Introducing Your 2013 Chiba Lotte Draft Picks

marines-rookies2 Look at those finely attired gentlemen on the left – that, ladies and gentlemen, is your 2013 Chiba Lotte Marines draft class. 6 men were chosen with regular draft picks (that is, players to be added to the 70 man roster) and one Ikusei player (a player in training).

It’s the most players that Our Marines have taken since 2010. Our top two picks are expected to play right away – so let’s meet all 7 guys.

 

1 Ayumu Ishikawa #12
Pitcher From: Tokyo Gas Born: 1988/4/11
Height/Weight: 186cm/75Kg Throws/Bats: Right/Right

Our Marines took industrial league pitcher Ayumu Ishikawa with their first round pick, actually winning a lottery with Yomiuri for the right to sign the righty. You can see some video of Ishikawa pitching last year vs Yomiuri.

Ishikawa’s from Toyama (same as Nishino – actually a few years older) and seems to be a bit of a late bloomer. He’s listed as having a 150 km/h (93 mph) top speed, which is pretty decent given his fairly slight frame. The Draft Repo blog lists him as having 4 pitches – a sinker, slider, curve, and a cut fastball. Itoh-kantoku is planning on using him as a starter in 2014.

He’s pitched for Tokyo Gas for the past 3 years and turns 26 in April. Interestingly, his three best starts for Tokyo Gas came after he was drafted – recording 9, 11, and 10 Ks in three starts to end his “amateur” career.

 

2 Yuta Yoshida #24
Catcher From: Rissho University Born: 1991/7/21
Height/Weight: 183cm/94Kg Throws/Bats: Right/Right

Yoshida – could he be our catcher of the future? You can believe that Lotte management would like that very much. He’s a local kid (grew up just up the road in Kamagaya), highly regarded (listed as a borderline 1st rounder in draft predictions), and is a handsome dude already the subject of a marketing push. The team made him the face of the New Year’s sale1 and his uniform shirt is the only rookie one on sale so far. Here he is smacking a home run as a member of the Rissho University team last summer.

1There was a drawing for the chance to win a signed ball from Yoshida at the New Year sale for those who bought a “lucky bag”. I was actually the first name called and got to go on stage where Yoshida-kun signed the ball in front of me. Pretty cool.

It looks like he’s a power hitter, too. In university competition, he smacked 17 homers in 283 ABs, which is pretty decent indeed.

 

3 Ryo Miki #37
Infielder From: Jobu University Born: 1991/10/25
Height/Weight: 175cm/78Kg Throws/Bats: Right/Right

Miki’s a shortstop from Osaka and a former classmate of ultra-intriguing Lotte 2013 rookie Katoh Shohei2. Here he is poking a homer and making a nice play in a game last year.

2You think I talk a lot about T OGINO now? I think I have stronger feelings for young Katoh. Expect much ranting and raving about him in 2014.

I wouldn’t expect to see Miki a ton at Ichi-gun this year unless he’s pinch hitting or filling in as an injury replacement, given the rather loaded nature of the infield this year.

 

4 Shohei Yoshihara #40
Pitcher From: Nippon Seimei Born: 1989/9/14
Height/Weight: 174cm/75Kg Throws/Bats: Right/Right

I’d love to say I know a bunch about Yoshihara, but I’d be lying if I did. He’s another righty pitcher arriving via the industrial leagues (Nippon Seimei) and the Tokyo University of Agriculture. Draft Repo says he has 4 pitches (max 151 km/h) – slider, fork, change, curve. Here he is in action.

 

5 Seiya Inoue #44
Infielder From: Nippon Seimei Born: 1989/7/3
Height/Weight: 180cm/110Kg Throws/Bats: Right/Right

Here’s a guy you’ll be hearing a lot from in the future, one way or another. Just a few months into his pro career he’s already been all over the news – odd for a 5th round pick who has yet to play in a game. Why? Check out that listed weight – 110kg (232 lbs), which makes him the heaviest player in Japan this year. And he’s packed on more pounds this offseason – he’s reputed to be up to 115kg (245 lbs)! And yeah, he’s obviously a power hitter.

Gotta say I like the heck out of Inoue already. He’s already shown a great personality, always smiling. He’s already got a self-made nickname, too – he’s “Aja Inoue”, after famous women’s pro wrestling champ Aja Kong. “Call me Aja!” he’s insisted.

Of course, I am making an Aja Inoue jersey this offseason. How can I resist?

 

6 Kota Futaki #64
Pitcher From: Kagoshima Joho HS Born: 1995/8/1
Height/Weight: 187cm/74Kg Throws/Bats: Right/Right

Futaki’s a high school pitcher from Kagoshima. He’s reasonably tall but at this point doesn’t seem to have much velocity (max 143 km/h) for his height. He throws 5 pitches – slider, curve, fork, change, sinker.

No video of him in action – I’ll shoot some at spring camp.
 

Ikusei
1 Ryozo Hijii #122
Catcher From: Hyogo Hojo HS Born: 1995/11/13
Height/Weight: 182cm/84Kg Throws/Bats: Right/Left

Hijii’s a catching prospect from rural Hyogo prefecture. We’re obviously not going to see much of him at ichi-gun for several years given his Ikusei status and the big logjam at catcher. He’s a pretty big, strong guy – he hit 46 homers in his high school career and is known for his arm strength (can throw a ball 110m). No video of him, either.

All in all I think the moves made were pretty good – Ishikawa should be contributing immediately and I would be surprised if Yoshida doesn’t get a good shot at a lot of ichi-gun playing time this year (given the dire state of catching last year, he could be the starter should Satozaki go down!).

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