Who is Hisanori Takahashi (高橋尚成)?
Takahashi was born on April 2, 1975 in Sumida Ward, Tokyo. He attended Shutoku Gakuen High School and graduated from Komazawa University in 1997. Takahashi played for Toshiba between 1998 and 1999 and was drafted by the Yomiuri Giants in the first round of the 1999 Amateur Draft. He also hasn't suffered any major shoulder or elbow injuries.
1999 Salary: 135M yen ($1.5M)
What does he throw?
Takahashi throws a fastball, slider, curve, sinker (screwball), shuto, two-seamer, and a fork. His fastball usually sits around the 140 km/h (87 mph) range. Takahashi considers his sinker his out pitch.
What are his career numbers in the NPB?
What about awards, or titles?
Takahashi won the ERA title in 2007. That was also the same year he was selected to the All-Star game, won the Battery Award, and the Best Nine Award (which also happens to double as the Best Pitcher Award).
What kind of pitcher is he? / General thoughts?
Takahashi isn't going to blow anyone away with his fastball. Instead, he lives and dies with his control and keeping balls down in the strike zone. When his pitches start to go up in the zone, or when they get too much of the plate, bad things can happen.
Some other numbers that might be of interest:
When looking at the HR/9, keep in mind that Takahashi pitched most of his home games at Tokyo Dome (where balls tend to fly). That said, he does have a tendency to give up the long ball. Last season, he gave up 8 home runs in 67 innings of work at the Dome (1.07 HR/9) vs. 8 home runs in 77 innings on the road (0.94 HR/9).
Here are his righty/lefty splits since 2005:
|2005 vs R||394||114||14||78||.289|
|2005 vs L||228||57||4||57||.250|
|2006 vs R||163||45||7||33||.276|
|2006 vs L||32||25||3||18||.305|
|2007 vs R||510||128||18||100||44||.251|
|2007 vs L||179||40||3||41||6||.223|
|2008 vs R||372||95||14||79||25||.255|
|2008 vs L||99||32||2||15||5||.323|
|2009 vs R||396||99||13||90||23||.250|
|2009 vs L||160||48||3||36||13||.300|
|5 yr total R||1835||481||66||380||92||.262|
|5 yr total L||748||202||15||167||24||.270|
In the end, I think he'll be a decent back-of-rotation option (he was more or less a middle of the rotation guy in Japan). And starting off with a minor league contract is probably the best way to go for Takahashi -- it means there won't be any high expectations and he'll be able to pitch without too much pressure.
...he once took a foul ball off his face while sitting in the dugout and suffered a fractured cheekbone (4/5/2006).
...he once recorded 4 sac hits in one game during the Koshien.
...is known to show his butt when he gets drunk. Party-goers, beware! When the Giants won the championships in 2000, he laid down on the floor and bore his butt. He showed off his butt again when the Giants won the pennant in 2002 and got chewed out by wife for doing so. Since then, he hasn't really shown his butt much in public, but who knows what might happen if he gets to the World Series in the Majors.
...was the opening day pitcher in 2008.
...has four championship rings.