The birds made a few new acquisitions back on the 29th of October, and at least one of those picks (a left-handed pitcher out of the industrial leagues) looks like he could make an immediate contribution to the team.
The Swallows were part of that huge scrum looking to snap up Yusei Kikuchi, but they lost out (Seibu’s manager, Watanabe, chose the winning envelope) on the chance to negotiate with the high school phenom and were thus forced to make more conservative picks.
In the first round of the amateur draft, which now includes players from high school, college, and the industrial league, the Swallows selected Masato Nakazawa. Nakazawa is a 24-year-old left-handed pitcher from Toyota’s industrial league team that could be a contender for a starting rotation slot next season. He will be 25 when the 2010 campaign kicks off, and he’ll hopefully be flexing his fastball-slider combo on the first team. He apparently has a fastball that tops out in the mid 140′s.
Before signing with Toyota, Nakazawa played at Chuo University, and he is listed on the Yakult website as being 179 cm tall and 80 kg on the scales.
The Swallows used their second round draft pick to select another pitcher out of the industrial league, this time it was right-handed pitcher Tetsuya Yamamoto who plays for Mitsubishi Kobe. Tokyo is hoping that Yamamoto can get into the mix for a spot on the first team bullpen or maybe even some time on the starting rotation. Also 24 years old, Yamamoto is listed as being 179 cm tall and weighing 74 kg.
Tokyo was able to resist drafting a high school player for yet another round when they chose Takahiro Araki (IF) in the third. The 22-year-old right-handed player will be joining the team after he graduates from Kinki University in the spring, and many will be watching to see if he can join the platoon of infielders that are looking to allow Miyamoto to ease into his upcoming managerial career.
The fourth round was when Tokyo finally swooped for a high school pitcher. They chose Ryo Hirai (18 years old) out of Teikyo 5th High School. Hirai is a thin, six-feet-tall right-handed pitcher who can reach 145 kph with his fastball.
21-year-old outfielder, Jun Matsui, was invited to join the Swallows in the fifth round. He played baseball for Nihon University Junior College, and he apparently possesses both speed and power.
Tokyo also snared two players in the ikusei draft:
Maike Magario joins the team straight out of Aomori Yamada High School. The 18-year-old outflielder (R/R) spent his early years in Brazil (much like veteran Yuichi Matsumoto).
The Swallows’ final pick of the draft was Tomofumi Aso, an infielder from Nihon University Junior College (along with Matsui above). The 22-year-old hits and throws righty.