Thursday, November 12, 2020

Tokyo Big 6: The I-Lost-To-Todai Club, ten years later

I've been a giant fan of Japanese college baseball since 2007, and when I was living in Japan I pretty much spent every weekend at the Tokyo Big 6 games, sitting in the front row taking photos with some friends, going outside and chatting up players after the games, getting photos with them and getting the photos I took of them autographed, and also bringing snacks for the players and jokingly offering to be everyone's English teacher.  This resulted in things like several years in a row, I had actually been out drinking with guys who got drafted, and other shenanigans.

Somewhere along the line I became somewhat obsessed with actually being there in person for a Tokyo University win again.  (I was there when they won a game in 2008, and I was there for a few ties.)  So I started prioritizing those games, and somehow my allegiance shifted from being well-known as a Hosei/Keio fangirl to a Todai fangirl.  It means I am not buddy-buddy with guys in the pros so much anymore, but the Todai guys are always the nicest, smartest, and most interesting ones anyway. Plus, since I've been working for Google for over seven years now, and we have a LOT of Todai grads, it has also been a running joke with a lot of my coworkers in the Tokyo office.

So a decade ago I wrote a post on here called The I-Lost-To-Todai Club pointing out that, since Todai basically can go whole years without winning a game, when they DO actually win, it's a big deal (the slogan on the Fall 2016 posters literally said "We make the news just by winning one game") -- but the pitchers who lose to them aren't generally crappy pitchers -- they're the ones who often end up going into the pros.

Now, part of this is just the luck of the draw, but part of it is also the fact the guys who go pro are usually the ace pitchers who are just pitching more games anyway, so that makes it more likely for them to be up there when Todai happens to have a really good day (and they have a really bad day).  My post a decade ago looked at 2000-2010, so I'm going to take a second here and look at 2010-2020 since it's been a decade.  Here are the games Todai won in the past decade since:
            Win  Loss  Tie   Opponent   WP                 LP
2010 Autumn  1    10    0    Waseda     Shota Suzuki       Yuki Saitoh  
2011 Spring  0    10    1
2011 Autumn  0    10    0
2012 Spring  0    10    0
2012 Autumn  0    10    1
2013 Spring  0    10    0
2013 Autumn  0    10    0
2014 Spring  0    10    0
2014 Autumn  0    10    0
2015 Spring  1    10    0    Hosei      Akihiro Shibata    Shuya Kanno
2015 Autumn  1    10    0    Hosei      Kohei Miyadai      Takuya Kumagai
2016 Spring  3    10    0    Meiji      Akihiro Shibata    Hiromasa Saitoh
                             Rikkio     Kohei Miyadai      Keisuke Sawada
                             Hosei      Kohei Miyadai      Shoichi Tamakuma
2016 Autumn  1    10    0    Rikkio     Kohei Miyadai      Seiya Tanaka
2017 Spring  0    10    0
2017 Autumn  3     8    0    Keio       Kohei Miyadai      Yuki Takahashi
                             Hosei      Kohei Miyadai      Shuya Kanno
                             Hosei      Naoki Miyamoto     Yuya Hasegawa
2018 Spring  0    10    0
2018 Autumn  0    10    1
2019 Spring  0    10    0
2019 Autumn  0    10    0
2020 Spring  0     5    0
2020 Autumn  0     9    1

Total:       10  202    4
That is a slightly less impressive list of losers than the other one was, but not by much. Yuki Saitoh is now on the Fighters, Hiromasa Saitoh is now on the Lions, Keisuke Sawada is now on the Buffaloes.

And that 2010 game? Yuki Saitoh pitched 6 innings and lost and the closer after him was Tatsuya Ohishi who also went pro with the Lions.  The Meiji game in 2016, the starter was Tomoya Hoshi who now plays for the Yakult Swallows.  The Rikkio game in the fall of 2016, the starter was Ichiro Tamura who now plays for the Seibu Lions.

Another funny piece of trivia about the pitchers credited with the wins for Todai: Shota Suzuki was one of the rare Todai players to go on and play in the industrial leagues after graduation, playing for JR East, and now Akihiro Shibata, who won a handful of the 2015-2016 games, also plays for JR East.  (They didn't overlap; Suzuki was on the team for three years 2014-2016 and Shibata joined the team in 2018.)  

Naoki Miyamoto, who was credited with the win in the awesome Oct 8th 2017 game which got Todai their first season win point since 2002, quit baseball and went on to work for one of Japan's largest insurance firms.  

And Kohei Miyadai went on to be the 7th pro baseball player in history to come out of Tokyo University, and he's still playing for the Fighters, and he's currently my favorite Fighters player and definitely one of my all-time favorite Todai players.

Now, you might be wondering: what does this have to do with the draft?  Well, a few weeks ago I was watching the Keio-Todai game featuring Iizawa vs Kizawa -- the Kizawa that just got drafted in the first round by the Yakult Swallows.  And booooooy did he look like crap out there.  I mean, he still pitched 6 shutout innings, but that was mostly Todai shooting themselves in the foot.  At one point I'm pretty sure he'd thrown more balls than strikes.  And unfortunately this was the only game I saw him pitch this semester, so when Kozo asked me what I knew about Kizawa, I was like ... I think he's a fairly consistently good pitcher but he couldn't seem to throw a strike against Todai a few weeks ago!

And since he didn't actually lose a game to Todai, he doesn't actually get to join this club.

Also, last time I got to say that they won 15 games in the 2000-2010 decade.  This time they won only 10 in the following decade (9 if you don't count that I split up the 2010 season between posts).

You really have to understand the context under which Miyadai can be considered one of the greatest in his team's history with a 6-13, 4.26 ERA record.  Takahiro Matsuka (Baystars/Fighters) was 3-17 with a 4.64 ERA, and Ryohei Endoh, who is also one of my favorite people (and current assistant GM for the Fighters), was 8-32 with a 3.63 ERA during his time at Todai.  That 8 wins put him in a tie for 5th-most wins by a pitcher in Todai history.  Itaru Kobayashi managed to get drafted by the Chiba Lotte Marines and the team had a 70-game losing streak while he was playing for them, so he never even got a win.

Anyway, I guess it's been an interesting decade.  Who knows if I'll revisit this in 2030?

Monday, October 26, 2020

Draft 2020 blog post

Yup, literally a year has gone by since I posted in this. This has been such a frustrating year that it shouldn't surprise any of you that I almost overslept the draft, too.

I ordered draft magazines that showed up last week, though, and it's hard to let old habits die, since this is my 15TH YEAR IN A ROW TRANSLATING THE DRAFT so I can't imagine NOT doing it. I'll add to this post as it goes. 

I'll be following along live on Sports Bull assuming it continues to work, and my goto for the text version of what's up pretty much forever has been Nikkan Sports.  And whoa, is this a change from the normal stuff.  Just a bunch of conference rooms with a bunch of masked men in there looking way more somber than they usually do for this event.

Status: DONE.  I don't think I intend to touch this table again unless something needs to be fixed. The first round commentary and some other notes are below.
Name                   Pos  HS/Univ/Company         T/B   DOB          Ht/Wt  
--------------------   ---  ---------------         ---   ----------   -------
x Teruaki Satoh
1 Shunpeita Yamashita   P   Fukuoka Univ Ohhori HS  R/R   07/16/2002   189/93
2 Kendai Gen            OF  Chukyo HS               R/R   05/17/2002   186/85
3 Ryoto Kita            OF  Akashi Shogyo HS        R/L   10/16/2002   178/78
4 Hayate Nakagawa       P   Rikkyo Univ             R/L   10/10/1998   184/80
5 Takuma Nakagawa       C   Toyohashi Chuo HS       R/R   07/17/2002   177/86
6 Shota Abe             P   Nihon Seimei            R/L   11/03/1992   178/78

i1 Kento Kawase         P   Oita Shogyo HS          R/R   06/18/2002   183/85
i2 Takara Tsujigaki     P   Shoin Gakuen Fukushima  L/L   06/10/2002   182/83
i3 Yuki Udagawa         P   Sendai Univ             R/R   11/10/1998   184/94
i4 Jui Tsuri            C   Kyoto Kokusai HS        R/R   06/30/2002   181/87
i5 Yukikazu Sano        OF  Sendai Univ             R/L   09/02/1998   174/80
i6 Taku Kochoh          IF  Fukushima Red Hopes     R/R   08/05/1994   164/67

x Takahisa Hayakawa
x Shota Suzuki
1 Naofumi Kizawa        P   Keio Univ               R/R   04/25/1998   183/85
2 Taichi Yamano         P   Tohoku Fukushi Univ     L/L   03/24/1999   172/77
3 Soma Uchiyama         C   Seiryo HS               R/R   06/30/2002   172/72
4 Hiyu Motoyama         IF  Tohoku Fukushi Univ     R/L   12/04/1998   180/76
5 Hidetaka Namiki       OF  Dokkyo Univ             R/R   03/23/1999   170/70
6 Sota Katekaru         P   Japan Aviation Ishikawa R/R   12/16/2002   191/106

i1 Shinnosuke Shimo     P   Takasaki Kenko Fukushi  L/L   06/18/2002   183/87
i2 Yoshihiro Akahane    IF  Shinano Grandserows     R/R   06/29/2000   178/78
i3 Sho Matsui           C   Shinano Grandserows     R/L   05/29/1995   176/78
i4 Shota Maruyama       P   Nishinihon Kogyo Univ   R/L   08/22/1998   192/80

1 Hiromi Itoh           P   Komazawa Univ Tomakomai R/L   08/31/1997   176/80 
2 Ryota Isobata         OF  Chuo Univ               R/L   11/27/1998   172/67
3 Yudai Furukawa        C   Jobu Univ               R/L   06/19/1998   182/86
4 Ryohei Hosokawa       IF  Chiben Wakayama HS      R/L   04/25/2002   174/75
5 Haruka Nemoto         P   Tomakomai Chuo HS       L/L   03/31/2003   173/78
6 Yuma Imagawa          OF  JFE East                R/R   01/25/1997   176/84

i1 Ryodai Matsumoto     P   Hanamaki Higashi HS     R/R   05/17/2002   187/96
i2 Shinji Saitoh        P   Tokyo Joho Univ         R/R   06/13/1998   181/83

1 Ryoji Kuribayashi     P   Toyota                  R/R   07/09/1996   177/80
2 Daisuke Moriura       P   Tenri Univ              L/L   06/15/1998   175/70
3 Haruki Ohmichi        P   Hachinohe Gakuin Univ   R/R   01/20/1999   178/78
4 Tatsuto Kobayashi     P   Chiben Wakayama HS      R/R   01/16/2003   182/79
5 Shun Namiki           P   Tokushima Indigo Socks  R/R   01/08/2000   183/75
6 Masaya Yano           IF  Asia Univ               R/L   12/16/1998   173/71

i1 Shoichi Futamata     C   Iwata Higashi HS        R/R   10/21/2002   180/76

1 Takahisa Hayakawa     P   Waseda Univ             L/L   07/06/1998   179/72
2 Koichi Takata         P   Hosei Univ              R/R   06/03/1998   183/88
3 Masaru Fujii          P   ENEOS                   L/L   10/03/1996   175/78
4 Takuma Uchima         P   Asia Univ               R/R   11/21/1998   179/84
5 Daiki Irie            IF  Sendai Ikuei HS         R/R   06/06/2002   185/82
6 Seiryu Uchi           P   Riseisha HS             R/L   04/24/2002   190/88

i1 Shun Ishida          P   Tochigi Golden Braves   R/R   05/27/1997   180/74

1 Taisei Irie           P   Meiji Univ              R/R   08/26/1998   187/84
2 Shugo Maki            IF  Chuo Univ               R/R   04/21/1998   178/81
3 Ryunosuke Matsumoto   P   Yokohama HS             L/L   07/31/2002   186/76
4 Daichi Kobukata       IF  Riseisha HS             R/L   03/25/2003   176/87
5 Sota Ikeya            P   Yamaha                  L/L   08/02/1999   174/76
6 Takuto Takada         P   Shizuoka Shogyo HS      L/L   09/18/2002   177/74

i1 Tatsuya Ishikawa     P   Hosei Univ              L/R   04/15/1998   178/73
i2 Dai Katoh            P   Yokohama Hayato HS      R/R   04/24/2002   177/81

x Takahisa Hayakawa
1 Kento Watanabe        IF  Toin Yokohama Univ      R/R   12/26/1998   176/113
2 Takeru Sasaki         P   NTT East                L/L   05/13/1996   179/85
3 Takayoshi Yamamura    IF  Tokaidai Sagami HS      R/L   09/28/2002   180/85
4 Gakuto Wakabayashi    OF  Komazawa Univ           R/R   04/13/1998   177/75
5 Ren Ohmagari          P   Fukuoka Univ            R/R   05/21/1998   179/78
6 Brandon Taiga Tysinger IF Nodai Okhotsk Univ      R/R   06/14/1998   178/84
7 Yuta Nakamigawa       OF  Osaka Toin HS           R/L   10/22/2002   180/94

i1 Yuto Akagami         P   Tohoku Koeki Univ       R/R   02/10/1999   177/80
i2 Shinya Hasegawa      OF  Tsuruga Kehi HS         R/R   05/17/2002   183/80
i3 Joseph Ken Miyamoto  OF  Nagoya Gakuin Univ      R/R   03/21/1999   175/86
i4 Taishi Mameda        P   Urawa Jitsugyo Gakuen   R/R   01/15/2003   173/80
i5 Yoshinobu Mizukami   P   Shikoku Gakuin Univ     R/R   07/13/1998   176/81

1 Teruaki Satoh         IF  Kinki Univ              R/L   03/13/1999   186/92
2 Masashi Itoh          P   JR East                 L/L   05/08/1996   178/85
3 Ren Satoh             P   Jobu Univ               R/R   04/11/1998   188/102
4 Yuki Sakaeda          C   Ritsumeikan Univ        R/R   05/16/1998   179/79
5 Shoki Murakami        P   Toyo Univ               R/L   06/25/1998   174/75
6 Takumu Nakano         IF  Mitsubishi Okazaki      R/L   06/28/1996   172/67
7 Nozomu Takatera       IF  Ueda Nishi HS           R/L   10/17/2002   178/68
8 Daichi Ishii          P   Kochi Fighting Dogs     R/R   07/29/1997   175/81

i1 Masaki Iwata         P   Kyushu Sangyo Univ      L/L   06/16/1998   178/83

x Takahisa Hayakawa
1 Shota Suzuki          P   Hosei Univ              L/L   09/07/1998   175/81
2 Shunsuke Nakamori     P   Akashi Shogyo HS        R/L   05/29/2002   181/79
3 Ryusei Ogawa          P   Kokugakuin Univ         R/L   04/05/1998   172/82
4 Tokito Kawamura       P   Seisa Dohto Univ        R/R   06/18/1997   192/85
5 Ryosuke Nishikawa     OF  Tokaidai Sagami HS      R/R   04/19/2002   186/92

i1 Yuito Tanigawa       C   Risshodai Shonan HS     R/R   05/27/2002   178/72
i2 Kenta Onuma          P   Ibaraki Astro Planets   R/R   06/11/1998   189/86
i3 Daito Yamamoto       OF  Kaisei HS               R/R   08/09/2002   180/90
i4 Shoma Satoh          P   Senshu Univ             L/L   06/02/1998   177/78

1 Hiroto Takahashi      P   Chukyodai Chukyo HS     R/R   08/09/2002   183/84
2 Hiroto Mori           P   Nittai Univ             R/R   05/25/1998   177/80
3 Ryuku Tsuchida        IF  Ohmi HS                 R/L   12/30/2002   180/77
4 Shota Fukushima       P   Kurashiki Kogyo HS      L/L   10/24/2002   177/88
5 Tsubasa Katoh         P   Teikyodai Kani HS       R/R   12/14/2002   179/76
6 Hironori Miyoshi      OF  JFE West                L/L   09/28/1997   180/82

i1 Ren Kondoh           P   Sapporo Gakuin Univ     L/L   09/22/1998   180/87
i2 Kotaro Ueda          P   Kyoei HS                L/L   09/06/2002   184/95
i3 Yuta Matsukihira     P   Seika HS                R/R   02/24/2003   178/70

x Teruaki Satoh
1 Tomoya Inoue          IF  Hanasaki Tokuharu HS    R/R   01/28/2003   181/88
2 Yoshiyasu Sasagawa    OF  Yokohama Shogyo HS      L/L   05/31/2002   193/86
3 Kota Makihara         C   Nichidai Fujisawa HS    R/L   07/13/2002   176/82
4 Junpei Kawarada       IF  Aomori Yamada HS        R/R   05/21/2002   170/72
5 Sota Tanoue           P   Riseisha HS             R/L   11/26/2002   185/83

i1 Hiroki Satoh         P   Keio Univ               L/L   02/18/1999   180/80
i2 Yuya Nakamichi       P   Hachinohe Gakuin Univ   L/L   09/04/1998   182/75
i3 Shuji Kuwahara       P   Kamimura Gakuen HS      R/R   05/29/2002   175/80
i4 Shinnosuke Haya      OF  Kyoto Kokusai HS        L/L   09/11/2002   178/78
i5 Riku Ogata           IF  Komazawa Univ           R/L   09/22/1998   175/70
i6 Shoma Itani          C   Meiho HS                R/R   12/30/2002   177/77
i7 Shinno Ohshiro       P   Ginoza HS               L/L   11/24/2002   170/67
i8 Ryota Nakamura       P   Nodai Okhotsk Univ      R/R   05/18/1998   185/76

x Teruaki Satoh
1 Ryuta Heinai          P   Asia Univ               R/R   09/07/1998   186/90 
2 Iori Yamasaki         P   Tokai Uinv              R/L   10/10/1998   181/72
3 Raito Nakayama        IF  Chukyodai Chukyo HS     R/L   04/12/2002   181/81
4 Yusuke Itoh           P   Mitsubishi Power        R/R   01/14/1997   178/83
5 Yuto Akihiro          IF  Nishogakusha HS         R/L   09/17/2002   200/95
6 Itsuki Yamamoto       P   Chukyo Univ             L/L   06/28/1998   181/87
7 Tetsu Hagiwara        C   Soka Univ               R/L   05/18/1998   174/82

i1 Hiroto Okamoto       IF  Yonago Higashi HS       R/R   09/12/2002   190/92
i2 Ryusuke Kita         C   Kyoto Adv. Sci. Univ    R/R   08/25/1998   180/83
i3 Naoki Kasashima      P   Tsuruga Kehi HS         R/R   12/07/2002   178/78
i4 Motoya Kinoshita     P   Yokohama HS             R/R   05/01/2002   185/88
i5 Kenki Maeda          C   Komazawa Univ           R/L   12/13/1998   180/85
i6 Hayato Sakamoto      C   Karatsu Shogyo HS       R/R   04/15/2002   177/83
i7 Natsuki Toda         P   Tokushima Indigo Socks  R/R   07/22/2000   172/70
i8 Kenyu Abe            P   Sapporo Ohtani HS       L/L   05/17/2002   200/98
i9 Riku Naraki          P   Tsukuba Univ            R/R   04/16/1998   182/90
i10 Yusuke Yamasaki     P   Fukuyama Univ           R/R   05/02/1998   178/80
i11 Koichi Hoshina      OF  Soka Univ               L/L   06/03/1998   187/92
i12 Ren Katoh           IF  Tokai Univ Marine Sci.  R/L   01/12/1999   181/80

Here's what happened in the first round and lotteries (moved from above)

Orix: Teruaki Satoh (Kinki Univ IF)
Yakult: Takahisa Hayakawa (Waseda RHP)
Fighters: Hiromi Itoh (Komadai Tomakomai RHP)
Carp: Ryoji Kuribayashi (Toyota RHP)
Eagles: Hayakawa
Baystars: Taisei Irie (Meiji RHP)
Seibu: Hayakawa
Hanshin: Satoh 
Chiba Lotte: Hayakawa
Dragons: Hiroto Takahashi (Chukyodai HS RHP)
Hawks: Satoh
Giants: Satoh

First lottery is for Satoh, and Hanshin wins.
Second lottery is for Hayakawa, and Rakuten wins.

Consolation picks (for the Hayakawa and Satoh lottery losers):
Orix: Shunpeita Yamashita (Fukuoka Ohhori HS P)
Yakult: Shota Suzuki (Hosei Univ P)
Seibu: Kento Watanabe (Toin Yokohama Univ IF)
Lotte: Suzuki
Hawks: Tomoya Inoue (Hanasaki Tokuharu HS OF)
Giants: Ryuta Heinai (Asia Univ P)

And the Suzuki lottery goes to... Chiba Lotte!

Yakult gets to make a 1st-round pick that nobody can challenge and they take... Naofumi Kizawa from Keio!  That's exciting, I've seen him pitch quite a bit recently.

So the actual first round is:
Buffaloes: Shunpeita Yamashita (Fukuokadai Ohhori HS RHP)
Yakult: Naofumi Kizawa (Keio RHP)
Fighters: Hiromi Itoh (Komadai Tomakomai RHP)
Carp: Ryoji Kuribayashi (Toyota RHP)
Eagles: Takahisa Hayakawa (Waseda RHP)
Baystars: Taisei Irie (Meiji RHP)
Lions: Kento Watanabe (Toin Yokohama Univ IF) <-- looks like another Okawari-kun
Tigers: Teruaki Satoh (Kinki Univ IF) 
Marines: Shota Suzuki (Hosei Univ LHP)
Dragons: Hiroto Takahayashi (Chukyodai HS RHP)
Hawks: Tomoya Inoue (Hanasaki Tokuharu HS OF)
Giants: Ryuta Heinai (Asia Univ P)


Some more comments:

1) This is the first year EVER that every single team took players in the Ikusei draft.  The Fighters in general did not do ikusei contracts at ALL until the 2019 season; you can see our draft record and that our first ever ikusei draftee was Kazuyoshi Ebihara in the fall 2018 draft.  But in 2019 the Swallows and Baystars didn't take any ikusei players and in 2018 the Dragons didn't.

2) It's really interesting that without a standard Koshien and set of high school hype events, there wasn't a huge fight for some high school kid in the first round for a change.  Chunichi named one but that was the only original first-rounder (but there were three after the post-lotteries dust settled)

3) I had no idea the Ibaraki Astro Planets even existed.  It sounds like they joined the BCL in 2019 for their first season.  (I haven't made it to a BCL game in person in a few years, it just rarely works out these days.  I do look at the schedule every year and which former pro players are where)

4) Yes, the romanization of タイシンガー・ブランドン大河 is "Brandon Taiga Tysinger".  His father's American, he was born in Okinawa, and his Twitter confirms the name.

5) Lions ikusei #3, Joseph Ken Miyamoto, his father is from Ghana (scout comments say he inherited his father's bright personality).

6) The NPB abolished the "Tazawa Rule" this year but everyone declined to draft Junichi Tazawa anyway.  I don't think this is that crazy -- first, he's 34 years old and would easily be the oldest person ever drafted.  I read an article this morning where a scout literally said "Drafting him seems contrary to the purpose of the draft, and we wouldn't want to use a slot on him.  He has an agent, he can figure out what to do next."  But, I dunno, I had a friend who was really expecting him to get taken.  I'm unclear on what this actually means, whether he can still join an NPB team if one wanted him, signed outside the draft, since nobody drafted him when he went into the draft?  The NPB outlawed outside-draft signings in 1990 (the last person to do it was Joe Furukawa, since his family moved to CA when he was six, and he played college ball at Berkeley and UC Irvine and they made an exception for him in 1992.  You might recognize his name as first Marty Brown's interpreter in Japan and then Yu Darvish's interpreter in the US) and these days returnees just go into the draft like Shuhei Fujiya did a few years ago.  So, I think he's still not allowed, but I honestly don't know if there's a loophole.

I'm actually making a separate post about my next point since it started getting long.  Whoa, two posts in a year.  Am I allowed?