A pitcher from an independent league who played full-time for the first time last year is being discussed as a closer for the Japanese national team. The protagonist is Atsuki Yuasa (24), a right-handed pitcher for the Hanshin Tigers.
Yuasa, who was not nominated for a professional team, went to an independent league after graduating from high school in 2018. He pitched a year as a member of the Toyama Thunderbirds of the BC League. The following year, Hanshin nominated him and became a professional player. It was his first NPB (Japan Baseball Organization) contract as a Toyama registered player.
In 2021, Yuasa, who appeared in three games, showed his presence as a key pitcher in the bullpen last year. He went 2-3 with 43 holds and an earned run average of 1.09 in 59 games. He pitched 58 innings, giving up 12 walks and striking out 67. In his first full-time year, he was ranked No. 1 in the Central League hold. He was the first player from an independent league to win an official title.
On the 23rd, Japan national team coach Hideki Kuriyama (61) visited the office of the Hanshin club near Nishinomiya Koshien Stadium in Hyogo Prefecture. I met Hanshin coach Akinobu Okada (66) and asked for his cooperation. According to Japanese media, we talked for about 30 minutes about the Hanshin players who are scheduled to be called up to the World Baseball Classic (WBC) national team. As a Hanshin player, Yuasa and my son Takumu Nakano (27) will join the national team.
Yuasa’s main weapon is similar to that of other top-level Japanese pitchers. His fast ball that shoots in the late 150km/h range and his forkball with a large drop are powerful. Coach Kuriyama said, “I needed a pitcher who could throw a ball (forkball) that would cause the batter to swing wrong.” This is the reason why Yuasa is selected for the national team and he is thinking about finishing it.
Coach Kuriyama said that Yuasa’s pitch would be successful in international competitions. He added, “I felt throughout last season that he had struggled and come up hard.” 토토사이트
In this Japanese national team, Yuasa, Ryoji Kuribayashi (27, Hiroshima Carp), and Yuki Matsui (28, Rakuten Eagles) are candidates for the closer. Last year, Kuribayashi recorded 2 losses, 6 holds, 31 saves – 1.49 ERA, and Matsui recorded 1 win, 3 losses, 7 holds, 32 saves – 1.92.
Yuasa took the mound in the bottom of the 7th inning of the national team evaluation match against the Yomiuri Giants on November 6 last year. He came to the mound with a score of 2–4 and pitched one scoreless inning. The three batters were treated with 10 balls, and the team succeeded in reversing and even took the victory.
If the national team finishes in the second year of full-time, I think there will be many stories.