NPB Draft Notes

» 30 October 2009 » In npb draft »

Here are some unorganized, rapid-fire notes about yesterday’s draft. Some of these are my own observations, others are from the media.

  • In the end, ‘only’ six teams went after Yusei Kikuchi in the first round. Still impressive, but not exactly an unprecedented number. It seemed that the other teams used the distraction of Kikuchi to nab the guy they wanted.
  • Despite this being considered a thin draft, the only player that was selected by more than one team in the first round was Kikuchi.
  • Kikuchi’s parents are happy with the outcome of the draft.
  • The one team that should have been in on Kikuchi, but wasn’t, was Yokohama, who took slugger Yoshitomo Tsutsugo with their first pick. This looks like a case where the team allowed the appeal of taking the local kid outweigh the choice that really best fit their needs (pitching).
  • I think Hiroshima made a great first round pick in Takeru Imamura, and then followed it up with strong picks with Shota Dobayashi, Hisashi Takeuchi, and Hayato Shoji. I could just be biased towards fame though; Takeuchi is a well-known college pitchers and the other guys were noted Koshien performers. Shoji put a lot of mileage on his arm at this year’s Koshien.
  • Hisayoshi Chono finally wound up with the Giants.
  • Fat, short first baseman Ryoji Nakata got taken in the third round by Chunichi. He’ll need to get into shape as a pro, and even then I still think he looks more like a pinch hitter than a starter.
  • Honda hurler Takao Suwabe was annoyed at not being picked until the sixth round, and might not sign because of that.
  • In another bittersweet result, high school righty Takumi Akiyama cried at lasting until Hanshin drafted him in the fourth round, but vowed to do his best at Koshien.
  • In more tear news, Kenta Imamiya wept for joy at being selected by his local SoftBank Hawks in the first round.
  • I’m looking forward to seeing how Shuichi Furukawa, Yutaka Ohtsuka, and Yosuke Okamoto do as pros.
  • I was wondering why Akihiro Hakumura wasn’t drafted, but it turns out he’s going to college rather than the pros.
  • Former Braves farmhand Masayoshi Tokuda was not taken by the Carp, despite ‘passing’ their tryout.
  • A couple other non-picks I was slightly disappointed with were Michiya Minato and Shogo Akiyama. Admittedly I haven’t seen much of either of these guys, but they both seem to have good pitchers’ frames, decent velocity and command issues (particularly Akiyama on the last point). I was hoping to see if they’d develop as pros.

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  1. Patrick
    08/11/2009 at 8:27 am Permalink

    I’m a Hiroshima Carp fan and this year’s draft was a lot better than we’d hoped for. For a club like Carp, it’s almost impossible to get super star amateur players, but this year we were very lucky to get three Koshien heroes, Takeru Imamura, Shota Dobayashi and Hayato Shoji.

    Especially, the first two players are widely known by high school baseball arena and its fans, and it’s good that they’ll make Carp in the spotlight in terms of media coverage. Without Kikuchi’s popularity among other clubs, Carp couldn’t have gotten the two.

    One of the players I was interested in in this years draft was Ryoji Nakata, Doragon’s third pick. He is from the same university (Asia uni) with Carp’s last years first pick, Takahiro Iwamoto. He is fat as you mentioned in this entry but the fact that he runs 50m at 6.4 seconds and can backflip is amazing.

    I read somewhere that he asserts that his proper and best weight is 115kg, which is his current weight and he has no intention of shedding some weight. I think as long as he’s quick, he doesn’t have to lose weight but I suspect the manager, Ochiai and coaches will order him to lose some weight.

    Now that the first baseman of the Dragons is Tony Branco, Nakata has no chance of replacing him as a first baseman. He’ll need to change position and that probably will force him to lose some weight. I hope losing weight doesn’t damage his hitting.

    He was up against Hideaki Wakui, this year’s winner of Sawamura Award when they were high school students at Koshien, and Nakata went 3-4 against him including a homerun and a triple (double plus error and he advanced to 3rd base)

    Perhaps you and your readers may have seen the video but I put a link for your reference. Wakui wasn’t what he is now back then, which is of course, but still I was impressed with Nakata’s batting.
    This is a footage from NHK’s sports porgram. If you’re interested, check it out.
    He loves “karaage” or fried chicken!

    It’s said that a Sumo stable master came to him to ask him if he’s interested in becoming a sumo wrestler. That’s really funny and I think his looks, sort of humorous figure and his character will gain a lot of popularity among baseball fans.

    (This is my second post. I think I’ve posted before. I’m Japanese and thank you for your reply to the first post. Yes, reading something you’re interested in in a target language, in my case in English, must be good for language learning.)

  2. Patrick
    08/11/2009 at 11:39 pm Permalink

    Yeah, I liked Hiroshima’s draft too. They also got Hisashi Takeuchi, who I think can help them in the bullpen this year. I read that Shoji is going to start his career as an infielder with the Carp, and I believe that Dobayashi is going to play the outfield for them. I think the Carp made a great pick getting Imamura uncontested in the first round.

    As for Nakata, I’m still not a big fan of his. He has all that weight on a short frame. 171cm — that’s like Norihiro Akahashi or Eishin Soyogi. Think about that. And yeah, he can sprint, but he obviously looked winded at the end of that clip, so I think it’s reasonable to expect him to have some stamina problems until he actually gets into shape.

    But he is a character, and I’ll give Ochiai the benefit of the doubt — he really seems to get the best out of his players. So best of luck to him. You know, I love karaage too.

  3. Patrick
    09/11/2009 at 8:32 am Permalink

    Nakata has eaten 100-150 pieces of Karaage in one sitting. haha
    This is not irrelevant to baseball itself, though. 🙂