and Takeuchi are candidates to go in the first round of this year’s NPB draft.

Nikkan Sports reports that Rangers Pacific Rim scout Jim Colborn is planning on taking in a Hosei exhibition game, and SF Giants scout John Cox is planning a visit in March.The Dodgers and Mariners have already seen the pair. On the NPB side, Hiroshima, Orix, Lotte, and Rakuten are reportedly interested.

According to the wonderful Draft Report site, Takeuchi and Futagami both have power arsenals with fastballs that top out at about 150 kmph (93mph). Takeuchi can reach 153 kmph (95mph) and also has a slider and forkball. Futagami maxes out at about 150 kmph, and sits in the mid-140’s (90-ish) as a starter, but dials it up in relief. His featured breaking pitch is his slider. Here is some very low-quality video of Futagami and Takeuchi.

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  1. Patrick
    23/02/2009 at 4:42 am Permalink

    Oh man. As seems to be usual in these cases, I saw Futagami pitch last year too when I was at a random Hosei game… except I was cheering for Todai to win that day, heh. I have a ton of photos of him because he was warming up right in front of me and kept looking over with a “why is there a white girl sitting in the front row watching me?” sort of look.

    Thing is, I saw Futagami rack up something like 9 strikeouts… but it was against Tokyo so it doesn’t count, they’ll swing at anything. He actually had a really rough fall season — sophomore Kisho Kagami was the real ace of the Hosei staff… he was having a monster season last fall, with a couple games racking up like 14, 15, 16 strikeouts.

    However, does this really count as being “the next Tazawa”? These guys are college guys, not industrial league. I realize it’s about “possible first-rounder amateurs”, though I feel like the circumstances are a little different. Plus, well, the competitive level of the Tokyo Big 6 League is often called into question, at least when compared to like, the Tohto League or the Kansai Big 6.

    I really ought to start writing down more pitch speeds on my scorecards. Sigh. I’m just not a scout, I’m a photographer and cheer nerd. I got a CD a week or two ago of the Tokyo Big 6 League marching bands when scouring a used CD store. It’s awesome.

  2. Patrick
    23/02/2009 at 4:51 am Permalink

    Oh, and heh, I wonder if it’s these exhibition games. Hosei’s going to play against Saginomiya, but… dude! Keio’s gonna play ENEOS. That should be fun.

  3. Patrick
    23/02/2009 at 6:53 am Permalink

    However, does this really count as being “the next Tazawa”? These guys are college guys, not industrial league. I realize it’s about “possible first-rounder amateurs”, though I feel like the circumstances are a little different.

    I don’t know if this is the next Tazawa or the next Robert Boothe (hence the ? in the title). I don’t have a good bead on this year’s draft yet. But still, these guys are drawing interest from multiple MLB and NPB teams. They’re on my watch list now.

    On a different tangent, used cd/record shopping in Japan is awesome. I had 6-7 places I used to go to in Osaka — one place with everything on vinyl, and they had about 8 high quality turntables set up with headphones and they’d let you listen to whatever you wanted. Another vinyl place where they had a huge collection of stuff from South America and Europe, all in perfect condition. Everything cost 5000-30,000yen there. There was yet another place in Kyoto where they had this huge selection of punk cds. I found used cd in there once from a band that I thought never made it out of Chicago.

  4. Patrick
    23/02/2009 at 1:08 pm Permalink

    The throwing mechanics Takeuchi uses looks like it may be a balk in MLB. The way he lifts his foot right before the delivery is strange.

  5. Patrick
    23/02/2009 at 4:51 pm Permalink

    Can anybody get stats on these two guys?


  6. Patrick
    23/02/2009 at 5:35 pm Permalink

    Big 6 stats aren’t that reliable anyways since there’s such discrepancies between the teams’ strengths. Boothe didn’t pitch well in college, so he wasn’t a real NPB draft candidate was he?

  7. Patrick
    23/02/2009 at 5:46 pm Permalink

    I read that five teams were interested in drafting Boothe. He might have been late round/ikusei type draftee. Rafael Fernandez had pretty bad numbers in college but the Swallows took him with their first ikusei round pick. These two guys from Hosei are getting evaluated more favorably though.

  8. Patrick
    24/02/2009 at 1:25 am Permalink

    All of the Hosei pitching stats for those guys is available off the Tokyo Big 6 league site.

    But I think it’s more relevant to see what they did against specific universities. The fact that Todai was able to knock up Futagami is really big.

    Boothe pitched for Asia-dai, didn’t he? Tohto league is MUCH stronger — Asia and Toyo have been the strongest two teams in that league for a year or two as well, I think.

  9. Patrick
    24/02/2009 at 8:18 am Permalink

    Mei Scout has reports on Takeuchi and Futagami. Both have stats in Japanese towards the middle of the page, which I don’t have time to translate now.