In the first round of the NPB draft last night, the Rakuten Eagles pulled the right to negotiate with hot high School pitching prospect Yuki Matsui of Tokyo Gakuen, who lit up the National High School Championships at Koshien last year.
The Hiroshima Carp, however, also came away pretty happy. They drew, the also much sought after, Daichi Osera of Kyushu Kyoritsu University.
The Tokyo Yakult Swallows and Hanshin Tigers were also after the right-hander, who, the JapanTimes writes, “has a compact take back like Boston Red Sox’s Koji Uehara but a fastball that touches 153 kph.”
In an uncommon move, Hiroshima dispatched scout Kei Tamura to participate in the lottery, and he got the job done.
“I’m truly pleased,” said Tamura, who’s observed Osera in the past few years. “Because I’m the one who has watched him most. I believed in myself. I think he’s going to be a wonderful pitcher for us.”
Carp skipper Kenjiro Nomura said, “We believe that he ‘s going to live up to our expectations. We’ll use him as a starter because that’s what he’s been doing.”
Unlike the much sought after Matsui, Osera skipped the draft after attracting attention as a high school senior at Koshien in 2009, moving on to Kyushu Kyoritsu University where he bulked up and added some speed.
Kozo Ota at Tokyo Swallows.com writes of Osera
Osera uses the contrast between his 150 km/h fastball and his 110km/h slow curve to keep batters guessing. Osera’s dip in performance this season is troubling, and how his stuff will perform against tougher competition is a concern. However, Osera seems to have the tough body (186 cm / 90 kg) and mentality that scouts covet.
Osera himself, is quoted on Yakyubaka.com as saying
I think all my hard work if finally beginning to pay off. [Tamura, the scout that pulled the winning ticket] started following me when I was not much of a pitcher. That really made me happy. I would like to become a pitcher that can fully handle any position assigned to him.
Here is Daiichi in action