Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Previewing the projected field - Takamatsu Shougyou (Kagawa)

So Takamatsu Shougyou won it all. And I mean won the Meiji Jingu taikai. The thing is, in the grand scheme of things the only thing that means is that they have given their super-region an extra bid (which will go to Saibi for better or worse).

But let's say we should take them a little more seriously than I'm taking them. Who are they?

In the prefecturals, they beat Takamatsu Kita, then survived a 1-0 win over Eimei before losing to Shoudoushima in the finals (where by the way it didn't matter because they had already qualified for the super-regionals). Then they played 3 highly contested games against Ikeda, Imabari Nishi and Saibi before soundly beating Meitoku Gijyuku in the finals (where again the game didn't matter because both basically qualified for the title) - which for them may be more for having the honor of winning the title.

Come the Meiji Jingu taikai though, and they continued to win - even though they didn't need to. They defeated Sapporo Dai-ichi soundly, then with their relief corps held on against Osaka Touin's relief corps, and in the championship game had some type of comeback to defeat Tsuruga Kehi because why not?

Alright, so they don't seem all that bad of a team. But let's start with their pitching corps. Their ace is Ura Daiki (浦 大輝). From the game against Tsuruga Kehi (see 1:37:30 on the video), he doesn't throw hard, showing a high 100s-low 110s slurve, a straight curve in the mid 110s, and possible cutter(?) in the high 120s, and a fastball in the low 130s. He rarely ever throws the fastball though, which is why he probably has the low K rates he does. Also, he seems to depend on the slurve/curve combo to keep the batters off-base - drawing poor contact.

Now to the other 2 pitchers. Tada Soutarou (多田 宗太郎), who started the game against Tsuruga Kehi, is a sidearmer who does not throw that fast at all (not surprisingly). He has a tailing fastball and a standard fastball in the mid-upper 110s, and a slider in the mid 100s with what looks like a curve or sorts in the high 90s-low 100s. If nothing else, his success has been because he is able to hit either the edges or the lower part of the zone consistently. Of course he will not generate many Ks, and his stamina is brought into question as shown in the Osaka Touin game, but he easily becomes a serviceable pitcher for the team.

Ura wasn't apparently available for the Osaka Touin game because of stomach/head issues, so when Tada needed to be relieved in the 8th, and that job actually went to their 2B, Mino Kousei (美濃 晃成) - see 2:26 in the video for his pitching. He has a fastball at 140, an attempt at a slider in the high 120s, and a slow curve in the 100s. He's by no means accurate, and can probably be used in emergency, but I wouldn't necessarily depend on him in a high leverage situation.

Offensively, the most consistent hitter seems to be Mino, despite batting deep in the #5 slot. That followed by SS Yonebaku Keizou (米麦 圭造), who hits in the #3 slot, and leadoff batter CF Anzai Tsubasa (安西 翼). The fact that they scored no less than 6 runs in any game in the super-regionals and Meiji Jingu taikai is surprising. It may signal that they may be able to compete come senbatsu - as long as the pitching holds up. Perhaps they can be considered a contender after all...

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