|1||Hiroto Takahashi||RHP||Chukyo University HS|
|2||Hiroto Mori||RHP||Nihon Sports Science Uni|
|3||Ryūku Tsuchida||IF||Ōmi HS|
|4||Shōta Fukushima||LHP||Kurashiki Commercial HS|
|5||Tsubasa Katō||RHP||Rikkyo Uni Kani HS|
|6||Hironori Miyoshi||OF||JFE West Japan|
|1||Ren Kondō||LHP||Sapporo Gakuin Uni|
|2||Kōtarō Ueda||LHP||Kyōei HS|
|3||Yūki Matsukihara||RHP||Seika HS|
The Dragons went pitcher heavy as they almost always do. The outfield hasn't been addressed again but perhaps they're happy with their in house options. Yuki Okabayashi appears to be heir apparent in centre-field, while there are a few options that are being tested in right field. The jewels of the take are the two right handers at the top. Takahashi probably has the tallest ceiling while Mori will most likely have the highest floor of this group. Both could make contributions next year. 6/9 players come straight out of high school which is consistent with what the Dragons have done in recent drafts. It will be interesting to see how everyone develops but it looks like another good class. I'll get into each player in more detail later on in my annual report post.
|Player Name||Age||Position||Reason||2020 Wage|
|Daisuke Yamai||42||RHP||Older, hasn't pitched in 1-gun||$440k|
|Kazuki Yoshimi||36||RHP||Older, hasn't pitched well in 1-gun||$860k|
|Luis Gonzalez||28||LHP||Not as good as hoped||$480k|
|Junki Ito||29||RHP||Hasn't progressed||$105k|
|Ryosuke Oguma||30||RHP||Hasn't progressed; getting older||$100k|
|Akito Okura||26||RHP||Deadline to be signed passed||$29k|
|Tomohiro Hamada||28||LHP||Deadline to be signed passed||$53k|
|Sandy Brito||24||RHP||Hasn't progressed||$49k|
|Shota Ono||33||C||Older, hasn't been in 1-gun picture||$960k|
|Atsushi Fujii||39||OF||Older, unlikely to get more opportunities||$400k|
Firstly, the nice way to go, retiring. Whilst Daisuke Yamai has indicated a willingness to keep playing, surely it is time to say goodbye? The value of a veteran presence I think cannot be understated. Yamai has won multiple pennants, pitched a no-hitter, lead the league in wins and pitched the series deciding joint perfect game in the 2007 Japan Series. That all being said, I don't want him taking innings away from young pitchers anymore. The same can be said for Kazuki Yoshimi, who you could probably argue has an even better pedigree. Yoshimi had an okay bounce back year from surgery in 2016, but hasn't been on his game since then. If I had to make a choice, I'd prefer to keep Yoshimi around as he truly was an ace caliber pitcher in his day that could pass on some great technical knowledge to younger players. Yamai's peak in comparison wasn't quite as dominant.
|Fuku-bae come back!|
Lastly, I'd just like to float some ideas for a signing. Not all clubs have done their senryokugai notices obviously, but I'd love to see a homecoming deal for Kosuke Fukudome who has reportedly been put on the chopping block by the Tigers. While the last thing we probably need is a 43 year old outfielder, I'd really like to have his leadership in the clubhouse. Not only that, I'd give him 1-year deal with a pathway to becoming the team's farm manager or hitting coach in 2022. If that's a pathway Fukudome is interested in, I'd gladly bring him in. He was more or less a 5-tool player in his heyday, and I'd love to have that kind of player around to influence the younger guys in this group. This kind of deal would not be unprecedented. Michihiro Ogasawara originally came to the club as a back-up corner infielder and went on to become farm manager. I say, if Fukudome is interested, you bring him in. He'd also add a left-handed veteran that could help with coaching as the organisation currently lacks a left-handed batting coach. The only minor problem might be, given his age and stature, an upset of hierarchy among senior players.