Kōyō Aoyagi

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Kōyō Aoyagi
青柳晃洋投手2.jpg
Hanshin Tigers – No. 50
Pitcher
Born: (1993-12-11) December 11, 1993 (age 25)
Yokohama City
Bats: Right Throws: Right
debut
2016, for the Hanshin Tigers
Career statistics
(through 2016)
Games21
Win-Loss7–8
Earned Run Average3.28
Teams

Kōyō Aoyagi (青柳 晃洋, Aoyagi, Kōyō, born December 11, 1993 in Yokohama City) is a Japanese professional baseball pitcher who currently plays for the Hanshin Tigers of Nippon Professional Baseball.[1]

Early baseball career[edit]

Kōyō played ball for the Terao Dolphins as a fifth-grader in primary school, and went on to pitch for Namamugi Junior High. He became the ace pitcher of Kawasaki Kikoka High School in Kanagawa, but his team never made it to the national tournament.[2]

He entered Teikyo University where he was a regular starter in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area University Baseball League. Despite having undergone right elbow surgery in his third year, he pitched spectacularly the following year where he led the league in wins (6), and was awarded Best Nine.[3] After four years and 37 game appearances, he finished 15–9 with a 1.91 ERA.

Hanshin Tigers[edit]

He was the Tiger's 5th round pick during the 2015 professional draft.[1] He signed a 40 million yen contract with Hanshin, for an estimated annual salary of 7.2 million yen.[4] He was assigned jersey number 50.

2016

While he joined the main squad during spring camp and got a shot at pitching during the pre-season game against the Marines, he struggled with control as he walked the first 3 batters he faced, and ended up giving up 2 runs in 2 innings of relief.[5][6][7]

He debuted as a starter in the June 1 away game against the Eagles, as a last minute replacement for the scheduled starter Yuya Yokoyama who suddenly experienced shoulder pain at the time.[8] Despite walking 4 and hitting 1 batter, he completed 5 innings and only allowed a sole run, thus grabbing the win.[9][10] He became the first right-handed Hanshin pitcher to win his first official start since Minoru Murayama on 1959, and the third rookie pitcher in NPB history to win his first start during Inter-league play.[11]

His next start was on July 7 in Tokyo Dome, where he shut down the Giants by pitching 7 perfect innings while allowing only a single hit.[12] After this, he became a regular in the Tiger's pitching rotation. But despite a strong start, he lost momentum during mid-season, and he finished the season with only 4 wins out of 13 games with a 3.29 ERA. While his win-loss percentage might be unimpressive, he only surrendered a single home run out of 289 at bats.

During the post-season break, he was selected to join the national team to pitch in the Asia Winter League tournament in Taiwan. He notched 2 wins and 1 save in 4 games (1.69 ERA), and was awarded the league's best pitcher, also won by fellow Hanshin pitcher Yuta Iwasada in the previous year.[13]

Pitching Style[edit]

A sidewinder and sometimes submarine pitcher[2], Aoyagi throws a shuuto in the 130-145kph range as his main pitch, alternating with a four-seam in the high 130s (maxed at 147 kph[7]) or a slider, with the occasional changeup.[14]. He was clocked at 6.8 seconds at the 50 meter dash.[15]

Personal Trivia[edit]

Aoyagi started throwing from a three-quarters delivery when he started pitching in grade school. At first, the team manager tried to fix his mechanics, but eventually decided to encourage him to keep throwing from the side.[16]

Aoyagi is also an avid manga fan. When he first joined the Tigers, he moved into their dormitory with about 300 volumes of the Weekly Shōnen Magazine. When he played in the 2016 Winter League, he kept posting sad tweets of not being able to read the magazine in Taiwan. Kodansha, the manga's publisher, read about Aoyagi's tweets, and promised him that they will reserve copies of the magazine that he wasn't able to read while overseas. The company sent 3 weeks worth of the magazine to the Tiger's camp when Aoyagi returned to Japan. [17] Kodansha is thinking about naming him their manga publicity ambassador.[18]

Career Statistics[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "阪神青柳、480万円増に控えめガッツポーズ – 野球". Nikkan Sports. November 17, 2016.
  2. ^ a b "桐蔭の4番・茂木 プロ注目の川崎工科・青柳から一発". Sports Nippon. July 25, 2011.
  3. ^ "阪神青柳が継承サブマリン系譜". Daily Sports. December 5, 2015.
  4. ^ "阪神5位の青柳と仮契約 右打者相手に自信あり". Nikkan Sports. November 17, 2015.
  5. ^ 柏村翔 (March 6, 2016). "落ち着け青柳!ド緊張の虎ルーキー、愛の声かけリレーで蘇生(1/2ページ)". Sankei Sports.
  6. ^ "阪神5位青柳「人が多い…」初甲子園で3者連続四球". Nikkan Sports. March 5, 2016.
  7. ^ a b 柏村翔 (March 6, 2016). "落ち着け青柳!ド緊張の虎ルーキー、愛の声かけリレーで蘇生(2/2ページ)". Sankei Sports.
  8. ^ "阪神青柳今日緊急先発 初登板148キロ右腕に託す". Nikkan Sports. June 1, 2016.
  9. ^ "阪神青柳、プロ初勝利記念球は「母にプレゼント」". Nikkan Sports. June 1, 2016.
  10. ^ "阪神青柳が初登板初先発初勝利 前日突然告げられた". Nikkan Sports. June 1, 2016.
  11. ^ "虎ドラ5青柳5回1失点で初登板初先発初勝利". Nikkan Sports. June 1, 2016.
  12. ^ "完封狙えた?1安打のドラフト5位青柳交代のワケ 金本監督「球数が未知数」". Sports Nippon. July 7, 2016.
  13. ^ "青柳、台湾Wリーグ投手MVP 岩貞に続き2年連続で若虎受賞". Daily Sports. December 18, 2016.
  14. ^ "2015 Professional Baseball Draft : Koyo Aoyagi". Sports Nippon. December 6, 2015. Archived from the original on October 26, 2015.
  15. ^ "阪神ドラ5青柳が仮契約、目指すは虎の里中智です". Nikkan Sports. June 1, 2016.
  16. ^ "阪神・青柳の"原点"上手投げが下手だった 自然と横手に". Sports Nippon. December 13, 2016.
  17. ^ "阪神青柳、WL最優秀投手より漫画が「一番嬉しい」". Nikkan Sports. December 20, 2016.
  18. ^ "阪神青柳が漫画大使に? 講談社がオファー検討". Nikkan Sports. December 18, 2016.