Two to Watch in 2016

Two of our most promising prospects took part in the winter league in Taiwan back in early December. They both finished with decent numbers against inferior competition, but hopefully can parlay that into regular playing time on the big team either this year or next.

Shintaro Yokota, OF (20): .304, 2 HR, 11 RBI
Naomasa Yohkawa, 3B (24): .339, 2 HR, 13 RBI

Both will be in Okinawa for spring training, meaning they are practicing with the first squad. This does not guarantee them regular playing time come March or April, but it gives them a leg up on some of the competition. So which guy should we be more excited about?

My opinion: I got to see a longer video of all their hits, but that video (as well as the ones originally pasted in this post) has been removed from YouTube. A lot more of Yokota’s hits looked like sure-fire hits in NPB. He also legged out 3 infield singles, which will play well no matter what level he’s at. He also showed power from the left side of the plate, which, outside of 39-year old Kosuke Fukudome, this team sorely lacks.

On the other hand, while some of Yohkawa’s hits dropped for singles or doubles because of unspectacular fielding by the opponents, he also hit more gappers and his home runs were bigger blasts. From what I have heard, he has problems applying what he has been taught – Kanemoto said he forgets what he was told 5 minutes prior.

On the whole, I would say I am more excited about Yokota (his speed will add another weapon to the Tigers’ attack), but they could form a good 3-4 combination at the heart of the order in a couple of years. What’s your opinion? Share in the comments section!

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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.