Tomoyuki Sugano

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Tomoyuki Sugano
Giants sugano 19.jpg
Sugano with the Yomiuri Giants
Yomiuri Giants – No. 19
Pitcher
Born: (1989-10-11) October 11, 1989 (age 28)
Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan
Bats: Right Throws: Right
NPB debut
2013, for the Yomiuri Giants
NPB statistics
(through 2017)
Win-Loss 61-33
Earned run average 2.18
Strikeouts 763
WHIP 1.02
Teams
Career highlights and awards
Medal record
Men's baseball
Representing  Japan
2015 WBSC Premier12
Bronze medal – third place 2015 Tokyo Team

Tomoyuki Sugano (菅野 智之, Sugano Tomoyuki, born October 11, 1989, in Kanagawa Prefecture) is a Japanese professional baseball pitcher for the Yomiuri Giants in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball.[1]

College career[edit]

In 2010, he recorded the fastest pitch by a Japanese college pitcher at 157 km/h (98 mph).[2]

2011 NPB draft[edit]

Due to his performance as pitcher for Tokai University (37-4, 0.57 ERA), Sugano was a top pitching prospect for the October 2011 draft. Prior to the draft selection, he declared his desire to join the Yomiuri Giants and play under the guidance of his uncle, the present Giants manager Tatsunori Hara. It therefore came as a shock[to whom?] when the Fighters also decided to select him as their first pick.[3] The two teams fought it out via lottery, but the Fighters drew the lucky straw in the end, to the surprise and disappointment of Manager Hara and the Giants for they had assumed no other team would dare pick Sugano.[4]

Both Sugano's father and grandfather were disappointed because they were not notified of the Fighters' intention to draft him, the latter even quoted saying it was a violation of human rights.[5] The Fighters did admit to having intentionally kept their intention to draft Sugano unannounced, and apologized for the surprise and the commotion they caused.[6]

After long consideration and deliberation with his family, Sugano finally announced on November 21 his decision to turn down the Fighters' offer and instead take the year off and re-enter the 2012 draft. "I may be taking a longer route (to becoming a professional ballplayer), but my childhood dream (of playing for the Giants) was stronger," he said, hinting at his intention to wait until the Giants win the rights to negotiate with him.[7] He also mentioned that he wasn't as upset about not being informed by the Fighters ahead of time that they might select him, but rather because they promised they wouldn't select him.[8] Only two players in NPB history have turned down the Fighters: Shinji Kuroda in 1976 and Ikuo Takayama in 1980.[9][10]

Having no team to play for, he then stayed with Tokai University for another year using the "graduation postponement system" established for students who are unable to land post-graduation jobs while they are still in college. He was not allowed to play in Tokai's official games, but this did not sway him enough to join the Industrial League for it will take at least two years before he can be drafted again.[7]

Nippon Professional Baseball career[edit]

Sugano was selected as the Giants' first pick in 2012.[11]

Playing style[edit]

Although Sugano recorded the fastest pitch (98 mph) by a Japanese college pitcher, his fastball velocity was down since the beginning of his professional career. The Giants confirmed that he had ligament damage in his right elbow during the 2014 season.[12] After rehab he set a pro career-high 96 mph in 2016.[13]

With a three-quarters delivery Sugano throws two fastballs (four-seam, shuuto/sinker) sitting 91 mph, a solid slider, a curveball, and a forkball. He has excellent command, posting a BB/9 of 1.7 in his NPB career.

References[edit]

External links[edit]