Saturday, January 13, 2018

Yasuyuki Kataoka

Yasuyuki Kataoka of the Giants announced his retirement back at the beginning of October.  Kataoka was the youngest of three brothers to play for the Utsunomiya Gakuen High School baseball team. After graduating he spent three years playing for Tokyo Gas in the corporate leagues - one of his older brothers (Shogo) was playing for JR East in the corporate leagues as well.  After four seasons with Tokyo Gas Kataoka was drafted in the third round of the 2004 draft by the Seibu Lions. 

By the middle of the 2005 season Kataoka had become the Lions starting second baseman, a position he would hold for the next six seasons.  He lead the Pacific League in stolen bases from 2007 to 2010 and in hits in 2008.  He was named to the Best 9 team in 2008 and was elected to the All Star team in 2008 and 2010.  Injuries started taking their toll in 2011 - he missed time due to leg and shoulder injuries as well as a concussion - and he lost time in 2012 and 2013 as well due to wrist and knee injuries.

He left the Lions as a free agent after 2013 and signed with Yomiuri.  He was the Giants' regular second baseman in 2014 and 2015 and played in over 100 games both seasons for the first time since 2010 but he didn't hit particularly well and he lost his starting job to Luis Cruz in 2016.  Various injuries again cost him playing time the last two seasons and he spent all of 2017 with the farm team.

He played in one Nippon Series with the Lions in 2008 and played for Team Japan in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

His first BBM cards were #2 from the 2005 Rookie Edition set (which I don't have) and #41 from the 2005 1st Version set.  His first Calbee card was #019 in the 2006 set.  He's also appeared in various sets from Konami, Bandai, Front Runner and Epoch.

2005 BBM 1st Version #41

2008 BBM Nippon Series #S20

2009 BBM 1st Version #443

2009 Konami WBC Heroes #W09R103

2010 BBM All Stars #A52

2011 BBM Lions Classic #36

2012 Calbee #159

2014 BBM Classic #040

2015 Front Runner Giants Game Used Bat Edition #11

2017 BBM Giants #G44

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