DeNA’s First-Round Rookie Takateru Toei Faces Issues Beyond Mere Skill Despite Dominating in the Minor Leagues | FRIDAY DIGITAL

DeNA’s First-Round Rookie Takateru Toei Faces Issues Beyond Mere Skill Despite Dominating in the Minor Leagues

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on LINE
On March 29th, after receiving a hero interview at the opening game against Hiroshima and roaring on the victory stand, Toei showed signs of a future star through his results.

Making history as a rookie with consecutive home runs in the first two games of the season, he showcased brilliant performances. However, he later struggled with handling breaking balls, and his batting average dropped to .231. Takateru Toei (21), DeNA’s first-round draft pick who was demoted to the minors on May 16th, has been dominating in farm games. He has started almost every game in the minors, appearing in 14 games with a .333 batting average, one home run, and five RBIs (as of June 3rd). Representatives from other teams who watched his games revealed:

“His batting shows extraordinary talent. He can make contact with any kind of pitch and adjust accordingly, almost seeming invincible in the minors. I believe he can learn to handle changeups and left-handed pitchers at the major league level through practical experience.

However, when outfielder Taiki Sekine was demoted to the minors on May 30th after 11 years, it was Koki Kajiwara in his 3rd year, not Toei, who was considered for promotion to the top team. It felt like Dohi probably has challenges beyond batting skills.”

His father, Mr. Hirofumi (52), played for Yakult for 11 years. His second son, Takateru, played twice in Koshien during his time at Yokohama High School and turned pro after playing for the prestigious corporate baseball team ENEOS. Takateru, who had been acquainted with Ichiro (50) since the winter of ’21, eagerly shared that they had dinner together at the beginning of the year upon moving into the dormitory. His naturally cheerful character made a strong impression on fans and gave off a star quality. However, it’s now said that he’s grappling with challenges beyond mere skill. Another staff member from a different team who has followed Takateru Toei since his amateur days revealed:

“After Manager Daisuke Miura ordered Toei to the minors, he told the press, ‘There are various challenges. Not just defense and base running, but other aspects as well.’ I sense a deeper meaning behind his words about ‘other aspects.'”

What exactly does this mean?

“I think they’re talking about his preparation before games. It’s said that Toei sometimes neglected the essential pre-game defensive drills in favor of focusing on his favorite batting practice. There were also instances where, knowing he would start on the bench, he would be having a meal in the cafeteria behind the bench area just 10 minutes before the game started.

During that time, the support staff who had finished assisting with the players’ pre-game warm-ups would return to the bench area to eat. While it’s common for them to eat there, starters and substitutes alike are supposed to be on the bench, ready to play immediately if needed, and preparing mentally for the game.”  

In fact, on May 8th before being ordered to the minor leagues, during a home game against Yakult, Toei misplayed a fly ball in right field that was carried by the wind overhead, resulting in an error allowing the opponents to score additional runs. This marked his first fielding error since turning professional.

Manager Miura implied in his post-game remarks that weather conditions such as wind, being a constant factor and playing at their home ground, were not valid excuses. It suggests that prior to the game, during defensive practice, they should have checked how the wind was blowing and how the light was coming in. However, it’s unavoidable that neglecting practice could be considered the price of the error that occurred.

Another industry insider reveals the following:

“Since he’s in his first year and likely living in the dorms, I heard there were times he stayed out overnight without permission. In the amateur leagues until last year, people around him might have directly and sternly warned him to improve. However, once you turn pro, especially in the top team, unless the team staff say something, no one will teach you. Each player is responsible for their own life and doesn’t want to lose their position, so they won’t be reminded of things.

Therefore, he needs to understand his position and learn to adapt to the rules and customs of the pro team. If he wants to maintain his strengths and style, he’ll have to achieve results like Ichiro to stand out.”

Whether Toei can return to the top team depends on how quickly he realizes his true challenges.


  • PHOTO Kyodo News

Photo Gallery1 total

Photo Selection

Check out the best photos for you.

Related Articles