2021 Koshien: A look at the 10 draft candidates who shined! | FRIDAY DIGITAL

2021 Koshien: A look at the 10 draft candidates who shined!

The "stars of the future" who will support the world of baseball shine in an unusually rainy and corona-filled tournament

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The summer Koshien tournament was held for the first time in two years. The tournament was postponed due to heavy rains, cold games, and withdrawal by Corona, and the top four teams were all from the Kinki region: ……. Even in the midst of such an unprecedented tournament, the ballplayers made great strides.

And in October, the professional baseball draft conference will be held. I asked sports writer Masahiko Abe to pick out from among the players who performed well at Koshien those who are likely to carry the future of the baseball world.



“Kazama (Pitcher, Meio Sakura, 2nd round)

Before the start of the tournament, Kazama was said to be the “No. 1 pitcher in the tournament. With the power of his strong upper body as his driving force, he throws down the ball with a powerful angle from directly above. He has an excellent engine that can consistently hit around 145 km/h, and the skills to mix curves, sliders, and forks. His material is unquestionable, and all he needs is experience at a high level. “A pitcher who is like “the best curry on the day it was made. I look forward to seeing his transformation after he matures over time. I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to do it, but I’m sure I’ll be able to do it.

I’m sure he’ll be a top draft pick.

“I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to do it, but I’m sure I’ll be able to do it.

He is undoubtedly one of the top sluggers in his high school, but he has changed from the time he was in the Senbatsu tournament, when he seemed somewhat timid, to this summer. Whenever he has a chance, he bursts out with a hard hit as if to say, “It’s my turn! Whenever he had a chance, he would just say, “It’s my turn! He was so into his change-up that he almost hit the top of the light pole! The speed of the ball, the outfielder’s speed, and the fact that the ball was fouled off the field were astonishing. The speed of the ball, and the power of the ball as it sailed over the outfielder’s head, was not that of a high school student.

The scouts were concerned about his running ability, but he showed off his aggressive base-running skills and became a draft candidate. “If you continue to use him in the second team from his first year, I think his batting ability can become an asset in the first team from his third year or so,” said a pro scout.

Maekawa has homered in two consecutive games.

“Asahi Hanada (outfielder, Osaka Toin, 2nd round): “He’ll be gone by the second round of the draft.

He is the No. 1 outfielder in high school baseball this season in terms of overall offensive, defensive, and running ability. He is a player who will be gone by the second round of the draft if he submits his application to become a professional. The team that was expected to win lost in the second round, but in the first round against Tokai University Sugo in the rain, he hit a back screen bullet that you could tell was in as soon as he hit it. He is a pro at catching low pitches without moving his head.

Hanada is a good material with all three elements.

“Shunsuke Tamura (infielder and pitcher, Ai-Tech Naiden, 1st round): “Amazing swing speed.

His swing speed is in the 160 km/h range, which is an astonishing figure even for a pro. Even so, his batting ability to call in, assess, and accurately catch the ball without letting his strength get the better of him is a surefire draft pick. Although he didn’t make it to Koshien, he throws left-handed and can also play third base.

Tamura, Ai-Tech Meiden. His team unexpectedly lost their first game, but his reputation remains unchanged.

“Taisei Kimura (pitcher, Hokkai, 1st round): “I’m sure he’ll be drafted second.

In Hokkaido’s high school baseball world, I haven’t encountered a lefty with this much talent in 30 years. He has a fastball that reached the 150-kilometer mark at a regional tournament this summer, and a slider that has two different trajectories: vertical and horizontal. He is a surefire second-round draft pick. “I’m glad I was able to see his persistent pitching despite the difficulty of adjusting to the rainy weather.

Kimura of Hokkai. I’m sure he’ll be fine.

“Housuke Fukasawa (pitcher, Sendaimatsudo, 2nd inning): “Outstanding control of the ball.

In his first game, he shut out Meitetsu, the runner-up in the Senbatsu Tournament. He has an excellent sense of timing, which is the most important in baseball: “timing to match” at bat and “timing to miss” on the mound. He has a fastball of around 140 km/h from his side-hand and a curve, and a control of his pitches that he can keep in his mitt more than 70% of the time.

Fukasawa held off the powerful batting line of championship contender Aketoyo in his first game.

“Ruta Morishita (pitcher, Kyoto International School, top 4), who has emerged as a candidate for next year’s draft.

Second-year ace who led his team to the top four in their first appearance. He has a strong-willed demeanor, and his pitching is very reliable. His fastball has improved to the point where he can strike out, and his slider and cut ball can get strikes at any time. His fastball has improved to the point where he can strike out, and his slider and cutball are always strike-able.

He is still in his second year. Morishita is still in his second year and is expected to make even greater progress next year.

“Masayun Akiyama (Pitcher, Futatsugakusha University, 3rd round): “A lefty with the soul of a pro.

“This is exactly what I mean by “aggressive pitching. This is exactly what I mean by “aggressive pitching.” While assessing the batter’s condition, he threw hard into the strike zone and never hesitated to play a three-pitch game. His willingness to strike out on three pitches immediately after being hit is what qualifies him as a professional.

Akiyama’s strength of spirit is good.

“Yamato Daiki (pitcher, Meitoku Gijuku, best 8), who hit two home runs in Koshien.

I’m not sure what to make of it. Since last fall, he has learned to throw a cut ball and his pitching has changed dramatically. He can control both sides of the ball at will, and pitches with confidence and dignity. He has a good sense of hitting and a long batting average, and he has a bright future ahead of him.

Daiki has been active in both pitching and hitting.

“Shogo Asano (outfielder, Takamatsu Sho, 3rd inning): “Hit 35 home runs in two years in high school.

In the summer of his sophomore year at Koshien, he had already hit an astonishing 35 home runs in his high school career. Even so, he doesn’t swing wildly for a home run, but he swings at every pitch, even a changeable pitch. He also has strong shoulders and quick feet, making him a top draft candidate next season.

How far will Asano extend his homerun record?
  • PHOTO Yoshihiro Koike

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