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NPB: Training Camp Begins

by on Jan.31, 2008 @ 11:20 am, under NPB

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.

5 comments on “NPB: Training Camp Begins

  1. Gwynar

    One of the things interesting things about Japanese baseball is that many of the younger players are in perpetual training — as soon as the season is over, pitchers are still throwing off the mound and batters are in the cage practicing. And of course there’s also the running.

    Some teams also train at their home stadiums and let fans in for free. The Rakuten Eagles did that this offseason and I had a chance to go, but unfortunately couldn’t make it. Perhaps next offseason.

  2. knucklehead7

    It’s nice to see that Greisinger had a good year last year. He never quite lived up to his first-round pick status.

    The Swallows have some good pitching prospects, no? Is there any chance they’ll be ready this season?

  3. Gwynar

    Actually, there is another rookie that will probably get some press going into the season. Like Sho, he was also drafted out of high school. He’s a righty pitcher (bats from the left side) that stands at about 5 feet 8 inches and weight around 165 pounds. His name is Yoshinori Sato.

    Yoshinori apparently hit 97 on the radar gun during one of the exhibition games against the US last year.

    He was drafted by the Swallows and I have to say, I’m pretty excited about seeing him pitch this year. I’m going to try my best to catch a game he starts.

    The Swallows also signed a Korean pitcher that used to pitch for the Samsung Lions. I think his name is ChangYong Kim (not sure if that’s the right English spelling or not). From what I can tell, he’s a pretty decent reliever.

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