Sunday, October 20, 2019

Sho Aranami

Former Yokohama DeNA Baysters Sho Aranami announced his retirement back at the end of August.  Aranami was born and raised in Yokohama and attended Yokohama High School, alma mater of Daisuke Matsuzaka and Yoshitomo Tsutsugoh among countless other professional baseball players - including his high school and Baystars teammate Takehiro Ishikawa.  He attended Tokai University and played for the Collegiate National Team in both 2006 and 2007.  He joined Toyota of the industrial leagues after graduating college and spent two seasons (I think) playing for them.  He was taken by the Baystars in the third round of the 2010 draft.

He made his debut with the ichi-gun Baystars late in the 2011 season and was the team's starting center fielder on Opening Day of 2012.  That would end up being probably his best season, as he played in 141 games, hit .268, stole 24 bases and lead the Central League in triples with 7.  He also won a Golden Glove that season.  He missed some time with a broken nose and/or cheekbone the next season but still got in 126 games, hitting .258 and winning a second Golden Glove award.

His playing time with the top team dropped off considerably after the 2013 season and I'm not entirely sure why.  I think some of it was due to injury - he broke a finger in training camp in 2014 - but some of it appears to be that he became less effective and the Baystars had better options.  He only got into 63 games in 2014, 70 in 2015, 36 in 2016, 47 in 2017 and 11 in 2018.  Following the 2018 season the Baystars released him.  He was hoping to get a contract with another NPB team but none was forthcoming.  He ended up signing with the Monterrey Sultans of the Mexican League, joining former NPB players Yadir Drake, Yamaico Navarro and Wirfin Obispo.  He hit .293 for the Sultans but he was released at the end of June.

Aranami is one of those rare Japanese players who have a pre-rookie card.  As an insert to the 2008 USA Baseball National Teams Box Set, Upper Deck created a set of memorabilia (and autographed) cards for the 2007 Japanese Collegiate National Team.  Aranami's first cards are in this set.  His first BBM cards are from the 2011 Rookie Edition (#091) and 1st Version (#319) sets.  He had his first Bandai and Konami in 2012 as well as a "Star" insert card from Calbee but his first regular Calbee card wasn't until their 2013 set (#032).  Here's a bunch of his cards:

2008 Upper Deck USA Baseball National Teams Box Set #JN-1

2011 BBM Rookie Edition #091

2011 BBM 1st Version #319

2012 BBM 2nd Version #655

2013 BBM 1st Version #388

2013 Front Runner Baystars Rookies & Young Stars #06

2014 BBM Speed & Smart #14

2016 Calbee #139

2017 BBM Baystars #DB59

2018 Baystars Team Issued Set #4


Fuji said...

I built that 2008 Japanese All-Star Collegiate memorabilia card set back in the day. Doesn't look like Sho had a hall of fame career. Is anyone in that set having a hall of fame career? If not... how about a hall of very good career?

NPB Card Guy said...

I was just thinking that I should do a "Where Are They Now?" post for that set. I don't think anybody from that group is going to be a Hall Of Famer but Takashi Ogino's probably had the best career of anyone in the group, followed by Shota Ohno. Those two and Yuki Saitoh are I think the only ones still playing in NPB but I could be wrong. Ryo Sakakibara was Pacific League Rookie of the Year in 2010 but hasn't pitched in NPB since 2015.

NPB Card Guy said...

And I'm wrong - several of the other players are still active.

Fuji said...

Thanks for the info. I've always wondered if any of these guys panned out. I think the only name I recognize is Yuki Saitoh. He seemed to command big $$$ back in the day. If you ever do write "where are they now" post, it would be much appreciated. I'd probably bookmark it for future reference.