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6 comments on “Hanshin Tigers like catching prospect Masahiro Nakatani

  1. Eric Lord

    I’d really rather see Hanshin grooming Keisuke Kanoh into a Johjima-style slugging catcher than trying to convert him to an outfielder like they seem to be doing. KK has a lot of boom juice in that bat of his, and that’s rare enough in a catcher that I think it warrents development. He’d make a great understudy and protege for Johjima, they’re very similar players.

    1. Gen Post author

      Here’s my guess: the Tigers locked up Jojima for four years. KK turns 28 this month. I don’t know if the Tigers expect Jojima to catch throughout the entire four years of the contract, but at the end of the contract, he’ll be 37. Even if Jojima is only good to catch for another year or two, that means KK will be about 30 when he gets his first real shot.

      The question becomes, which would you rather have as a starting catcher: KK at about 30? Or a younger prospect like Nakatani in his early 20s?

  2. Tim

    Yes, I agree that the Tigers had better to try raising Kannoh up. He’s not that young but definitely not too old to be a near future starting catcher. Even if the Tigers wanna bring Nakatani to Koshien, they still need someone else to be back up catcher. No one can guarantee a high school catcher would be so successful in just 2 years…

    1. Gen Post author

      Akihiro was originally supposed to be the back-up, but that went out the window when he got hurt. Plus he’s old so he was never really a reliable option. Kano would be the best option, but if you want to make use of his bat on a more regular basis, then moving him to another position where he can play everyday makes more sense.

      The Tigers have a crowded outfield too though, so it isn’t like he’s getting much of a shot there either.

      In the end, it could make more sense just to continue groom him as a catcher. As Jojima gets older, he’ll need someone to spell him more frequently and Kano could fill that role. I was going to say the Tigers could also use Kano off the bench, but if they only carry two catchers, then they probably wouldn’t want to do that, unless they have another position player that can catch in emergency situations.

  3. Christopher

    Tigers are currently carrying three catchers and cutting the bullpen. Given how infrequently the catchers are used as pinch hitters they could profitably reduce this to two and beef up their bullpen which is too small by at least one. Kanoh is the obvious second catcher – he has proven match ability and quality and should be being used to give Johjima back up and take some of the strain off the lead catcher. None of the other candidates Mayumi has tried have come up to standard by a long way and it is a bit farcical to keep Komiyama as second catcher and send the better catcher down to ni-gun. In answer to your question I would rather have KK at 30 than the younger catcher – more experience.

    1. Gen Post author

      They were carrying three, but as of Monday, it’s just Jojima and Komiyama (since they dropped Kano on the 23rd). The Tigers carried those three between 8/10 and 8/23. Prior to that, it was Jojima, Shimizu, and Kano.

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