Tag Archives: Scout Diary

Scout Diary: Jan. 25, 2020

It’s back to scouting Japanese amateurs today. I’ve got no assignments to work on today. I was going to look at college outfielders from the website ( http://www.baseballwebtv.com/ ) but couldn’t play any videos from that.

Jump to 1 year as a scout page´╗┐

Scouting report on Takaya Ishikawa

Instead I thought I’d produce a report on one of the first-round picks from October’s NPB amateur draft, infielder Takaya Ishikawa. Unlike the other high school players I’ve looked at, there wasn’t a ton of video available on youtube, but I like the look of this guy as a hitter. He’s 6’1″, 200 lbs, a third baseman with average speed who is not polished as a fielder but who looks like he was born to hit.

The player he reminds me most of is Hiroshima Carp star Seiya Suzuki — who was also a slugging pitcher-infielder in high school. Suzuki had plus speed however and his fastball off the mound was clocked a little faster than Ishikawa’s.

As the cleanup hitter for Japan at the Under-18 World Cup in November, I figured there might be some video. What I found was even better. The WBSC’s tournament website has every game on video.

Using that, I’m going to comb through every game and have a look at as many players as I can.

Note: It’s vastly harder to make observations of games than it is of highlight videos. Video of games, however, allows you to get do-overs with your stopwatch, but you are at the mercy of camera angles that don’t show the runner crossing the bag at first and so on.

Having been through a number of chats with our experienced instructors, you realize how much there is to see and picking up on those things quickly enough to keep up is an amazing skill I can only marvel at right now.

Anyway, to return to Ishikawa. who will turn 19 in June, here are my notes so far.

Grades

Hitting ability 50 – 60, power 50 – 60, running speed 50 – 50, arm strength 60 – 65, arm accuracy 45 – 55, fielding 50 – 50, range 45 – 50, baseball instinct 60 – 60, aggressiveness 60 – 60. Hits the ball straight away.

Physical description

Tall with a well developed lower body. It looks like his school (Toho HS) doesn’t believe in upper body weight training. A slightly larger version of Seiya Suzuki. A toe tap (like the MLB version of Shohei Ohtani) without any of the typical Japanese high leg kick.

Abilities

Disciplined hitter. He’s looking to drive his pitches. Compact swing, good extension, power to pull and straight-away center. Alert fielder, with sound mechanics and soft hands and quick release.

Weaknesses

Fielding is mechanical, showed some hesitation.

Summation

This is guy knows what he is doing at the plate. He was named as top draft pick by three NPB teams. My main concern is that Chunichi does not have a good track record with developing players strength-training skills. He could definitely build up his frame — as Suzuki has done, but only time will tell.

Takaya Ishikawa

Scout Diary: Jan. 23, 2020

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.

Jump to 1 year as a scout page´╗┐

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

Other considerations

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.

Sosuke Genda