The Giants declare their No. 1 pick! Ichiro’s “golden rule” for Takamatsu Commercial’s Asano | FRIDAY DIGITAL

The Giants declare their No. 1 pick! Ichiro’s “golden rule” for Takamatsu Commercial’s Asano

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His bench press maxes out at 115 kg, and he carries a 200 kg barbell for squats. His power is super high school level.

Shogo Asano, an outfielder for Takamatsu Commercial (Kagawa), a top candidate in this year’s draft, has four words emblazoned on his glove: “Shishi-Kunshun.

On the field, he runs around like a lion. That’s how I feel. I want to carry that attitude into the pros.”

The Giants announced their No. 1 pick for Asano 22 days before the October 20 draft. As the number one fielder of his generation, the long-range gunner was likely to face competition from several teams, and the Giants, who have not had good luck in the lottery in recent years, were the ones to take the lead.

Kenji Nagao, manager of Takamatsu Commercial Co.

Kenji Nagao, manager of Takamatsu Commercial, expressed his concern, “Is there any possibility that the team will not be nominated even though it has been announced?”

If the Titans had publicly announced their intention to pick No. 1, and then decided not to pick on the day, there would have been an uproar like there was with the KK Draft 37 years ago.

Asano said, “I am not sure if I will be selected or not.

I had been worried about whether I would be selected or not, so now that I have publicly announced my selection, I feel secure that I will be selected. Ever since I entered high school, I have been thinking only about the pros, not at all about college or the working world, and I have spent every day without regret. (In interviews with various baseball teams), I was highly praised for my ability to run, attack, and defend.”

Although he is small, standing only 171 cm tall, Asano’s playing style can be described as “a supercar with heavy tank power. He has hit 68 home runs in high school, including one against Mexico in the U-18 Baseball World Cup, where he used a wooden bat.

Among them, the two home runs he hit in Koshien gave Asano confidence.

In the summer of my second year, I was able to hit a home run off Nakanishi-san (Seiki, Aoyama Gakuin University) of Chiben Wakayama in the Koshien Tournament. I lost the game, but being able to hit off Nakanishi, who was the winning pitcher, changed my dream of becoming a professional baseball player to my goal.

The other was a shot to the back screen from Omi’s (Shiga) two-tooled pitcher, Yosyo Yamada, in the summer of this year.

I was able to hit against one of the leading pitchers of his generation at Koshien. It was a great feeling.

Asano recalls that a word from someone had a big influence on his ability to achieve results on the big stage.

Ichiro-san (who visited Takamatsu Commercial in November of last year and coached the team) told me, ‘Create form while giving it your all. Until then, when I got tired in practice, I would cut corners and swing. After meeting Mr. Ichiro, I continued to swing the bat as hard as I could, shouting out even when I was tired. That gave me confidence when I got into the batter’s box, and no matter what kind of pitcher I faced, I didn’t feel like I could lose, or that I could definitely hit.”

Takamatsu Commercial’s ground is lined with a net in left field that is as high as the government will allow. However, Asano’s ball hit over the net several times when he was batting right and flew into the school building of an adjacent junior high school. According to Akihiko Miyoshi, director of the school’s baseball team, the insurance policy that the team has in place to cover damage to nearby facilities during practice is no longer in effect this year due to the frequency of such occurrences. (According to Akihiko Miyoshi, director of the school’s baseball team, on one occasion, the damage even reached the water storage tanks on the roof of the building.

We measured the distance with Google Maps, and it was over 150 meters,” he said. The response, the angle of the launch, and the momentum of the ball …… were clearly different from other pitches. If I hit it wrong, only a poor quality ball would fly.”

He lifted a maximum of 115 kg on the bench press and 200 kg with the barbell he carried during squats. His large muscles, such as biceps and quads, are thick and are the source of his distance. Shion Matsuo of Toin Osaka, who played with Asano on the Japanese high school national team, said that he learned from Asano that his body does not shake and that his body does not buckle when he swings out. We also asked Asano himself about the secret to flying.

He said, “I keep my weight on my right foot and am conscious of catching the ball within the range of my body, even if it is jammed. I think of it as if I am trying to draw the ball in or attract it. There are times when I hit the ball in the opposite direction, but in those cases, I usually try to “pull” the ball toward the right side of the plate from the outside corner. As a right-handed hitter, it is a contradiction in terms for me to pull the ball toward the right side, but if I can bat like this, I don’t think I will have any trouble with a wooden bat.

Asano has been using a wooden bat in his daily practice.

If you are afraid of what will happen if the bat breaks (by using a costly wooden bat), your swing will be weak and you will break the bat more, jam it, or hit the tip of the bat. In any case, I have been working on swinging the wooden bat firmly.

Normally, Asano bats right-handed, but he has batted left-handed in official games.

At first, I just tried swinging the bat with my left side to improve my physical balance, but I was able to hit when I batted left in games, so I decided to give it a try (as a switch hitter). First, I need to be able to hit the ball well with my right, but I would like to eventually become a switch hitter in the pros to broaden my playing style.”

In addition to his batting range, he has a strong leg that can run 50 meters in the 5-second range, and he can steal bases as well as play a wide range of defensive positions. He also has a strong shoulder, and his long throw is 115 meters.

He already has an image of what he will be like after he joins the pro ranks.

In my first year, I want to get used to the speed of professional pitches and avoid injuries, and in my third year or so, I hope to be able to play at the professional level. To be honest, I don’t really know what the professional level is. I want to understand the quality of the pro ball and then set clear goals.”

Will it be the Titans or the Titans who will be able to connect with the standout players of the high school age group? The draft meeting will be held on October 20 at 5:00 p.m.

In practice, he hit a series of balls over the net. The baseball club was insured for Asano.
At 171 cm in height, Asano is small for a baseball player, but his power from his stout lower body is outstanding.
He is also expected to be a switch hitter.
  • Interview and text Yuji Yanagawa Photographs Kei Kato

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