In the early to mid-2000s, Gwangju Ilgo became a hot topic in the major leagues. Seniors Seo Jae-ng, Kim Byung-hyun, and Choi Hee-seop graduated from Gwangju Il-Go and played in the major leagues side by side. It was noteworthy that a particular high school team in a country with less than 100 high school baseball teams had three major league players at the same time. Infielder Kang Jeong-ho joined the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2015 after playing for the Heroes, making it four major leaguers from Gwangju Ilgo.
Like Gwangju Ilgo in the 2000s, there are other high school teams that stand out in Japanese baseball. Shohei Ohtani (30-LA Dodgers) graduated from Hanamaki Higashigashi in Iwate Prefecture, Tohoku, Japan. After graduating from high school in his hometown of Iwate, Ohtani joined the Nippon Ham Fighters as a first-round draft pick, 안전놀이터 where he played for five years before moving on to the major leagues.
Baseball fans know what happened next.
He shook up the major leagues as a pitcher and hitter. He became the first player in the major leagues to complete both regulation at-bats and regulation innings, went 15-30 with 30 home runs, and won two unanimous MVP awards. In December, he signed a 10-year, $700 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the highest in all of professional sports.
Ohtani has one high school classmate in the major leagues. Yusei Kikuchi, 33, a left-handed pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays who is three years older than Hanamaki Higashi. He joined the Seibu Lions as the No. 1 draft pick in 2010 and won 73 games before boarding a plane to the United States. Since 2019, he has spent five years with the Seattle Mariners and Toronto, winning 32 games.
Shortly before signing with the LA Dodgers, there were reports that Ohtani was on a flight to Toron, and that he would be playing on the same team as Kikuchi, his high school senior, but it was a misreport. There were even rumors that Kikuchi had made restaurant reservations to welcome Ohtani.
The junior of Ohtani and Kikuchi is gaining attention.
He is Yuhi Nishidate, 23, a right-hander from Hanamaki Higashi-go, who was selected by the Yomiuri Giants with the first overall pick in the 2024 First-Year Player Draft.
Nishidate was touted as a “monster pitcher” in high school, following in the footsteps of seniors Otani and Kikuchi. He participated in the spring and summer Koshien tournaments in his sophomore year and the summer tournament in his junior year. After graduating from high school, he went to Chuo University to prepare for the pros. In college, he gained attention for throwing a fastball that reached a maximum speed of 155 kilometers per hour.
In the rookie draft, Nippon Ham also selected Nishidate with the first pick, but Yomiuri won the right to negotiate through a lottery.
Nishidate pitched out of the bullpen on the first day of spring training for Yomiuri’s first team, the Miyazaki. He threw a total of 26 pitches, mixing in a curveball, a cut fastball, and a forkball. All eyes were on the “super rookie” who was Yomiuri’s No. 1 pick.
After watching him pitch out of the bullpen
Yomiuri manager Shinnosuke Abe, 45, said, “He has great quickness. I hope he grows up to be like Ohtani.” Abe is Nishidate’s senior at Chuo University.
After pitching in the bullpen, Nishidate told the media, “I threw at my own pace. I want to start the season with the first team.” The Yomiuri will open the season with a three-game series against last year’s Japan Series champion Hanshin Tigers at the Tokyo Dome in Anbang on March 29-31.
Nishidate has been battling for the starting job since his debut season. Abe said he considers Nishidate to be a candidate for the starting job. 안전한 파워볼사이트 I have high hopes for him.
Yomiuri has Shosei Dogo (24), who is set to start the opener, as well as Iori Yamasaki (26), Foster Griffin (29), and Johander Mendes (29).
Yomiuri selected all five rookies in the 2024 Rookie Draft from college and social baseball. All five will start spring training with the first team.