Rookies to Watch in 2010

» 23 March 2010 » In npb »

In the last of my “things to watch” in 2010 series, today will look at this year’s crop of rookies.

  • Yusei (P, Seibu Lions): The Pitcher Formerly Known as Yusei Kikuchi is kind of a no-brainer for this list. Yusei starts the year at ni-gun but if all goes well I would expect him to spend some time with the top team this year.
  • Ryoji Nakata (1B, Chunichi Dragons): Nakata is fat to the tune of 118kg. He insists his weight is an asset, but I think it’s reasonable to question how it will play over the course of a season.
  • Hisayoshi Chono (OF, Yomiuri Giants): Chono’s old school insistence of playing for the Giants finally paid off when they drafted him last year. I’ve been skeptical of Chono since seeing video of him struggle with Industrial League breaking pitches, but he’s had a good spring. The Giants’ aging outfield could use an injection of youth, so he’ll get his at bats.
  • Kazuhito Futagami (P, Hanshin Tigers): Hanshin’s rotation woes should open up some innings for Futagami, if he were not injured himself
  • Takashi Ogino (OF, Chiba Lotte Marines): Ogino has started Lotte’s first three games and is a robust 5/11 so far. At 24 and with Industrial League experience, like Chono he’s a little more ready to contribute at the top level than some of the younger players.

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  1. Patrick
    23/03/2010 at 9:03 am Permalink

    I guess Yoshitomo Tsutsugo isn’t expected to play with the big club this year?

  2. Patrick
    23/03/2010 at 9:53 am Permalink

    This isn’t meant to be a comprehensive list; I guess I could have made that more clear.

    But in Tsutsugo’s case, I’m not really expecting him to play without an injury to one of the veterans. He’ll start the season at ni-gun. Just looking back at history it’s been pretty rare to see a power hitter perform at the top level straight out of high school. It happens (Kiyohara, Matsui), but it seems like Tsutsugo is on the Sho Nakata track rather than the Kiyohara track.

  3. Patrick
    24/03/2010 at 7:49 am Permalink

    I’m kinda pulling for Takahiro Araki of the Swallows as a sleeper ROY candidate, though it’ll depend on whether he can hit well enough to get the playing time. He was pretty awesome in college.

    Ryoji Nakata is surprisingly fast for such a big dude. I still wish he’d gone to Seibu, though.

  4. Patrick
    24/03/2010 at 8:35 am Permalink

    I’ve been reading about Araki, but I left him off because I don’t know that much about him. Given the spirit of this list, maybe that’s the perfect reason to include him though.

    Yeah, Nakata is a surprisingly good sprinter. My concern about him is stamina. He also (at the plate) kind of pulls himself away from the ball, which I think will make him vulnerable to outside fastballs at the pro level.

  5. Patrick
    24/03/2010 at 1:07 pm Permalink

    Tyrone Woods spotted.

    Huh? you guys are talking about rookies?

  6. Patrick
    25/03/2010 at 2:55 am Permalink

    Ah, that’s why Tyrone dropped by Nagoya Dome to visit his old teammates.