Saturday, November 20, 2010

Nishijima Signs?

Well, it's all over the Japanese news sources but the only one I can find in English is the LA Times plus a whole bunch of people copying and pasting from that article.

I'm not really sure what to say, as I knew that Nishijima and a few other Meiji boys were hoping to find ways into playing in the US next year, so I guess I should be happy for him. Except that before this year I was a much bigger Nishijima fan than I was after this year. Long story, really. (Or more like, a lot of long stories from various players and fans, and well, Nishijima himself blew me off the time I tried to talk to him, so.)

So let's call this a Friday Foto, I suppose:

Kazuki Nishijima, in his last weekend as an undergraduate pitcher, Oct 23 2010. He pitched one inning that day, and then 10 innings the next day. And for once people were saying "he did his best" rather than "boy, he's selfish".

Kazuki Nishijima throwing between innings. September 21, 2009.

Anyway, Nishijima's certainly not a bad pitcher, he's just inconsistent at times. He won the ERA title in the Big 6 last fall, but it kind of took a lot of people by surprise. He's a big lefty dude from Yokohama HS who can hit the low 140's on the radar gun, so he certainly has potential.

But part of why I have no good pictures of him from the left side is that I'm usually at Jingu for the Saturday ace games, and Nishijima has never in his 4 years been Meiji's ace, even in his ERA crown semester. His freshman year they had Kume (now with Softbank), his sophomore year they had Iwata (now with Chunichi), and by his junior year, sophomore Yusuke Nomura had taken the ace role. I think that's always kind of pissed him off since he was such a hotshot in high school.

(Actually, this is my favorite photo I've ever taken of Nishijima because he actually looks so excited and happy, which I never really saw out of him much. This was right before Meiji won the Fall 2009 championship.)

Also, for the record, Meiji announced their 2011 Team Leaders, and I guess Kumabe wasn't kidding when he told me "It's Ikuhiro!", because, yes, the next captain is Ikuhiro Takeda, who is a little infielder that barely appears in games. (Of course, the 2010 captain, Yamauchi, was a tiny catcher who ALSO barely appears in games.) Yosuke Kobayashi, Masataka Nakamura, and Yusuke Nomura are the vice-captains. Takayuki Morita is the pitching leader, which is kinda funny, but we'll see what shakes down with Meiji's pitching staff this year anyway.

EDIT> Hey, an actual announcement on posted a few days after I made this post, with some comments from the guy who scouted him, etc.


Julio Nievas said...

Hello Deanna,

As a Dodger fan, what am I expecting from Nishijima? He's 21 and throws 88-89 mph, should I get excited about him? Also, do you have any notes on Kazuya Takano?

Mac said...

You going to the Swallows Fan Day tomorrow by any chance? I need someone to go with! :-)

Deanna said...

When Nishijima is on, he is really good. When he's not on, it's really hard to watch him. His inconsistency is probably the worst thing about him, but some people have thought that it might be a mental thing, since he's never been valued where he thinks he should be, and maybe given the Dodgers contract, he might put out his "A" game every time, rather than just when he feels like it. I really thought there was a chance he'd get drafted this year in the NPB, just based on his size and leftiness. Like, the potential is really there for him to become something pretty great, if a team can coach it out of him. I mean, I've been watching him for years now, and he struck me as being a lefty version of Hosei's Hisashi Takeuchi, just without the 96mph fastball... and Takeuchi got drafted. So.

As for Kazuya Takano, not really, he played high school baseball in freaking Kumamoto, and his school never made it to the national tournament. Hell, I've been to 37 prefectures of Japan, and still haven't made it to Kumamoto, it's just that far away in Kyushu.

Julio Nievas said...

Appreciate the response, Deanna!