Monday, November 14, 2022

Japanese Players In the Australian Baseball League (And Other Winter Leagues)

The 2022-23 season of the Australian Baseball League kicked off this past weekend and for the first time in three years a couple NPB teams have sent players down under for some more experience.  The Baystars have sent pitchers Taisei Irie and Ryosuke Miyaguni to the Canberra Cavalry while the Hawks have sent pitcher Kyuta Kazama to the Melbourne Aces.

2021 Epoch Baystars Rookies & Stars #09

2022 Epoch NPB #193

2022 Topps NPB #209

There are three other Japanese players in the ABL this season with NPB experience.  Daikan Yoh of the Brisbane Bandits played for the Fighters and Giants from 2006 to 2021 (and spent last summer with the Lake Country Dockhounds of the American Association).  Toru Murata of the Auckland Tuatara played for the Giants and Fighters (as well as Cleveland) from 2008 to 2021 and his Auckland teammate Oscar Nakaoshi spent 2016 to 2018 as a Carp (and most recently played for Brazil in the WBC qualifier).

2021 BBM 1st Version #179

2018 Calbee #172 (Murata)

2016 BBM 2nd Version #541

There are two other Japanese players on ABL rosters - Kamu Tschida of Auckland and Ichige Takamune of Sydney.  Neither of them appear to have ever played in NPB - I suspect they are both from the corporate leagues.

I've not gone through the Geelong-Korea roster to see how many players on the team have KBO experience but I do want to mention that the team's manager, Lee Byung-kyu, played for the Chunichi Dragons from 2007 to 2009.

2007 BBM Dragons #D079

The Hawks and Baystars have also sent some players to play in a couple winter leagues in the Western Hemisphere.  Softbank sent four players to Puerto Rico to play for the Gigantes de Carolina - Shunsuke Kasaya, Carter Stewart, Richard Sunagawa and Sota Tanoue.

2015 BBM 1st Version #026

2021 Epoch One #154

2022 BBM 1st Version #260

2021 BBM 1st Version #027

The Baystars dispatched Taiki Sekine to play for Yaquis de Obregon of the Mexican Pacific League.

2016 Baystars Team Issue #63

I've found that the @WinterLeagueJP twitter account has been very helpful in tracking how players are doing in the various leagues.  It's worth checking out in the limited amount of time that Twitter has left.

11/15/22 UPDATE - Steve Smith let me know on Twitter that the Hawks sent an additional pitcher to Melbourne who is not on the active roster yet - ikusei pitcher Mizuki Miura:

2022 BBM Rookie Edition #095

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