Fujinami with the Hanshin Tigers
|Hanshin Tigers – No. 19|
April 12, 1994 |
Sakai, Osaka, Japan
|March 31, 2013, for the Hanshin Tigers|
|Earned run average||2.86|
|Career highlights and awards|
High school career
In 2010, Fujinami entered Osaka Toin High School. In his final year in 2012 he led Tōin as their ace pitcher at the Japanese High School Baseball Invitational Tournament and Japanese High School Baseball Championship, where the school won both competitions.
Fujinami made his debut on March 31, 2013, the third game of the season and the earliest-ever appearance by a rookie drafted out of high school. Fujinami recorded the loss by pitching six innings and allowing both runs in a 2-0 loss against the Tokyo Yakult Swallows at Jingu Stadium.
Fujinami was due to make his second start on April 7 against the Hiroshima Toyo Carp but was replaced as the starter by Minoru Iwata, who was unable to pitch in the rained-out game the day before. Fujinami instead made his next appearance as a relief pitcher. Fujinami made his second start on April 14 against the Yokohama DeNA BayStars and recorded his first professional win, pitching six scoreless innings. Fujinami was the fifth pitcher drafted out of high school in NPB history to record his first pro victory the year after they won a Koshien tournament and the first in that group to also record their first pro victory at Koshien Stadium. He is also the first pitcher out of high school in franchise history to record their first pro victory at Koshien and the first CL rookie out of high school to record ten or more victories in a season since Yutaka Enatsu in 1967.
Fujinami quickly gained popularity and was the leading vote getter amongst Central League starting pitchers for the 2013 NPB All-Star Series, with more than 96,000 votes. Fujinami started the second game of the All-Star series and pitched two scoreless innings. In the top of the sixth inning, he played a prank on Nippon Ham's Sho Nakata, a former senior at Osaka Tōin, by throwing 2 very slow balls over his head, which prompted Nakata to throw his bat and jokingly take a few steps toward the mound. Fujinami ended up striking out Nakata.
He finished his rookie year at 10-6, with 125 strikeouts and a 2.75 ERA in 23 starts.
Fujinami pitched his first career complete game in a July 15 contest against the Dragons with a 13-strikeout effort and only a single run allowed. During a September 15 game against the Carp at Koshien, he hit 157 km/h (98 mph) on the radar gun and set a new personal high and tied the franchise high for velocity. Tomoyuki Kubota set the original record on June 21, 2005. Four days later, he earned his 10th victory of the season and became the first pitcher out of high school to record double-digit wins in his first two NPB seasons since Daisuke Matsuzaka in 1999–2000 (16 and 14 wins). The last pitcher to accomplish the feat in the Central League (and in franchise history) was Yutaka Enatsu in 1967–1968 (12 and 25 wins). In the same game, he recorded his sixth RBI of the season, tying Tetsuro Kawajiri's 1996 record of RBIs by a Hanshin pitcher.
Fujinami totaled 11 victories for the season, with an ERA of 3.53 and 172 strikeouts in 163 innings. His fastball averaged 149.7 km/h, according to Data Stadium, second only to Shohei Otani's 152.5 km/h among starters, and he had a 8.2 swinging strike percentage. While his cutter boasts an 18.7% swinging strike rate, his forkball generated an even higher rate of 26.0%, with batters hitting .222 off it. His 2.81 fielding independent pitching (FIP) average was the best in the Central League, while his batting average on balls in play was .335, nearly 30 points above the league average.
2015 marked Fujinami's most successful season yet. His 221 strikeouts led the league by a wide margin. (Teammate Randy Messenger finished second with 194.) Fujinami also led the league with 7 complete games and 4 shutouts after recording just 2 complete games and no shutouts in his first two seasons. He finished tied for second in the league with 14 wins (in 28 starts) against just 7 losses. His 2.40 ERA ranked fifth in the Central League. He also set several career bests in 2015, including starts, innings (199), wins, ERA, complete games, shutouts, strikeouts, and strikeouts per 9 innings (10.0).
Fujinami is a 6 ft 6 in, 200 lb. right-handed pitcher. With a three-quarters delivery, he throws a fastball at 92-95 mph (tops out at 98 mph), a splitter, and a solid mid-80's slider. He mostly uses his fastball-slider combination in games.
- "Tigers rookie Fujinami makes history but loses debut". The Japan Times. 2013-04-01. Retrieved 2014-07-12.
- "Tigers rookie Fujinami makes history but loses debut". The Japan Times. 1 April 2013. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
- "仰天指令!! 虎 藤浪, 中継ぎスタンバイ(Astounding Order! Tigers' Fujinami on relief standby)". =Sankei Sports. 7 April 2013. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
- "藤浪がプロ初救援で2イニング1失点(Fujinami allows 1 run in 2 innings in pro relief debut)". Nikkan Sports News. 8 July 2013. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
- "虎・藤浪、聖地でプロ初勝利！スクイズも決めた (Fujinami's first pro win at the holy land)". Sanspo Web (Sankei Sports). 2013-04-14. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
- "藤浪 ６回零封初勝利 ウイニングボールは「両親に」". Sports Nippon. 2013-04-15.
- "藤浪 10勝目！江夏以来46年ぶりのセ新人２桁勝利". =Sports Nippon. 2013-08-31.
- "Fujinami tops fan votes for All-Star series". The Japan Times. 1 April 2013. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
- "藤浪危険球？中田先輩と乱闘コント(Fujinami pitches a dangerous ball to his senior Nakata)". Nikkan Sports (Nikkan Sports). 2013-07-21. Retrieved 2014-07-12.
- "MVP Arai, solid pitching guide CL All-Stars to Game 2 victory". The Japan Times. 2013-07-20. Retrieved 2014-07-12.
- "Tigers’ Fujinami may be ready to roar". The Japan Times. 2015-03-07. Retrieved 2015-04-27.
- "Fujinami strikes out 13, notches first career complete game". The Japan Times. 2013-04-01. Retrieved 2014-07-12.
- "阪神 藤浪で連敗脱出 気合の自己最速157キロ、甲子園初完投". Sports Nippon. 13 September 2014.
- "Daily Sports 9/13/2014". Daily Sports. 13 September 2014.
- "松坂以来１４年ぶり！藤浪、高卒１年目から２年連続２桁勝利". Sports Nippon. 19 September 2014.
- "Scouts Split On Japan's Shohei Otani, Shintaro Fujinami". baseballamerica.com. Retrieved 2014-02-26.
- "幸運・不運だった投手は 統計学的にプロ野球分析". Nihon Keizai Shimbun (Nihon Keizai Shimbun). 2014-11-12. Retrieved 2014-11-12.
- "阪神藤浪出たっ 自己最速157キロ". nikkansports.com (Nikkan Sports). 2014-09-12. Retrieved 2014-09-15.