2015 Post-Draft Report

New manager Tomoaki Kanemoto participated in his first draft on October 22. What transpired early on was interesting. The Tigers and Swallows both put in a bid for Shun Takayama, and so they drew ballots to see which club would get negotiating rights. Kanemoto drew first, grabbing one ballot, then putting it down and picking up the other. Swallows manager Manaka took the remaining ballot, opened it and gave a fist pump as though he had won. He misunderstood the ballot though, and it turned out the Tigers won. Kanemoto said it felt like a video review that had gotten reversed and a home run had been rewarded to him. (Interesting words in light of what happened against the Carp back in September.) So, let’s look at each of the picks in order. I know nothing of the players so I will simply translate some of what I can read online about them.

Round 1: Shun Takayama (高山 俊)
Date of Birth: April 18, 1993
Position: Outfield
Height: 181 cm (5’11”)
Weight: 86 kg (190 lb)
Throws/Bats: Right/Left
From: Chiba Prefecture
Drafted out of: Meiji University
About Takayama: He broke the all-time hits record for a college career with 131 (the previous high was 127 and held for 48 years). Not only does he have a quick swing, but is also an aggressive hitter who puts up a good fight at the plate. He’s decent in the field, has a strong arm and runs the 50 meter dash in a speedy 5.8 seconds. When interviewed after being drafted, he said, “Anything can happen at drafts, and I still don’t fully get what just happened (the above-mentioned botched draw), but I’m honored to have been selected in the first round. I hope to have a long and healthy career like my new manager, Mr. Kanemoto. I had three chances to play at Koshien while in high school, and I’m excited at the thought of being able to play there again regularly.”
Video of Takayama hitting here

Round 2: Seishiro Sakamoto (坂本 誠志郎)
Date of Birth: November 10, 1993
Position: Catcher
Height: 176 cm (5’9″)
Weight: 80 kg (176 lb)
Throws/Bats: Right/Right
From: Hyogo Prefecture
Drafted out of: Meiji University
About Sakamoto: He’s got a good arm and can get the ball to second base in under two seconds. He was captain of his university team and made the all-Japan team three times, also playing in several international tournaments. He is said to be able to get the best out of each pitcher he leads. He has also put a lot of work into improving his batting lately. He hits well in the clutch and is also capable of doing the little things to help the team win. 
Video of Sakamoto’s throws to second here

Round 3: Daichi Takeyasu (竹安 大知)
Date of Birth: September 27, 1994
Position: Pitcher
Height: 183 cm (6’0″)
Weight: 70 kg (154 lb)
Throws/Bats: Right/Right
From: Saitama Prefecture
Drafted out of: Kumamoto Golden Larks
About Takeyasu: Throws a maximum 145 km/h (90 mph) fastball. Also possesses a slider, curveball and sinker. Has great flexibility and has been a starting pitcher since his first year. He threw a complete game (2 runs allowed) game in the all-Kyushu tournament.
Video of Takeyasu pitching here

Round 4: Atsushi Mochizuki (望月 惇志)
Date of Birth: August 2, 1997
Position: Pitcher
Height: 187 cm (6’2″)
Weight: 82 kg (180 lb)
Throws/Bats: Right/Right
From: Kanagawa Prefecture
Drafted out of: Yokohama Sogakukan High School
About Mochizuki: He never made it to the all-Japan tournament as a high schooler, but his 148 km/h (92 mph) fastball has plenty of worth. He hopes to become like Kyuji Fujikawa, using his fastball to do battle in any and all situations. Also has a good slider.
Video of Mochizuki pitching here

Round 5: Koyo Aoyagi (青柳 晃洋)
Date of Birth: December 11, 1993
Position: Pitcher
Height: 181 cm (5’11”)
Weight: 73 kg (161 lb)
Throws/Bats: Right/Right
From: Kanagawa Prefecture
Drafted out of: Teikyo University
About Aoyagi: Throws a maximum 143 km/h (89 mph) fastball. Also possesses a slider, sinker, curveball and cutter. Throws sidearm.
Video of Aoyagi pitching here

Round 6: Yutaro Itayama (板山 祐太郎)
Date of Birth: March 27, 1994
Position: Outfield
Height: 178 cm (5’10”)
Weight: 68 kg (150 lb)
Throws/Bats: Right/Left
From: Kanagawa Prefecture
Drafted out of: The Asia University of Japan
About Itayama: Switched from infield (second base) to outfield to get more playing time in his second year. Plays the corner outfield positions very strongly, and was chosen to the “best nine” team twice. His hitting has steadily improved, and he recorded a .364 average (20 hits) in the spring season. 
Video of Itayama hitting here 
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T-Ray is the founder, chief writer and Junior Executive Vice President of Hanshin Tigers English News (H-TEN). Find him on Twitter @thehanshintiger.