The aces representing Japanese professional baseball include Yoshinobu Yamamoto (Olix Buffaloes), Shota Imanaga (Yokohama DeNA Baystars), and Yuki Matsui (Rakuten Golden Eagles), followed by Naoyuki Uwasawa (Nippon Ham Fighters). is challenging the Major League.
According to multiple local media outlets, including Japan’s Nikkan Sports, Uwasawa held a press conference on the 28th and officially declared his intention to advance to the major leagues.
After being selected by Nippon Ham in the 6th round of the 2011 rookie draft and entering the professional ranks, Uwasawa appeared in a total of 173 games (14 complete pitches) until this season, recording 70 wins, 62 losses, and an ERA of 3.19. Throughout his professional career, he has never been selected as a member of the Japanese national team (excluding the 2018 U.S.-Japan All-Star) or won an individual title, but he has been building his career step by step.
Although he was selected as a professional in 2011, Uwasawa, who first entered the first team in 2014, appeared in 23 games in his first season and had a successful debut season with 8 wins, 8 losses, 1 hold, and an ERA of 3.19. Afterwards, due to injuries, he was limited to 5 and 4 wins over the next two seasons, but he emerged as an ‘ace’ in the 2018 season, recording 11 wins, 6 losses, and an average ERA of 3.16, including 4 complete games out of 25 appearances.
His injuries and bad relationships continued. Uwasawa, who had his best season, was hit in the left knee by a batted ball in June of the 2019 season and suffered a fractured left patella, which limited him to five wins, and the following year he only won eight games in 15 games. However, in the 2021 season, he again broke a career-high season with 12 wins, 6 losses, and an average ERA of 2.81. He won 8 games last year and played in 24 games this year with 9 wins, 9 losses, and an average ERA of 2.96, and announced his entry into the major leagues through the posting system.
Uwasawa’s biggest advantage is his ability to digest innings. Playing in the first team for 9 seasons at Nippon Ham, he surpassed 150 innings a total of 5 times. He threw a variety of pitches, including a fast ball with a maximum speed of 152 km, a slider, cutter, knuckle curve, fork, change-up, and two-seam, and recorded 170 innings this year. He played the most innings among Pacific League pitchers.
Why did Uwasawa, who left behind a not-so-glamorous but decent career, leave behind a stable life in Japan and take on the challenge of advancing to the major leagues? According to ‘Nikkan Sports’, Uwasawa said, “I told the club about my dream of playing in the major leagues two years ago,” and “I talked about it when I signed my contract last year, and the club hoped I would achieve a certain goal.”
He continued, “When I participated in the 2018 U.S.-Japan All-Star Game, my thoughts about baseball changed dramatically. I still think, ‘There is such a thing as baseball.’ My father also liked baseball since I was young, so I watched the Major League through TV broadcasts. “I had a lot of experience with it, and these things accumulated,” he explained.
As I had a dream of playing in the major leagues, I also asked for advice. Although it was not Yu Darvish (San Diego Padres) and Shohei Ohtani (LA Angels), they worked together during their time at Nippon Ham, and advised Kohei Arihara (former Texas Rangers, current Softbank Hawks), who returned to Japan after experiencing the major league stage briefly. saved.
Uwasawa said, “I didn’t talk to Darvish or Otani, but Arihara-senior was a senior who experienced postings and became close friends at Nippon Ham. We had a chance to talk, so we talked about various things.”
In fact, because he did not reach the top of the Japanese professional baseball stage, people around him expressed negative views toward Uwasawa’s advancement to the major leagues. In response, Uwasawa emphasized, “No matter what I do, such opinions may arise. I have to change it so that concerns decrease. I think I can change enough with my performance and play. It depends on what I do. I have no choice but to believe in myself.” .
If he enters the major leagues, Uwasawa’s dream is to face Ohtani. He said, “I don’t know what it will be like if I don’t actually play, but I’m not without confidence. If I do, I’ll be excited. If there’s a team that needs me, I want to contribute. I can show off my strengths by being able to pitch long innings without getting hurt.” “I will make it happen,” he said emphatically.
The U.S. Major League Trade Rumors (MLBTR) said,토스카지노 “Uwasawa has developed into a reliable starter in terms of both performance and durability. After pitching 102 innings in 2020, when the season was shortened due to COVID-19, he pitched at least 152 innings over the past three seasons. “He has regained his healthy form by throwing .” He also said, “His velocity is not overwhelming, and his strikeout rate is not outstanding. Despite this, major league teams are looking at Uwasawa.”
With the regular season schedule over, multiple teams, including the Texas Rangers, Arizona Diamondbacks, Cincinnati Reds, Kansas City Royals, Chicago Cubs, and LA Angels, watched Uwasawa. ‘MLBTR’ added, “An interesting mid-level pitcher who won’t need a big contract.”