Thursday, October 20, 2016
Seibu Lions land Koshien champion Tatsuya Imai in 2016 NPB Draft
The Saitama Seibu Lions chose to go with probability over talent in the first round, selecting Tatsuya Imai with their draft pick. There was no opposition, leading to no lottery for the fourth consecutive draft.
Imai was the 2016 Koshien champion with Sakushin Gakuin going the whole way. Traditionally, Sakushin Gakuin players do not go to the pros immediately after high school baseball, but Imai bucked the trend and declared after being a champion and upping his stock.
Seigi Tanaka, the consensus "best player available" was selected by five teams, where the Softbank Hawks landed him with the help of Kimiyasu Kudo taking the draw. The Lions played it safe and went with a player they had a better chance of landing instead.
We here at Graveyard Baseball had him as the No. 3 pitcher on our draft board and felt he was the best high school arm of the bunch. There will be plenty of things to dissect with more film study, but we're both satisfied with this pick.
The Lions also took a pitcher in Shunta Nakatsuka who can play immediately as he was a college arm. In the third round, they took an infielder named Sosuke Genda, who is billed as a speedy shortstop with adequate defense. If both Genda and Nakatsuka can contribute in 2017, the Lions would be in good shape for both the long and short term.
Imai is a pick we will have to be patient on, but it makes sense based on the film study we saw. In total, the Lions took four pitchers, one outfielder and one infielder to complete their 2016 draft class.
Here is the full list of players taken:
RHP Tatsuya Imai (Sakushin Gakuin)
RHP Shunta Nakatsuka (Hakuo University)
IF Sosuke Genda (Toyota Motors)
OF Shohei Suzuki (Shizuoka HS)
RHP Katsunori Hirai (Honda Motors)
RHP Ichiro Tamura (Rikkyo University)
We will have plenty of studying to do, but this is what will be the future of Lions baseball. Until then, further analysis will come soon.
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Posted by Christian Gin at 3:24 AM