All players will report to camp starting tomorrow. And one of the hottest names in the NPB right now belongs to an 18-year-old infielder that was drafted by the Nippon Ham Fighters during the last Amateur Draft.
His name: Sho Nakata.
He stands at about 5 feet 10 inches and weighs in at around 210 pounds. While Sho was drafted as an infielder, he also pitched quite a bit in high school and has the ability to touch 90 with his fastball. He also holds some records:
- Hiroshima Senior Little League HR record holder (51)
- Hit a tape measure homerun that measured in at 557 ft in 2006 (metal bat)
- Holds the All National High School HR record (87)
His team didn't get far during the All National High School tournaments last year, but he was probably one of the most talked about (and sought after) players involved.
The other big story belongs to the Yomiuri Giants, a team that was VERY active during the offseason. They "stole" two of the Yakult Swallow's top players from 2007 in Alex Ramirez (33 year-old outfielder, 343 / 371 / 569, 29 HR, 122 RBI) and Seth Greisinger (32 year-old pitcher, 16-8, 2.84 ERA). They also managed to pry Marc Kroon (35 year-old reliever, 31 Sv, 2.76 ERA) away from the Yokohama Bay Stars.
Ramirez will join Michihiro Ogasawara (313, 31 HR, 88 RBI), Shinnosuke Abe (.275, 33 HR, 101 RBI), SeungYoup Lee (.274, 30 HR, 74 HR), Takahashi Yoshinobu (.308, 35 HR, 88 RBI), Tomohiro Nioka (.295, 20 HR, 83 RBI) in what figures to be one of the most potent lineups in the NPB.