|Chunichi Dragons – No. 11|
Born: October 8, 1997|
Fujisawa, Kanagawa, Japan
|May 31, 2016, for the Chunichi Dragons|
|NPB statistics |
|Earned run average||4.28|
Ogasawara was the winning pitcher at the 2015 Summer Koshien tournament and was regarded as the second best high school pitching prospect in the 2015 draft class behind Gifu Commercial High School's Jumpei Takahashi. He holds the record for the worst start to a rookie season in the Japanese Central League going 0-5 in decisions before registering his first professional win.
He has represented Japan on the international stage at under-15 and under-18 level helping his country to a runner-up position in the 2015 U-18 Baseball World Cup.
Junior High School
While studying at Zengyo Junior High School, Ogasawara played for the Shonan Boys where in his last year with team he helped them to win the annual Giants Cup. In the semi-final, he threw down 9 strikeouts in 7 innings for only 2 runs allowed and in the final threw 3 innings and 6Ks for one hit. His success in the tournament led to his selection in the Japan U-15 squad.
Tokai University Sagami Senior High School
Ogasawara rose to prominence as his school, Tokai University Sagami Senior High, won the 2015 Koshien tournament. He pitched a winning 161 ball game in the final against Sendai Ikuei Gakuen High School as well as hitting a solo home run in the 9th inning to clinch the title. In the tournament, Ogasawara pitched in 6 games, throwing down 26.1 innings, taking 23 strikeouts and conceding 9 earned runs with an ERA of 3.08.
Japan U-18 National Baseball Team
He took part in the 27th U-18 Baseball World Cup in 2015 where he helped the team to second place after being beaten in the final by the USA. Ogasawara finished the tournament with an untarnished 0.00 ERA. He pitched 6 innings against Australia taking 9 strikeouts allowing 3 hits while he pitched just two innings against Cuba in the semi-final with two strikeouts.
2015 NPB Draft
At the 2015 NPB Draft, he was the contested first draft pick for the Chunichi Dragons and the Nippon Ham Fighters after both teams lost out on Jumpei Takahashi to the Softbank Hawks. The Dragons would eventually prevail in acquiring the star high school pitcher, in a lottery with the Fighters, and won the right to negotiate a contract. Ogasawara was given a ¥100,000,000 signing on bonus plus ¥5,000,000 in incentives to go with a ¥15,000,000 yearly salary
On 31 May, Ogasawara made his professional debut for the Dragons against the Softbank Hawks as the first high school rookie to debut on the opening day of interleague play. Ogasawara started the game and pitched 5 innings including 4 strikeouts, 7 walks and one earned run. It would not however be a debut win as a late inning 4-run blow-out from closer Koji Fukutani gave the win to the Hawks. On 7 June, Ogasawara would be robbed once again of his maiden win this time against the Orix Buffaloes as Shinji Tajima gave up a run in the 9th inning to even the scores. Reliever Toshiya Okada would take the win after the game went to extra innings. On 16 June, Ogasawara would lose his first game as a pro after pitching 5 innings conceding 7 hits and 3 earned runs against the Chiba Lotte Marines resulting in his de-registering from the first team.
On 11 July, Ogasawara made an appearance in the 9th inning against the Yokohama DeNA Baystars at Yokohama Stadium in his first return to his hometown since being drafted. He would finish the game with a scoreless inning including a strikeout of Baystars slugger and 2016 NPB All-Star, Yoshitomo Tsutsugoh.
On 24 July at the Nagoya Dome, Ogasawara made his first starting appearance in Nagoya and the Central League against the Tokyo Yakult Swallows where he was the losing pitcher once more, allowing three runs on three hits and three walks in five innings, while striking out two.
On 7 August, in another game against the Yokohama DeNA Baystars, Ogasawara formed a combined rookie battery with number 3 2015 draft pick Takuya Kinoshita; the first time in 18 years for the Dragons (the last being Kenshin Kawakami and Fumihiro Suzuki in 1998).
On 20 August, against the Baystars, he pitched a season high 7 innings but was unable to claim his first win of the season after giving up Yoshitomo Tsutsugoh's 36th home run of the season in his first inning. It marked one of Ogasawara's best returns as a starter however as he used his curveball to good effect to claim 8 strikeouts only conceding 3 hits and two runs. Unfortunately the game would be his 5th straight loss marking it the worst debut season for a high school rookie pitcher in 55 years in the NPB and the worst ever in the Central League.
On 4 September, Ogasawara finally achieved his first win in his 12th match of the season against the Yomiuri Giants at the Tokyo Dome pitching 7 innings, taking 10 strikeouts and conceding three earned runs in a 5-3 win. He became the 7th Dragons high school rookie since Shinji Imanaka in 1989 to get a win in his first season. Ogasawara's following start against the Yakult Swallows at Meiji Jingu Stadium on 18 September would also result in a win where he threw down 6.2 scoreless innings with 6 strikeouts, 6 walks and 4 hits to help the Dragons climb off the bottom of the table.
In Fall training however, after being pushed to throw over 200 pitches in one day, he suffered from cartilage damage in his left elbow and required surgery effectively ruling him out for the entirety of the off-season.
On 12 November, Ogasawara received a ¥3,000,000 pay increase moving to an annual salary of ¥18,000,000.
Ogasawara spent the beginning of the season tuning up on the farm following his injury in late 2016, but made his first appearance of the season on 6 May, in a single relief inning against the Yomiuri Giants. Ogasawara would go on to make his first start of the season on 9 May where he threw down 5 innings for 3-earned runs in a 3-1 loss to the Yokohama DeNA Baystars at Nagoya Dome.
Following his second win of the season against the Yomiuri Giants on 24 June, Ogasawara became the first teenage pitcher since Yutaka Enatsu in 1967 to have a 2-0 untarnished record against the Giants to start his career.
Ogasawara throws 4 pitches - a fastball that tops out at 94.4mp/h (average speeds of around 86-91mp/h), a 62mp/h curveball, a slider and a change-up that comes out of the hand in a similar way to his straight delivery.
Upon his debut, Ogasawara threw mostly only his fastball and his change-up in the strike zone not unlike team-mate Shunta Wakamatsu, however with further experience he started landing his curveball and slider in the zone taking more strikeouts in the process.
"Shinnosuke" is a name inherited from his grandfather.
He shares the same hometown as team-mate Shuhei Takahashi and the two attended the same elementary school and played at the same junior baseball side Shonan Boys. They played together in a local park as boys and their homes are said to be separated by about 10 minutes walk. When Shuhei turned professional with the Dragons, it was the then middle-school student Ogasawara that presented him with a celebratory bouquet.
He has remarked on his admiration Masahiro Yamamoto formerly of the Dragons and Hiroki Kokubo former Fukuoka Softbank Hawks infielder and manager of the Japan national baseball team. Ogasawara also has great respect for former New York Mets and San Francisco Giants outfielder Tsuyoshi Shinjo hoping to emulate his success.
Ogasawara also enjoys the Japanese idol girl group SKE48 and supports Jurina Matsui. He has been cheering her on since elementary school and knew of her since her featuring on AKB48's 2008 single Ōgoe Diamond. He mentions that "I thought she was really young and really gave her all." On 5 May 2017, when Ogasawara was with the first team, it was Matsui who performed the first pitch ceremony where the SKE48 performer admitted to following Ogasawara on Twitter and knowing of his fondness for pro-wrestling.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- Dragons.jp (Japanese)
- NPB.jp (English)
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