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Sugano with the Yomiuri Giants
|Yomiuri Giants – No. 19|
October 11, 1989 |
Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan
|NPB: 2013 for the Yomiuri Giants|
|Earned run average||2.74|
|Yomiuri Giants (2013–present)|
In 2010, he recorded the fastest pitch by a Japanese college pitcher at 157 km/h (98 mph).
2011 NPB draft
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. 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.
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. The Fighters did admit to having intentionally kept their intention to draft Sugano unannounced, and apologized for the surprise and the commotion they caused.
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. 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. Only two players in NPB history have turned down the Fighters: Shinji Kuroda in 1976 and Ikuo Takayama in 1980.
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.
Nippon Professional Baseball career
His wish to join the Giants was finally realized when he was selected as their first pick in 2012.
His fastball velocity was down since the beginning of his professional career. His fastball topped out at 153 km/h (95 mph) in his first two NPB seasons (2013 to 2014). The Giants confirmed that he had a tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow during the 2014 season.
- "菅野フリー初登板、大田に18球(Sugano Furii Hatsutōban, Ōta ni 18 Kyu)". Nikkan Sports. 2013-02-13.
- "菅野、五輪出たい！ハワイで受賞の吉報「来年は日本一に貢献」". Sports Hochi. 2014-12-10.
- "No changes to draft, posting system forthcoming says NPB commissioner". The Japan Times. 2012-04-16.
- "原監督、競合「突然だった」／ドラフト". Nikkan Sports. 2011-10-28.
- "菅野父も戸惑い「ドラフト制度を否定するわけじゃないけど…」". Sponichi Annex. 2011-10-28.
- "【日本ハム】菅野強行を東海大監督に謝罪". Nikkan Sports. 2011-10-28.
- "Pitcher Sugano says he won't play for Fighters". The Asahi Shimbun. 2011-11-22.
- "菅野浪人決断ハム拒否 巨人愛貫き通す". Nikkan Sports. 2011-11-04.
- "過去１位拒否は25人、浪人は江川、元木". Nikkan Sports. 2011-11-21.
- "菅野 日本ハム拒否 社会人に行かず１年留年で巨人入り目指す". Sponichi Annex. 2011-11-21.
- "菅野投手ら新入団７選手 ファンに初お披露目". Giants News. 2012-11-23.
- "巨人ドラ１小林、猛打賞＆盗塁２度阻止". Nikkan Sports. 2014-04-11.
- "菅野、ＭＶＰ＆３年目最高１・１億円！Ｗセ界一快挙も「満足していない". Sports Hochi. 2014-11-27.
- NPB stats
- Nippon Professional Baseball career statistics from Japanesebaseball.com