The amateur draft took place last night, but the media only picked up the fact that Yomiuri landed a big-hitting kid by the name of Taishi Ota out of Tokaidai Sagami High School as their first pick.
Anyway, while it may come as a surprise to the media that 11 other teams were present at the event, we here at tsubamegun would like to take this opportunity to let you know who Tokyo came away with.
Tokyo opted for a left-handed high school pitcher by the name of Katsuki Akagawa. The 184cm tall 18 year-old has a fastball in the 140’s.
Ryousuke Yagi, another left-handed pitcher fresh out of high school, was Tokyo’s second pick. He apparently has a decent fastball-slider combo.
Tokyo used its third pick of the draft to select Ryuuhei Nakamura. Nakamura is a right-handed catcher with a decent arm. Like the two guys picked before him, he is 18 years old.
Ryou Hidaka was the third (and final) 18 year-old, left-handed pitcher that Tokyo selected last night. He is said to have good balance with a fastball that can reach the 140’s.
Tokyo crowded the bullpen just a little more by picking its second catcher of the night. Genki Nitta (yes, you read his first name correctly) is the only guy out of the five that is old enough to drink (in Japan). For the record, he turned 26 in August. Nitta went to Chuo University and then spent time with Panasonic in the Industrial League. Hopefully he’ll be able to kick one of our many useless catchers back down to the farm team by the end of March 2009.
Ikusei (?? – supplementary) Draft
Rafael Miranda Fernandes (22 years old) is a right-handed pitcher with a fastball that is in the high 140’s.
Kouji Tsukamoto (26 years old) is a right-handed submarine style pitcher.
And there you have it! I can tell you right now that Garrett will not be impressed with these picks. He’s been predicting that this would happen since last season when they decided to combine the two drafts–18 year-olds being picked over everyone else.
Young pitchers tend to get snagged early on; with pitching being so vital to a team’s success, many teams (on both sides of the Pacific) are willing to take their chances on relatively unproven (read: high school) arms.
However, it seems that Takada is trying desperately to find a left-handed version of Yuu Darvish. Perhaps that’s part of the reason why he chose to waste use his first four picks on high school players.
A few teams, namely Yokohama, Hanshin, Hokkaido and Chiba, were smart enough to use their first three picks to claim negotiating rights with university/corporate players.
Which, of course, is not to say that there aren’t at least a few fantastic players at the high school level right now. It would just be nice if people would learn from their own (and other’s) mistakes every once in a while.
Well, for a good rundown of all 12 team’s picks in English, check Deanna’s blog.