Tag Archive > Yuuki Saito

NPB Bullet Points: Saito Backs Kikuchi, Sponichi Now for Kids Too

» 19 September 2009 » In amateur baseball, mlb, mlb prospects, npb » 9 Comments

It’s been one of those weeks, but the world of baseball carries on.

Japanese Articles:

  • Waseda University pitcher Yuuki Saito is showing a little support for Yusei Kikuchi: “Kikuchi? The Majors, right. I think it’s a good idea. He throws fast and has good movement and control of is breaking pitches. He’s younger but I’m pulling for him. He really has his own way.” Saito was widely thought to be the first Japanese player to test jumping directly from amateur ball to the Majors, but Junichi Tazawa beat him to the punch.
  • You might have picked this up on our Twitter feed already, but Keiichi Yabu isn’t quite ready to throw in the towel yet. The 40 year-old hung out Stateside for a while after the Giants cut him from Fresno, but he’s back in Japan now, with plans to return in October to work out for MLB clubs. Yabu has come off the scrap heap once already, so maybe he’ll get another shot.
  • Stephen Randolph picked up his fourth win for the Yokohama BayStars. He’s done pretty well so far and at this pace I think he’ll get an invitation to return next year.
  • Sponichi is becoming the first sports publication in Japan to publish an edition specifically intended for kids. Why am I mentioning this here? Because children’s books are a great way to learn Japanese, even as adults. I wish this would have been around when I was really learning Japanese.
  • Jon Heyman’s mention of Hideki Matsui made it back to the Japanese media.
  • With the independent Kansai League struggling to survive, female knuckleballer Eri Yoshida is going to get a start in an effort to draw out a few fans. Her manager wants to get at least three innings out of her.
  • According to baseball sources, MLB’ers Brett Tomko and David Dellucci could look to Japan after this season.

Lastly, this isn’t NPB related, but my favorite player as kid growing up in Chicago was Harold Baines. In a backwards kind of way, this hilarious Onion article points out how underrated he was.

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Pro vs. College All-Stars

» 01 September 2009 » In amateur baseball, npb, sports business » Comments Off

Celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Central and Pacific Leagues, the NPB young stars will take the field against a university all-star team on November 22nd at the Tokyo Dome. The NPB team will mainly consist players under the age of 26 and the candidates for the team include Masahiro Tanaka (Rakuten Golden Eagles) and Hayato Sakamoto (Yomiuri Tokyo Giants). The university team should include Yuuki Saito and players (Junior or below) who will be eligible for the World University Championship taking place in Japan next year.

Each team will select 24 players and current Tokyo Yakult Swallows manager Shigeru Takada will manage the pros and current Kinki University manager Tamotsu Enomoto will lead the university team.

On August 30th, Japan Student Baseball Association approved a revision the Japan Student Baseball Charter and the change will allow the professionals to build relationship with a student-athletes with practices and games. There have been numerous revisions to the charter, but not in an extreme way which allowed the pros to exchange time together on the field with high school and college amateur players. However with the recent movements of amateur players opting to go straight to the United States, the last thing NPB wants to see are college prospects leaving the country without playing in the NPB. In order to avoid that, building a stronger relationship with the Japan Student Baseball Association was a must.

This will be an interesting attempt for both sides and a big crowd is expected as a possible Masahiro Tanaka vs. Yuuki Saito showdown might be seen again, bringing back memories for the fans of the memorable 2006 summer Koshien Tournament. The same generation choosing different paths after graduating from high school taking to the same field should bring numerous stories to the Tokyo Dome on November 22nd.

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USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Series

» 05 July 2009 » In international baseball, mlb prospects » 6 Comments

The 37th Annual USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Series will take place in Japan from July 12-16.

July 12th: Botchan Stadium (Matsuyama),12pm
July 13th: Tokyo Dome (Tokyo), 6pm
July 14th: Kleenex Miyagi Stadium (Sendai), 6 pm
July 15th: Tsuruoka Dream Stadium (Tsuruoka), 6pm
July 16th: Meiji Jinguu Stadium (Tokyo), 6pm

※All dates and times are in Japan Standard Time

The US National Team was selected after ten days of trials that included intersquad games and practices. The team consists top non-draft-eligible college players in the United States including 1 junior, 14 sophomores, and 7 freshman players including Trevor Bauer (UCLA) and Kolton Wong (University of Hawaii), who were on the Freshman All-America Team.

The stars of the Japan national team is junior right hander Yuuki Saito (Waseda University) and senior Kazuhito Futagami (Hosei University) who was the MVP in the recent All Japan University Tournament. Seven seniors, who will be eligible for the upcoming draft, will be included in the squad.

Tickets still remain and details will be listed on the All Japan University Baseball Federation website.  Notable past MVPs from this five game series include current Colorado Rockies Todd Helton (1993) and Huston Street (2003), current Yomiuri Giant Yuya Kubo (2001) and current Chiba Lotte Marine Shouitsu Oomatsu (2004). Japan won the last series, 3-2, in the 36th Annual USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Series, played in the United States in 2007.

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