Takahiro Arai

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Takahiro Arai
HT-Takahiro-Arai.jpg
Hanshin Tigers – No. 25
First baseman, Third baseman
Born: (1977-01-30) January 30, 1977 (age 37)
Hiroshima, Japan
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Professional debut
NPB: April 3, 1999 for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp
NPB statistics
(through 2013 season)
Batting average .267
Hits 127
Home runs 15
RBI 70
Teams
Last update: 1 December 2013
Takahiro Arai
Medal record
Competitor for  Japan
Men’s Baseball
World Baseball Classic
Gold 2006 San Diego Team

Takahiro Arai (Japanese: 新井 貴浩, Korean: 박귀홍, Hanja: 朴貴弘, born January 30, 1977 in Naka-ku, Hiroshima) is a Japanese professional baseball player of Korean descent for the Hanshin Tigers in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball.

His younger brother Ryota is also a professional baseball player currently playing for Hanshin Tigers.

College Baseball Career[edit]

In 1998, he participated in the Tohto University Baseball League and went 6 for 12 against an American collegiate All-Star team, winning him the league's RBI title. He only homered twice in college. He was drafted in the sixth round of the '98 NPB draft by the Hiroshima Carp, the team he had followed as a kid.

Hiroshima Toyo Carp[edit]

In 1999, Arai hit .221/.288/.484 for Hiroshima, but homered 7 times in 95 AB. He was involved in two bone-head plays in the course of a week. On September 14, he did not try to advance on a home run by Eddy Diaz because he thought it would be caught; Diaz passed him on the bases, resulting in an out. A week later, he lost count of the number of outs and threw away the ball after a double play, allowing a run to score.

Seeing an increase in playing time in 2000, he batted .245/.318/.505 with 16 HR in 208 AB. In '01, he was up to .284/.363/.495 with 18 homers in 313 AB. Finally entering the regular lineup at age 25, he split his time between first base and third in 2002 and batted .287/.342/.514 with 28 homers. He was one homer behind Tomoaki Kanemoto for the team lead and made his first All-Star team. He also led the league with 17 errors.

In 2003, Takahiro slipped to .236/.299/402 with 19 HR and a league-high 16 times grounding into double plays, while striking out 120 times as the primary 1B. His playing time was cut back in '04 but he bounced back to .263/.340/.424. Before the 2005 season, he spent four days and three nights at a Buddhist temple to help his focus, adjusting his swing and improved drastically, putting up a .305/.353/.603 line with 91 runs, 43 homers, 94 RBI and 326 total bases. He moved to third primarily, switching spots with Kenjiro Nomura. He was second in the Central League in slugging (behind Kanemoto) and led the loop in home runs and errors (23). He homered in six straight games, tying Rick Lancellotti's club record. He made his second All-Star team and his first Best Nine (at first instead of third, as Makoto Imaoka was picked there). His brother Ryota was drafted that off-season.

In 2006, Arai hit .299/.336/.479 with 25 home runs and 100 RBI. He was 6th in the Central League in RBI, was third in sacrifice flies (9, one behind co-leaders Alex Ramirez and Shuichi Murata) and 10th in slugging. The next year, he batted .290/.351/.480 with 28 HR and 102 RBI. He tied Seung-yeop Lee for 6th in runs (84), tied Tyrone Woods for second in RBI (behind Ramirez), was 10th in home runs, third in strikeouts (136) and tied for second in double plays ground into (17), one behind Norihiro Nakamura.

2006 World Baseball Classic/2007 Asian Championship[edit]

He played on Japan's team in the 2006 World Baseball Classic and went 1 for 3 with two strikeouts for the champion team. In the 2007 Asian Championship, Arai hit .500/.571/1.000 with 5 RBI in three games; he trailed tourney leader Chin-Feng Chen by one in RBI. Arai helped Japan win the title and clinch a spot in the 2008 Olympics with his performance.

2008 Beijing Olympics[edit]

In the 2008 Olympics, he batted .257/.289/.486 with 2 triples and 7 RBI in 9 games as Japan's starting first baseman despite battling injury. His 2-run homer off of Suk-min Yoon broke a scoreless duel against South Korea in the 6th inning but the Japanese staff blew the lead. With Japan down 5-2 in the 9th, Arai tripled against closer Hitoki Iwase and Shuichi Murata doubled Arai home. Japan got no further in the loss. South Korea would go on to an unbeaten record in Beijing. Arai was 10th in the preliminary round in slugging (.563)

In the opening round, Arai's 6 RBI tied Nate Schierholtz, Atsunori Inaba, Matthew Brown, Alexei Bell and Giorvis Duvergel for 4th, trailing Alfredo Despaigne, Dae-ho Lee and Michel Enriquez.

Arai became head of the Japan Professional Baseball Players Association in 2008, replacing Shinya Miyamoto.

Hanshin Tigers[edit]

Arai moved to the Hanshin Tigers as a free agent for 2008.

See also[edit]

Career statistics[edit]

Nippon Professional Baseball
Year Age Team G AB R H 2B 3B HR TB RBI SB AVG OBP SLG OPS
1999 22 Hiroshima 53 95 14 21 2 1 7 46 14 1 .221 .288 .484 .773
2000 23 92 208 26 51 6 0 16 105 35 3 .245 .318 .505 .822
2001 24 124 313 38 89 12 0 18 155 56 2 .284 .363 .495 .858
2002 25 140 512 63 147 28 2 28 263 75 1 .287 .342 .514 .855
2003 26 137 488 58 115 20 2 19 196 62 2 .236 .299 .402 .700
2004 27 103 262 36 69 10 1 10 111 36 3 .263 .340 .424 .764
2005 28 142 541 91 165 30 1 43 326 94 3 .305 .353 .603 .956
2006 29 146 566 78 169 23 2 25 271 100 1 .299 .336 .479 .814
2007 30 144 556 84 161 22 0 28 267 102 1 .290 .351 .480 .831
2008 31 Hanshin 94 366 54 112 22 4 8 166 59 2 .306 .371 .454 .824
2009 32 144 558 68 145 32 1 15 224 82 4 .260 .299 .401 .700
2010 33 144 570 96 177 42 0 19 276 112 7 .311 .374 .484 .858
2011 34 144 550 68 148 25 3 17 230 93 5 .269 .321 .418 .739
2012 35 122 460 46 115 25 0 9 167 52 1 .250 .296 .363 .753
2013 36 140 476 60 127 20 0 15 192 70 2 .267 .350 .403 .753
Career 1869 6521 880 1811 319 17 277 2995 1042 38 .278 .336 .459 .795

External links[edit]