Even in 3A, it is difficult to regain confidence… Shintaro Fujinami, whose defensive rating is in the 10s, is rumored to be acquired by an unexpected team. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Even in 3A, it is difficult to regain confidence… Shintaro Fujinami, whose defensive rating is in the 10s, is rumored to be acquired by an unexpected team.

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Fujinami has been looking more and more buoyant on the ground (PHOTO: AP/Afro)

Fujinami: “I’m sure I’ll drop down to 2A. At this rate, he’ll have a hard time regaining confidence even in 3A.

Former DeNA manager Alex Ramirez, speaking on his YouTube channel “Rami Channel,” predicted that the future was not bright for Shintaro Fujinami, 29, of the Athletics if he continued as a starter.

However, even after being reassigned to relief, Fujinami failed to produce, pitching 1 0/3 innings against the Reds on April 29 (Japan time) in his second game as a reliever and allowing two runs on two hits and three walks. He allowed two hits and three walks, and his earned-run average dropped to 13.00 (as of May 1).

In a game against the Reds on May 29, he gave up three consecutive walks to the first batter in the second inning. In a game against the Reds on August 29, he was knocked out of the game without getting a single out on a wild pitch and a timely hit. He gave up 19 earned runs, more than the number of innings he pitched (18).

His fastball was around 160 km/h, but he could not get strikes, so there were many cases where he tried to get a count with his split. His breaking ball is targeted, and he accumulates runners on four pitches and gets hit by a hard pitch. His hard-hit rate, in which he is hit by pitches with a hit-and-run nature, is one of the worst in the majors. If they have to wrestle by themselves every game, the leaders will have no choice but to be concerned.

The team is in last place with a record of 5 wins and 22 losses.

Athletics manager Kotsay said, “I’m not saying [Fujinami] can’t return to the starting lineup,” but “we will evaluate him in this direction for a short period of time. He has lost four games as a starter. If Fujinami continues to have trouble in the reliever role, he will probably end up in the minors, as Ramirez said at the beginning of this report.

Even though he was acquired for more than 400 million yen a year, the Athletics will not give Fujinami many opportunities to work as a reliever. The Athletics are in last place in the A-League West Division with a record of 6 wins and 23 losses. The Athletics’ fans are not happy with Fujinami’s performance, and they are likely to be frustrated if the Athletics continue to use the sluggish Fujinami.

If Fujinami drops down to the minors, his motivation may be shattered. With his control of the pitches not yet up to par, no major league team is likely to make a move to acquire him. There is a possibility that Fujinami will “return to Japan” as early as next season. One team is rumored to be keeping a close eye on him.

One team that is rumored to be paying close attention to his move is Nippon Ham, under the leadership of Tsuyoshi Shinjo, the team’s manager. When he appeared on the YouTube channel of baseball team alumnus Tsutomu Iwamoto in December 2009, Shinjo said, “There is one player I want. There is one player I want. Fujinami from Hanshin (at that time). If he comes to me, he will turn into a great player.

Unlike the popular Hanshin team and the high-profile Majors, Fujinami will be able to play freely without worrying about his surroundings in Nichi-Ham. Fujinami’s pitch control difficulties are a plus, as they make it difficult for hitters to target his pitches. If he can throw with all his might without worrying about the details, I think it will be a great weapon for him.

Fujinami’s dream of reaching the majors has come true, but he has already hit a major wall. It seems that the door to recovery is slowly closing.

  • PHOTO AP/Afro

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