I’m a day behind discussing the best infield tools in Japan, although to be precise these were done the other day. Before the One-year scouting diary page got too big and unwieldy I opted to make it a collection of links to individual posts, and editing issues took up that time.
The informational interviews required for my class (at least the ones in Japan) are going forward. I want to pursue a bunch of them in the U.S.– because I hope to get those people’s attention — and in Japan because if I am a scout here, I need a network of people to help me in my effort to get good information out.
Before I dive off the deep end and start cold calling MLB teams, I wanted to explain how my interview with the Waseda University manager is going. First I talked to him and we set up a time. This was easy because he’s a Facebook friend. Then I had to arrange it with the university. I called the baseball department — not the athletic department but the baseball department — only to be told to go to the university website and fill out an interview request with their PR department. I’m kind of challenged because explaining that this is not for my work as a journalist — in Japanese — is extremely challenging, even when speaking, In writing it is virtually impossible for me. Anyway, that’s done and the baseball department’s manager called me back and told me when and where to show up.
So back to business
Defensive tools: Pacific League shortstops
The three top finishers in the PL’s 2019 Golden Glove voting were:
- Sosuke Genda, Seibu Lions
- Kenta Imamiya, SoftBank Hawks
- Takuya Nakashima, Nippon Ham Fighters
Based on video I saw, all three have
- quick feet
- lateral quickness on ground balls
- soft hands
- raw arm strength
- quick smooth transfers
- can throw from all angles
Imamiya is as good at catching the ball as anyone I’ve seen. He is the Trevor Story of the three, 75 raw arm strength who doesn’t set his feet as often as he might and is not quite as accurate as his rivals.
Imamiya is really, really good at catching the ball. He smothers throws that dare to skip away from him. He is the Trevor Story of the three, 75 raw arm strength who doesn’t set his feet as often as he might and is not quite as accurate as his rivals.
Genda may have 65-70 arm strength, but his release is as quick as anybody’s. He’s also the best at backhanding balls, something virtually no Japanese amateurs are taught. He sets his feet well and is extremely accurate.
Nakashima appears to have the strongest arm of the three, but his ball transfer is just a tick behind the others, and he looks less comfortable backhanding the ball.
All things considered, as much as I love Imamiya scramble for the ball, Genda appears to be the best overall tools package.