We’ve had plenty to be pessimistic about over the last couple months years, so I thought it might be a good idea to talk about one of the positives that the team can claim at the moment.
Meet infielder Kazuhiro Hatakeyama. The 26-year-old from Iwate prefecture is currently in his 8th season with the club, and through his first seven seasons he only managed 59 appearances for the top team. His career average at the beginning of this season was an even .200.
It seems as though all those years of patience may have finally paid off for the multi-talented Hatakeyama. He has played both of the corners to help make up for the disappearance of Adam Riggs and the inconsistency of Keizou Kawashima (who, to be fair, was an excellent snag from the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters).
But his greatest asset to the team is undoubtedly his patience at the plate. The guy knows how to get on base. He just reached the 35 game mark in terms of appearances, but he has already managed to get himself into second place on the team in terms of doubles and walks. Furthermore, he has 56 total bases which is good enough for sixth on the team, he’s tied for fifth in total hits and rbi’s, and his chest-puffing numbers stand at .348 (batting average), .434 (on-base percentage), and .514 (slugging). Those numbers aren’t bad (especially the second and third ones!).
His glove still needs a little extra practice, and we’re looking forward to the day when he is able to decrease the number of times that he strikes out, but if he keeps his spot in the lineup, then it should be interesting to see how he ends up at the conclusion of the season.