In this series, we look back on our draft picks from the past six seasons and see how they are faring now. Were the guys all the cracked up to be? Overachievers? Underachievers? Non-achievers? Click here for: 2012 / 2013 / 2014 / 2015 / 2016
Round 1: Hayata Itoh (OF) – Keio University
Not what he was cracked up to be. He started with a bang as a rookie, but has fizzled since. At long last in his sixth season (2017) he found his niche as a lefty pinch hitter. With his atrocious defense, he will probably never find his way to the outfield in meaningful games ever again.
Round 2: Hiroaki Saiuchi (P) – Seiko Gakuin High School
Had a decent 2015, but has played on the top squad very little since. Spent much of 2017 injured and has reportedly been given development player status for 2018. Still a young 24, the righty has time to bounce back and make a career for himself, but his regression two straight seasons is alarming.
Round 3: Naoto Nishida (IF) – Osaka Toin High School
Dropped down to development player status in 2017 but broke out of it quickly. Still, needs more versatility, consistency, power to ever break the top squad roster. Still young, though.
Round 4: Kazuo Itoh (P) – Tokyo Kokusai University
Has shown flashes of promise but has been unable to stay up on the top squad more than a couple of weeks at a time. Could 2018 be the year? Time’s running out…
Round 5: Ryoma Matsuda (P) – Hasami High School
Hailed as the team’s closer of the future, but has never fully met those expectations. Spent long chunks of the 2014 and 2015 seasons injured. He is perhaps the most frequent traveler between top and second squads in the past few seasons.
Development R1: Seiya Hirokami (C) – Gunma Diamond Pegasus
Who? He spent a year as a Tiger but never played in a single game – top or farm squad. He retired in 2014 after rejoining the Pegasus.
POOR. Not a single regular player in the bunch. Time is running out on almost all of them, and I would be surprised to see more than 2 of these guys playing with the team beyond 2020.