2011 Swallows’ Draft Recap

The Swallows drafted 8 players in the draft tonight. Those of you who read my draft preview last night will find none of the names I discussed in our list of picks.

With their alternate first pick the Swallows chose...

The night started off with the Swallows vying for Shuhei Takahashi along with the Dragons (as expected) and the Buffaloes. After each team’s rep had drawn their envelopes there was a few moments of confusion as it seemed for a moment that no one had drawn a lucky envelope. But then the Dragons’ future manager Takagi figured out he was holding the winning ticket and the Dragons had Takahashi. After losing out on Takahashi, the Swallows chose high school outfielder/pitcher Ryuhei Kawakami of Kosei Gakuin High School. While he’s listed as a pitcher/outfielder, the Swallows have him as just an outfielder. The right-hander hit 3 homeruns (including an inside-the-park HR) during the most recent summer Koshien tournament. Kawakami possesses a strong arm, and good speed, and while his upside is much lower than Takahashi’s, it seems the club is looking for him to become a 5-tool player down the line.

After Kawakami, the Swallows decided to go a little bit older electing to draft only university and industrial league guys. The first of those players was Ryohei Kiya of Nihon Bunri University. The right-handed pitcher throws a 145 km/h fastball as well as a splitter. The Swallows like his mound presence and believe he can find his way into the rotation in the very near future.

With their third and fourth picks the Swallows chose players from Nippon Paper Ishinomaki, Kyuko’s old Industrial League team. The first of those picks was Wataru Hiyane who is a right-handed outfielder with speed and defensive ability. The Swallows have a quote from Kyuko calling Hiyane very fast, and the Swallows themselves note that he could be a regular if his bat can adapt to the pro game. The second player the Swallows took from Nippon Paper was Yuya Ota, a left-handed pitcher with a dropping curve and a cut fastball. It seem the Swallows will be looking for him to follow in Kyuko’s footsteps and have an impact on the bullpen immediately.

In the fifth round the Swallows selected right-handed pitcher Yuji Nakane from Tohoku Fukushi University. Nakane was a high school teammate of Yoshinori. Unfortunately, injuries have held him back. When healthy Nakane exhibits a fluid fastball and if he can avoid any more injuries the Swallows believe he can be a rotation regular with his old teammate.

The Swallows final pick in the regular draft was Masato Furuno from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Kobe. Like many Industrial League pitchers Furuno has a fairly slow fastball (MAX 143km/h), but has a variety of breaking balls to keep hitters guessing. The Swallows believe he will be able to contribute to the bullpen right away.

The Swallows made 2 additional picks in the ikusei portion of the draft. Their first ikusei pick was Takeaki Tokuyama from Ritsumeikan University. The right-handed pitcher, who also bats switch, throws an array of pitches and the Swallows seem to consider him a high ceiling guy. The final pick for the Swallows in the 2011 draft was used for Hugo Kanabushi from Hakuoh University. While very rough, the left-hander has a strong fastball and the Swallows no doubt hope he’ll follow in the footsteps of another former Hakuoh University Brazillian, Fernandes.

Going through the picks beyond the Kawakami pick, it seems that the Swallows have drafted a few arms that can contribute right away in the bullpen. Unlike last year’s draft class, this class seems to have a lower potential ceiling but will have a higher immediate impact.

2011 Swallows' Draftees

RdNamePositionLast TeamT/BDate of Birth (Age)
1Ryuhei KawakamiOF/PKosei Gakuin HSR/RMay 8, 1993 (18)
2Ryohei KiyaPNippon Bunri UniversityR/RApril 7, 1989 (22)
3Wataru HiyaneOFNippon Paper IshimakiR/RJune 20, 1987 (24)
4Yuya OtaPNippon Paper IshimakiL/LAugust 6, 1988 (23)
5Yuji NakanePTohoku Fukushi UniversityR/RSeptember 7, 1989 (22)
6Masato FurunoPMitsubishi Heavy Industries KobeR/RSeptember 27, 1986 (25)
I1Takeaki TokuyamaPRitsumeikan UniversityR/SJuly 21, 1989 (22)
I2Hugo KanabushiPHakuo UniversityL/LMay 22, 1989 (22)
About Kozo Ota

Kozo Ota is a third-generation Swallows fan that grew up on Montreal Expos baseball. (You can read more about that here.) When he's not at Jingu, he works as a freelance translator/interpreter to make enough money to go to Jingu. You can find random posts by Kozo on Google+ and Twitter.