Sunday, March 7, 2010

2010 High School Prospects - Pitchers

(Updated 3/11 with Hokushinetsu pitchers)

Well, I finished my side project so now I'm back online before the Koushien tournament to highlight players who could be considered in upcoming drafts that may not ever make it to Koushien. Remember, the road is very tough and littered with bad luck, and one player does not a team make... well most of the time.

Unlike the players who were highlighted for the Spring Koushien, there will probably be not as many videos on these players. They just don't get covered as much.

(This post is in progress as I get to pitchers from each region. And for those who wonder about velocity, 145-6 kph is 90 mph. +/- 14-15 kph for +/- 10 mph)

2010 Draft - Pitchers
Naruse Kousuke (成瀬 功亮) - Asahikawa Jitsugyou (Hokkaido) - 181cm/76kg - R/R
Suzuki Shunpei (鈴木 駿平) - Asahikawa Jitsugyou (Hokkaido) - 183cm/77kg - L/L
Naruse and Suzuki make up the pitching tandem of Asahikawa Jitsugyou.

Naruse throws in the low-mid 140's with a large curve and slider. He appears to also have connections with Waseda Jitsugyou's ace Onoda.

Suzuki is a southpaw who throws only in the mid 130's, but has a curve, slider and screwball. He makes up for his lack of velocity with good control.

The duo managed to get to the fall Super-Regionals, but lost to Hokushou 7-0 in the first round.

Ueda Masato (上田 昌人) - Bushuukan (Hokkaido) - 182cm/82kg - R/R
Ueda has a fastball that tops out around mid-140 kph. He features a slider and curve. In the fall tournament, he defeated Hokkai 1-0 in the 2nd round before falling to Hokushou 4-1 in the quarterfinals of the Hokkaido Super-Regional. In the Kita-Hokkaido Summer Koshien qualifiers, he took the team to the semifinals before losing to eventual representative Asahikawadai 11-4.

Suda Kiichi (須田 貴一) - Sapporo Dai-ichi (Hokkaido) - 180cm/77kg - R/R
Suda takes over duties as the staff ace for Sapporo Dai-ichi who represented Minami Hokkaido last summer. He throws in the high 130's with a slider and changeup. In the Super-Regionals he gave up 3 runs in 6 innings against Asahikawa Kougyou before yielding to the bullpen.

Shimazaki Ryou (島崎 良) - Kitami Hokuto (Hokkaido) - 177cm/76kg - R/R
Shimazaki is one of the harder throwers of the bunch hitting the mid-140's and compliments it with a slider and curve. He gained some notoriety after coming in as Kitami's ace in his freshman year, taking his team to the Kita-Hokkaido summer qualifiers and losing to eventual representative Komadai Iwamizawa 4-3 in 15 innings. However, he hasn't improved upon that inital appearance. While successfully bringing his team into contention, he cannot get past the first round, losing to Asahikawa Jitsugyou 4-3 in the 1st round of the summer prefectural qualifiers and losing to Hakodate Daigaku Yuuto 11-1 in the 1st round of the fall Super-Regionals.

Oosaka Yuuto(?) (大坂 優斗) - Hokkaido Sakae (Hokkaido) - 172cm/59kg - R/L
Oosaka is a soft tosser in the mid-130's with a curve and slider. There isn't much more information other than that the people following him have seen good progress in his 2 years. We may be hard pressed to find more information as they're in the same region as Komadai Tomakomai.

Hirata(?) Kouki (平田 晃基) - Shiraoi Higashi (Hokkaido) - 186cm/75kg - R/R
The flamethrower out of Hokkaido, Hirata can hit has high as 147 kph. He features a forkball and slider. His most notable performance was against Mukawa in Minami Hokkaido summer qualifiers last year where he held them to 2 runs in 7 innings.

Imazaki Junjirou (今崎 淳次郎) - Komadai Tomakomai (Hokkaido) - 183cm/70kg - L/L
Komadai Tomakomai has been looking for that ace to replace Tanaka Masahiro (who is now the ace of the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles). Imazaki is the next pitcher to try and live up to his record. He throws only in the upper 130's though with a slider. Nonetheless, his most recent run in the fall led the squad to the semifinals falling to Sapporo Minami 6-3.

Imazaki Junjirou video here.

Oosako Shou (大浴 勝) - Kousei Gakuin (Aomori) - 180cm/72kg - R/R
Oosako took over as Kousei's ace this fall and immediately took to the mound like a duck to water. In the 4 games of the fall Aomori qualifiers, he threw a total of 25 1/3 innings and yielded just 4 runs. 3 of those was in a complete game against prefectual powerhouse Aomori Yamada in a 5-3 win. There was reports of pain in his left ankle while pitching in that game, but being an ace in HS, he pushed on.

Kousei would win the #1 seed in the Tohoku super-regionals. After being rested in a 9-0 blowout against Nihon Tohoku, he would give up 5 runs to Honjyou in the 2nd inning, although only 1 would be earned.

Oosako sports a low 140kph fastball along with a curveball and slider.

Oosako video here.

Takahashi Genki (高橋 元気) - Noheji Nishi (Aomori) - 180cm/75kg - R/R
There's a small snippet of Takahashi pitching here. It's at the 1:10 mark in the video, and he's the team with the KG/NHJW written on it. It looks like a jumbled mess, but it stands for Kousei Gakuin Noheji West. Being the ace, he's #1.

Takahashi has an upper 130kph fastball with a slider and shuuto. He was good enough in the summer prefectual qualifiers to reach the semifinals after defeating their parent school Kousei Gakuin, 3-2. He was not as fortunate in the fall as he fell in the first game of the prefectural qualifiers 5-4 to Seiai.

Kazahari Ren (風張 蓮) - Ibonai (Iwate) - 179cm/74kg - R/R
Kazahari can light up the radar gun to the tune of around 147 kph and has a curveball and an above-average slider to throw off batters. In a 1-0 loss to Hanamaki Minami in the first round of the fall prefectural qualifiers he struck out 17. From the game reports I've been able to read, he has been able to strike out at least a batter an inning. (Remember though that Iwate isn't exactly known for their baseball talent). While the team itself isn't good, he has gotten the attention of the Chunichi Dragons and the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks.

Yoshida Ryou (吉田 陵) - Hanamaki Higashi (Iwate) - 182cm/65kg - L/L
If filling in for Tanaka Masahiro's shoes weren't hard, how about filling in for Kikuchi Yuusei? That's the job for southpaw Yoshida. He started in the semifinal game at last year's summer Koshien when Kikuchi got injured, but looked shaky at best lasting only 3 innings against Chuukyoudai Chuukyou. Doesn't help when the manager seemed to have a short hook too.

Unlike Kikuchi who could fire the ball to the plate, Yoshida is a bit of a soft tosser throwing only in the low-mid 130kph range. He counters that though with a variety of pitches - curve, slider, sinker and supposedly a knuckleball.

For a non-powerhouse school, he did decent in the fall, reaching the quarterfinals before falling to Senshuudai Kitami 4-2.

Being from the same school as the top draft pick helps get you some pub, and there are 2 videos (1, 2) of him in a 4th round game during the summer qualifiers against Ohno HS.

Kataoka Genki (片岡 元気) - Akita Shougyou (Akita) - 175cm/64kg - R/R
Kataoka hails from one of the better schools out of Akita. He can touch 140kph with his fastball and has a decent slider and curve. There isn't much more information out there on him though other than that he has a quick reaction on the mound and is very aware of the situation while on the mound as well.

Short video of him on the mound here.

Ujiie Yuugo (氏家 優悟) - Furukawa Gakuen (Miyagi) - 177cm/70kg - L/L
Ujiie is Furukawa's main ace. Being a lefty, he can get away with a slower fastball, topping out in the high 130's. Unlike other pitchers, he features a slider and a cutter. It's very effective though as his lines in the fall tournament were rather impressive.

Fall prefectural qualifiers - 36 IP, 19 H, 37 K, 9 BB, 7 ER (including a CG 7 K, 3 ER effort against Sendai Ikuei).
Tohoku super-regionals - 21 IP, 13 H, 9 BB, 5 ER (K info missing in his game against Highashi-Nihondai Shouhei).

Kanbara(?) Shouta (菅原 翔太) - Furukawa Gakuen (Miyagi) - 178cm/64kg - R/R
Kanbara debuted in the extra inning affair against Higashi-Nippondai Shouhei coming in the 10th inning and earning the win.

He can hit 145kph with his fastball and threw a slider in the game.

Kimura Kengo (木村 謙吾) - Sendai Ikuei (Miyagi) - 177cm/85kg - L/L
Kimura is the ace for Miyagi powerhouse Sendai Ikuei. Another relatively soft-tosser, Kimura has a max of 138kph but sports a large curve, slider and forkball.

Kimura has a lot of experience as a 2nd year. He was added to the 1st team as a freshman and even pitched for Sendai Ikuei at the summer Koshien (2008) and had the following lines:

1st round vs Komono (Mie) - 2.1 IP, 2 H, K, 2 BB, 0 ER
2nd round vs. Fukui Shougyou (Fukui) - 4.2 IP, 2 H, 3 K, BB, 0 ER
3rd round vs. Yokohama(!) (Kanagawa) - 6.1 IP, 5 H, 3 K, 6 BB, 2 ER

It's not often you see a freshman being thrown on the mound against Yokohama.

In his 2nd year, he took over main duties on the mound. He led the team to the 2009 summer prefectural finals, but lost 4-1 to Tohoku. Then in the fall he brought them to the quarterfinals only to see Furukawa Gakuen rout them 10-3.

Video footage of Kimura against Tohoku in said game.

Tanaka Kazuya (田中 一也) - Sendai Ikuei (Miyagi) - 183cm/76kg - R/L
Tanaka has come along to aid Kimura on the mound. He debuted against Kesennuma Kouyou in the prefectural semifinals of last year's summer Koshien qualifying pitching 8 innings of shutout ball with 15 K's.

He throws in the mid 140s with a slider. It's said though that he has other pitches such as a two-seam, curve and fork.

Abe Tatsuyoshi (阿部 達世志) - Tohoku Seikatsu Bunkadai (Miyagi) - 180cm/85kg - R/R
Abe is a righty who throws in the high 130's with a slider and curve. But his mention with other pitchers seems odd considering that remarks from his first year shows issues with walks and a lot of earned runs. But it's hard to tell considering the little information provided. His team reached the 4th round before losing to Rifu 7-4.

Itou Kazutoshi (伊藤 千寿) - Touryou (Miyagi) - 178cm/80kg - L/L
Itou earned the #10 jersey in his freshman year and has helped the team reach some respectability. Last summer, they reached the best 8 (losing to Sendai Ikuei) and in the fall reaching the super-regionals but losing in the 1st round to Aomori Yamada 4-2.

But... the odd thing is that in the box scores of the last couple of games, I don't see Itou's name as a pitcher. Then I find an article saying that he suffered ligament injuries to his left foot, and there's nothing about his timetable for return. Hard to say what will happen to him next.

(Darn it.. I was halfway finished with the Kanto region when my browser crashed and I lost all my work... I'll have to get back to it later....)

Tsukawara(?) Shouhei (塚原 頌平) - Tsukuba Shuuei (Ibaraki) - 182cm/75kg - R/L
Tsukawara had a good middle school career and was selected as an all-prefectural player in his 3rd year. He earned a spot on the team in his freshman year and became the ace this past summer debuting with a 4-hit shutout against Mito Kougyou. He would pitch in 4 games, yielding 14 hits and 4 runs in 24.1 IP. He also has some ability with the bat, hitting .471 and manning the hot corner when he wasn't pitching.

In the fall, Tsukuba Shuuei would reach the semifinals of the prefectural tournament, but fell hard against Mito Sakuranomaki 8-1.

On the mound, Tsukawara throws in the low 140's with a slider and forkball.

Kurata Yasuaki (倉田 泰明)
- Kasumigaura (Ibaraki) - 181cm/76kg - R/R
Kurata throws in the high 130's occasionally hitting 140. He features a slider and curveball. He's notable in that his form may easily transition to the next level.

Satou Takuya (佐藤 拓也) - Bunsei Geidai Fuzoku (Tochigi) - 181cm/74kg - R/R
Nakayama Takumi (中山 匠) - Bunsei Geidai Fuzoku (Tochigi) - 186cm/79kg - R/R
Satou and Nakayama make up the pitching tandem at Bunsei Geidai Fuzoku.

Satou wears the ace number, throws around 140kph and has a curve and slider. But a little more attention has been paid to Nakayama. He was actually given the ace status in his freshman year, and helped lead the team to the semifinals of the summer prefectural tournament and the #1 seed out of the fall prefectural tournament. His stats for the summer included a 6.69 H/9, 9 K/9, and 1.03 BB/9 ratios.

However an injury appeared to sit him out for last year's summer qualifying in which they were eliminated in the first round. He returned for the fall tournament under #7 (implying he plays LF when not pitching) and became the reliever. The team once again earned the #1 seed out of Tochigi in the fall tournament, but lost in the first round of the super-regionals to Shiritsu Funabashi (Chiba #3).

Nakayama throws in the same range as Satou with a curve, slider and forkball.

Sumida Minato (角田 皆斗) - Tochigi Kougyou (Tochigi) - 179m/79kg - R/R
There is little information on Sumida other than that he can touch 140kph and that it appears he is changing his form on the mound. Tochigi Kougyou appears good enough to earn a seeded spot in the past year.

Abe Ryousuke (阿部 良亮) - Urawa Gakuin (Tochigi) - 186cm/79kg - R/R
Minami Atsuki (南 貴樹) - Urawa Gakuin (Tochigi) - 196cm/85kg - R/R
These two have already been reviewed in the Team Recap post.

Takeya(?) Masahiro (竹谷 政宏) - Sakado (Tochigi) - 178cm/72kg - R/R
While Takeya fastball is in the high 130/low 140 range, his slider seems to be above average and he also features a curve.

Sano Yasuo (佐野 泰雄) - Wako (Tochigi) - 176cm/74kg - L/L
It's hard what to make of Sano. The team has had little success in the tournaments, but his performances seem to be otherwordly. In his first round game this past summer, he won 4-0 striking out 18. And in a practice game against summer quarterfinalist Kawaguchi Seiryou he pitched a 2-0 shutout striking out 20. (Note though that because this game was held in the fall, it's probable that Kawaguchi Seiryou lost key players given they didn't even get past the 1st game in the sub-regional fall tournament.)

What makes this more puzzling is that his max fastball is 135kph. He has a slider and curve, but it could either be a good pitcher on a bad team, or an above average pitcher facing a terrible team.

Nakagawa Ryou (中川 諒
) - Narita (Chiba) - 180cm/73kg - R/R
Nakagawa is another conundrum. Rated as an above-average arm, the last speed reports say that he throws generally around the 130kph mark. His success appears to lie with his change and slider which are above-average.

Ishigaki (?) (石垣 永悟) - Touin Gakuen (Kanagawa) - 183cm/73kg - R/R
Mori Daiki (森 大樹) - Touin Gakuen (Kanagawa) - 180cm/69kg - R/L
Ishigaki was featured in the team recap section, but Mori has been recently included as a player to watch. His max fastball was clocked at 137kph and mixed in with a slider and a curve with a large velocity difference apparently caught people's attention.

Nakano Justin (中野 ジャスティン) - Koujyou (Kanagawa) - 179cm/64kg - R/R
Yes, this is another case where a person has an American father although unlike Minami at Urawa Gakuin, Justin doesn't appear to have the stature bonus. He can touch 140 with his fastball and compliments it with a sharp slider as well as a curve.

Myou Daiki (明 大貴) - Keiou Gijyuku (Kanagawa) - 175cm/72kg - R/R
Keiou has regressed after their multi-year run at Koshien. I certainly believed that they were on their way to a level field with Yokohama. This year, the team is led by Myou, who can hit 140 with a slider and a split-finger fastball. There is also contention as to whether he has a curve or a two-seam fastball as well. This video is from his freshman year, and this was from the fall tournament last year as he now takes over the ace number.

Imaoka Ippei (今岡 一平) - Yokohama Hayato (Kanagawa) - 173cm/68kg - R/R
Imaoka has been mentioned before since Hayato reached the summer Koshien last year. Also barely reaching 140, his arsenal consists of a change and sinker. Apparently though, he separates himself on a different level with his smile. And I'm totally serious about that.

This is the first in a 24(!) part video highlighting the summer Kanagawa prefectural championship game against Touin Gakuen.

Onoda Jyunsuke (小野田 俊介) - Waseda Jitsugyou (Tokyo) - 178cm/68kg - R/R
Onoda has been on the radar for a while as a top-flight prospect who has Koshien experience and is adept at both the mound and the plate. He throws in the low 140's with a curve and slider and possibly a forkball. He does have some control issues walking about 4 batters/9.

Oddly enough, the only good video of him pitching was when he was a freshman in the summer Koshien qualifiers. There's this one from this past fall, but it's hard to get a good look at him.

Suzuki Keisuke (鈴木 健介) - Waseda Jitsugyou (Tokyo) - 173cm/72kg - R/L
Suzuki interestingly enough has the ace jersey even though Onoda is the higher ranking prospect. He throws in the low-mid 130s with a slider, change, and curve. Against lefties he may use the change exclusively.

Sekiya Keisuke (関矢 圭佑) - Meijidai Nakano (Tokyo) - 181cm/75kg - R/R
Nakamoto Ryou (中本 椋) - Meijidai Nakano (Tokyo) - 181cm/84kg - R/R
Another duo tandem here at Meijidai Nakano. Sekiya throws in the mid-upper 130's with a curve, slider and two-seam while Nakamoto is a ¾-thrower who ranges from upper-130's to lower-140's with a slider and curve.

One notable factoid is that Sekiya in middle school was on the same team with Enomoto Aoi who now plays for Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku.

Nishigata Haruki (西潟 栄樹) - Seiritsu Gakuen (Tokyo) - 181cm/75kg - R/R
Nishigata only throws in the upper 130's but in addition to the slider and curveball, he actually throws a knuckleball! And it doesn't seem like it's a novelty pitch, he actually uses it in game. He's shown some potential. In last year's summer Higashi Tokyo tournament, he struck out 15 in 8.2 IP. And in the fall, he had a 7-inning called perfect game against a combined team of Tokyo Toritsudai Fuzoku and Oushuukan Chuuto.

Katou Yukihiro (加藤 幸宏) - Nagano Nichidai (Nagano) - 175cm/71kg - R/R
Nagano isn't normally known for their ballplayers, but Katou does stand out. This past summer he was close to hitting the key 145 kph mark with his fastball and carries 3 off-speed pitches in a curve, slider and forkball.

It was good enough to help the team reach the summer Koshien and advance past the first 2 rounds before falling hard to Chuukyoudai Chuukyou. If you looked at the actual games though, Katou struggled with his control, continually hitting batters and getting himself into trouble. Velocity is always good, but with no control, it's useless.

Toujyou Masaki (東條 将樹) - Chuuetsu (Niigata) - 174cm/73kg - R/R
Toujyou has been the relief pitcher for Chuuetsu this past year - first for Watanabe and now for Kobayashi. He is a ¾-pitcher who has the same pitch profile as Katou although perhaps without the wildness. So far he appears to get at least a K/inning and comes in high leverage situations.

Kawaguchi Yoshinobu(?) (川口 貴信) - Seiryou (Ishikawa) - 177cm/72kg - R/R
Kawaguchi is another relief pitcher. He generally throws in the mid-130's with a slider and has good enough control to hit the corners. The team has had moderate success, but one has to wonder why Kawaguchi remains a reliever.

Kurimoto Toki (栗本 斗基) - Nihon Koukuu Ishikawa (Ishikawa) - 173cm/75kg - L/L
We've seen Kurimoto in action as he helped lead his team to Koshien last year. He throws in the high 130s with a slider and curve.

However, while he wears the ace number, he isn't able to go complete games. And his performance against Nihon Bunri suggests that his pitches might be easy to hit.

Hasegawa Yousuke (長谷川 陽亮) - Fukui Shougyou (Fukui) - 181cm/72kg - R/R
Tsuruga Kehi appears to be challenging Fukui Shougyou's grip in the prefecture. And pitching seems to be an issue. Hasegawa is certainly a fireballer - he can throw in the mid-upper 140s with a slider, curve and shuuto. But in his freshman year, he came in a Koshien game against Sendai Ikuei and proceeded to walk 2 and give up a hit. It's telling also that the team has not had much success since summer 2008 - and that in the boxscores I've been able to find, he is coming in relief.

Morimoto Shouta (森本 将太) - Fukui Koudai Fukui (Fukui) - 181cm/72kg - R/R
Son Fan Fun (宋 相勲) - Fukui Koudai Fukui (Fukui) - 187cm/85kg - R/R
Morimoto and Son are interesting in the fact that I have very few cases in which they are actually pitching. Much like the last couple of pitchers, these two are mainly relievers. Morimoto started against Tsuruga Kehi last summer giving up 2 runs on 2 hits in 7 innings. Son is an outfielder who takes the mound in relief - although I haven't found a box score that shows him pitching. And yes, if you can't tell Son is actually an exchange student from Korea. Still 187cm is pretty darned tall.

Morimoto throws in the low 140's with a slider. Son is the same, but features a slider, curve, fork and changeup.

Tokai -
Kinki -
Chuugoku -
Shikoku -
Kyushu -


westbaystars said...

Name: Ueda Masahito(?) (上田 昌人) is Ueda Masato.

Goro Shigeno said...

Thanks. First names are always trouble for me...