Taishi Ota Struggles to Secure Spot in DeNA Lineup Amidst High Expectations | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Taishi Ota Struggles to Secure Spot in DeNA Lineup Amidst High Expectations

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Ohta looks grim on the ground (PHOTO: Jiji Press)

Taishi Ota, a 32-year-old member of DeNA, is in a vulnerable situation.

He had appeared in 19 games as of May 20, mostly as a substitute. His batting average has been around 10%, and he has struggled to find a regular spot in the lineup.

“In the off-season of 2021, Nippon Ham, which was seeking a generational shift to younger players, signed Ota to a free-agent contract. Several teams made offers, but Ota, a graduate of Tokai University Sagami High School and familiar with Yokohama Stadium, chose DeNA. Last year, although he did not reach the batting average requirement, he made his presence felt with a .278 batting average and five home runs,” said a source close to the team.


However, the situation surrounding Ota has changed since the beginning of this season.


The outfield, Ota’s primary position, is crowded with Keita Sano, who has settled into the No. 1 spot, Masashi Kuwabara, who can run, Ataru Sekine, who hits in the mid-30% range, and Kazuki Kamisato, a good defender. The older Ota is having difficulty breaking into the lineup. He can also play first base, but he has Soto’s support and Shugo Maki, who was chosen for the WBC Samurai Japan team. It will be extremely difficult for him to secure a regular spot.

Why me?

The Giants selected Ota as “Matsui Hideki II” in 2009. He was assigned the same number as Matsui, 55. Ota described the pressure he felt at the time in the June 8, 2018 issue of “FRIDAY.”

The high expectations of those around me almost crushed me because I was in such a rush to become a great hitter like Matsui-san as soon as possible. 

His emotions were out of control, and he was spiraling downward. Ota’s remarks continue.

I was sometimes more depressed than I needed to be, and I was sometimes grumpy. I cried tears of frustration behind the bench several times so the other players wouldn’t see me.

Ota was relieved of the pressure when he transferred to Nichi-Ham in the 2016 off-season after failing to produce results with the Giants. He hit 66 home runs in five years with the Giants. He honed his skills as a long-range gunner. However, as previously stated, he was released on a free-agent contract due to the team’s rejuvenation policy, and he is now in a difficult situation at DeNA.


When he was released from Nichi-Ham, it was reported that Hiroshima, Ohta’s hometown, was also interested in him. The current DeNA outfield is overcrowded. What would have happened in Ota’s career if he had chosen Hiroshima?

However, his batting average as a substitute is decent, and he has one hit. Even if you are outnumbered, Ohta has the ability to turn the tide at the end of a game in an instant. He’ll be in high demand as a valuable right-handed trump card.

Ota probably has the core strength to overcome adversity after going through hell with the Giants. His fans are patiently awaiting the day he returns to the same level of excellence he displayed during his time with Nichi-Ham.

  • PHOTO Jiji Press

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