Thursday, December 17, 2015

Previewing the projected field - Jyousou Gakuin (Ibaraki)

Jyousou Gakuin finished as the runner-up in the super-regionals and will certainly be getting an invite. Their resume is a hodgepodge though. Nothing of note in the prefecturals outside of losing to Kasumigaura in the finals. But then they beat Yokohama, Nihon Koukuu and Kiryuu Dai-ichi before losing in that wild game versus Kisaradzu Sougou. The offensive output though was very small - just enough in most cases to win, so it may signal that more emphasis will be placed on their pitching staff.

The ace is Suzuki Shouta (鈴木 昭汰), who was the ace of the team last spring at senbatsu. His range is in the upper 130s touching 140, and may have a wide variety of pitches which might include a two-seamer, cutter, shuuto, curve, changeup and slider. But from the videos that you see - especially last year's senbatsu - the off-speed pitches are never really in the zone and that can be shown in the walks he offered to Yokohama and Nihon Koukuu. Any decent sense of patience at the plate and I think he's sunk.

The other option is Kashimura Yuuta (樫村 雄大), a freshman righty. Thankfully, the videos show his pitch speed on the scoreboard, and it seems to be in the low 130s for the fastball with an offspeed pitch in the upper 110s. In his game against Kiryuu Dai-ichi, he struck out 8 while walking 4. It was a complete game shutout, but the 4 walks are a bit iffy.

Offensively, the best player by far is freshman 1B Miyazato Bunta(?) (宮里 豊汰), who hits and hits for power. He was 7-13 with 6 RBIs during the Kanto super-regionals. Judging from the final game verus Kisaradzu Sougou, where in an extra inning affair he was 1-2 with 4 RBIs, my guess is they finally had enough and walked him a bit. Then there's another freshman, CF Suyama Yuuki (陶山 勇軌 - the video was from his days prior to Jyousou). He's not the hit machine Miyazato is, but he does seem to be able to get the timely hit.

2 players though doesn't a lineup make, and if teams do decide to work around Miyazato, it'll be a bit harder for the team to produce runs.

The pitching is sketchy enough to dismiss their chances for the title, though if they play an undisciplined team they may get a game or two.

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