Monday, August 8, 2016

98th Koushien - Team Analysis by Group (Day 8 via Day 2)

Since I'm basically going to be playing catchup this entire tournament, today will be looking at these teams today who are going into Day 8.

*Note - Pitching and Batting grades are given by Strength/Depth

Day 2
Game 1 - 1st Round
Inabe Sougou Gakuen (Mie) - Pitching C+/C+, Batting C/C
  • def Kinan 10-0
  • def Ino 8-0
  • def Ise Kougyou 8-3
  • def Kaisei 1-0
  • def Tsuda Gakuen 10-4
Inabe Sougou Gakuen wins not have to face Mie, but they did handle their business except for a big scare in the semifinals defeating Kaisei 1-0.

Ace Yamauchi Tomoki (山内 智貴) has sub-optimal K rates (7.58) given the competition though at least his walk numbers are good. But it wasn't him that face Kaisei. Instead it was their #16 Araki Sousuke (赤木 聡介), who pitched a 5-hit shutout, strikiing out 4 and walking 1.

But that's weird. Kaisei was the best competition the team faced, and yet their ace didn't take the mound. I'm not sure what to make of that, even though they obviously did win. I can't tell if that was intentional because Ozaki-kantoku was confident in his staff, but since the numbers aren't completely middling, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt though in the end it still seems average at best.

Offensively, the top of the lineup as one would expect holds most of the danger, with the bottom perhaps providing respite to the opposition. No one really stands out, which is ok, but it also means that they'll need to string things together to make it work.

Tsuruoka Higashi (Yamagata) - Pitching C/C+, Batting C+/B-
  • def Shinjyou Kamuro 9-0 (7)
  • def Tsuruoka Tousen 9-0 (7)
  • def Sakata Higashi 9-2
  • def Sakata Minami 16-5 (5)
  • def Yamagata Chuo 10-8 (11)
Well, Tsuruoka Higashi is back again, and the offensive numbers look good. But the last two games - even against upper tier competition seem a bit suspect. Against Sakata Minami, they made what is a very high Tier 2 school, they made them look like a non-descript school. But then against Yamagata Chuo they found themselves behind before coming back, needing 3 tries to put Yamagata Chuo away.

Oota Kaito (太田 海都) wears the ace number, but he didn't pitch against Sakata Minami and then was relieved after giving up 4 runs in 5 innings of work in the finals. His peripherals don't look that great either (6.23 K/9, 4.15 BB/9). Combine that with the fact that Satou-kantoku went to 4 pitchers in the finals probably means he's not beholden to any pitcher. But it also means that his staff probably isn't particularly strong.

Offensively the team obviously has a ton of hits and runs, but perhaps a player to watch is the last batter, Hagiwara Takahito (萩原 誉人) who was 4-8 with 8 RBIs. Two other players to watch for are the corners in 3B Igamatsu Tsubasa (伊賀松 飛翔) and 1B Satou Yoshi (佐藤 要). Yamagata isn't particularly strong, but the crooked numbers are better than nothing. Plus, the high walk numbers are always promising when combined with good BAs.

Game 2 - 1st Round
Chuukyou (Gifu) - Pitching C/B-, Batting C/C
  • def Mizunami 4-1
  • def Tomita 9-1
  • def Gifu Jyouhoku 6-4
  • def Gifu Kakamino 8x-1 (7)
  • def Nagara 3-0
  • def Oogaki Nichidai 3-2
Chuukyou won the Gifu tournament defeating last year's champion (Gifu Jyouhoku) and a perennial team in Oogaki Nichidai - both of which by the way were their closest games.

Chuukyou is also a weird ace. Iwakawa Keishirou (岩川 奎司) wears the ace number, but it's Furuda Shouto (古田 星投) who seems to get the bulk of the action. Neither pitcher though is all that overpowering, so I guess it's why perhaps Hashimoto-kantoku thinks they're interchangable.

The most consistent hitter by far is their #2 hitter, CF Katou Souta (加藤 壮太) going 6-16 in the final 4 games. And as you would expect, the bottom of the lineup is a weakness for the team. 

Oita (Oita) - Pitching C/C+, Batting C/C
  • def Hita Rinkou 6-1
  • def Oita Maizuru 7-2
  • def Oita Kougyou 14-7 (8)
  • def Usuki 8-0 (7)
  • def Saiki Kakujyou 8-2
Oita really didn't play any major teams in their run to the title, but they did at least take care of business. Ace Ishimoto Katsuya (石本 勝也) numbers are not great given the competition (7.68/2.72), and struggled against Oita Kougyou going just 3 innings before 3 relievers would come in to close out the game. At least Matsuo-kantoku is willing to go to his bullpen if necessary.

As with most teams, the top of the lineup is the most steady of the group with leadoff batter 3B Tsukano Kasumi (束野 克実) setting the table. It's not much different than other teams and in a weak prefecture it will probably be more exposed.

Game 3 - 1st Round
Takagawa Gakuen (Yamaguchi) - Pitching C+/F, Batting C/C
  • def Houfu Nishi 17-4
  • def Nanyou Kougyou 6-1
  • def Kudamatsu 10-0 (5)
  • def Ube Shougyou 6-0
  • def Nagato 7x-0 (8)
  • def Ube Koujyou 8-2
Takagawa Gakuen blitzes through Yamaguchi defeating both Nanyou Kougyou and Ube Koujyou along the way for the title. On the mound ace Yamano Taichi (山野 太一) was rather impressive, sporting a 9.77 K/9 while holding a 2.11 BB/9 rate. In those games against the two teams it was a 19/3 K/BB ratio, which is all you can really ask for in a starter.

Offensively, the team is easily led by their #3 hitter RF Souta Masato (相田 聖人) who was 6-9 in the 2 games against the top teams. As one would expect, the teams hit well as a whole, though it was depressed against Nanyou Kougyou and Ube Koujyou. The bottom of the lineup wasn't totally feckless, but it is another thing when you get here.

Riseisha (Osaka) - Pitching A-/A-, Batting A-/A-
  • def Kansaidai Dai-ichi 18-1 (5)
  • def Han-ai 7x-0 (7)
  • def Ibaraki 10x-0 (6)
  • def Higashi-Osakadai Kashiwara 11-1 (5)
  • def Osaka Taiikudai Namishou 2-0
  • def Naniwa 8x-1(7)
  • def Sakuranomiya 11x-1 (6)
  • def Konkou Osaka 12-0
With Osaka Touin out of the picture, Riseisha had their way with the prefecture, only letting Osaka Taiikudai Namishou get close. Ace Terashima Naruki (寺島 成輝) completely dominated, with a 13.34 K/9 rate, but also understand that the major competition was just Higashi-Osakadai Kashiwara, Osaka Taiikudai Namishou, and Konkou Osaka. He did not pitch the first game, but in the other 2, struck out 25 while walking 6. The person who did pitch the Higashi-Osakadai game, #10 Yamaguchi Yuujirou (山口 裕次郎), struck out 10 while walking none. If you have that in the back of your pocket, that's scary.

Offensively with that run output, it's hard to single out any one person. But as I poked around, 3B Yasuda Hisanori's (安田 尚憲) name came up repeatedly. The numbers aren't consistently there, so I guess we'll have to see him live. As for the rest of the lineup, the high depth grade goes to the fact that in that 2-0 win, it was up and down the lineup who had collected the few hits for the team. Throw in the fact that they like to take walks and you have one of the scarier teams in the field.

Game 4 - 1st Round
Touhou (Aichi) - Pitching B/B-, Batting C/C+
  • def Atsumi Nougyou 5-0
  • def Tougou 9-0
  • def Jishuukan 8-0 (7)
  • def Kyouei 3x-2
  • def Eitoku 3-0
  • def Aikoudai Meiden 7-2
Touhou's run is a 3-year buildup. Back in 2014, ace Fujishima Kento (藤嶋 健人) led the way, giving the team a win against Nichinan Gakuen before falling to Nihon Bunri. In the spring he also went 1-1 defeating Kanto Dai-ichi before falling to Akashi Shougyou.

He's not an overpowering pitcher, but still gets a strikeout per inning while walking a shade over 2. He won't melt down on the mound, so Touhou will always be in the game. The only other pitcher used is actually their RF, Matsuyama Masahiko (松山 仁彦). He pitched in the Kyouei game striking out 9 and walking 1. Now, Kyouei isn't a top tier team, but it's still a respectable result, especially given the fact he was still pitching while the team trailed.

Offensively, there wasn't really any one person who stood out, and in their final 2 games the team batted a tick under 0.250. That's a bit of a red flag and continues to show that if something fails for Touhou, it won't be their pitching.

Hokuriku (Fukui) - Pitching D+/D, Batting C-/C-
  • def Takefu 4-2
  • def Sabae 6-4
  • def Keishin 5-4
  • def Sakai 5-1
  • def Fukui Shougyou 6-5
Hokuriku won Fukui having only really need to play Fukui Shougyou. Yet, they were involved in several close games on their way to meeting Fukushou.

Ace Mizuno Hayato (水野 隼斗) was certainly more of a game manager for Hokuriku. His K rate and BB rates were actually the same at 3.94, which obviously isn't a good sign. And against Fukui Shougyou he struck out just 2 while walking 7.

Offensively, SS Nakagawa Taiji (中川 大治) and CF Naitou Shouta (内藤 翔太) are 2 of the better hitters on the team it seems - but the bottom of the lineup is once again a big question mark. Taking into account the level of competition, you really have to question how effective their offense will be here at Koushien.

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