Preseason: Sawamura vs Ohishi, Kikuchi

» 02 March 2011 » In npb »

This morning, I got my first extended look at heralded Giants rookie Hirokazu Sawamura; a 55-pitch open sen appearance against Seibu. I liked what I saw. Sawamura was quick the to the plate, showed good spring time velocity, and managed to hit Shinnosuke Abe’s target with his breaking pitches a good chunk of the time.

Seibu countered with its own touted young ‘uns. 2010 top draft pick Tatsuya Ohishi got the start, 2nd year man Yusei Kikuchi followed with an inning of relief work, and 2010 2nd-rounder Kazuhisa Makita put in two innings. I was a little underwhelmed by Ohishi, but it’s still early in the spring. Kikuchi, on the other hand, was something of a pleasant surprise. He only got an inning of work but he showed a smooth delivery, worked quickly and threw right to the catcher’s target on all but one of his pitches. I had never seen Makita before at any level, and submariners are always fun. I like his 95 kmph curveball, but if this guy gets the ball up in the zone, watch out.

And on a somber note, the game opened with a moment of silence for former Yomiuri Giant, Chunichi Dragon and San Francisco 49er Wally Yonamine, who passed away earlier this week.

As you can see below I’ve embedded the video of the game, or if you prefer you can surf on over to and watch there.

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  1. Patrick
    03/03/2011 at 2:14 am Permalink

    Wow, this is really driving home for me how weird it is to NOT be there. I didn’t realize would have preseason games — maybe I should check for them more! Thanks for putting this up.

    Ohishi’s delivery looks a little different than it did when he was in college, I wonder why. Maybe it’s just a different angle than I’m used to seeing him from, or maybe he is throwing from a slightly higher arm slot? It’s still *so* weird to see these guys I watched pitch in college for so long wearing pro uniforms…

  2. Patrick
    03/03/2011 at 9:31 am Permalink

    What is “spring time velocity”?

  3. Patrick
    03/03/2011 at 10:35 am Permalink

    What I meant by that was that he’s not in mid-season form, in terms of conditioning and probably physical strength. Despite that, Sawamura was still in the 145-149 kmph range. I take that as a positive sign he’ll be able to dial it up further in real competitive games. Seibu didn’t field its best lineup in that game.