Sunday, October 23, 2016

Translation: Lions' office speaks on each 2016 NPB draft pick

The 2016 NPB Draft concluded with the Saitama Seibu Lions taking six players. They selected no one in the ikusei round.

With the draft being over, the Lions released information on each pick through their website. This page also includes a quote from a Lions scout on every player taken.

Senior Director Hisanobu Watanabe (Nabe-Q) also spoke about the Lions' first round pick immediately after they landed the rights to Tatsuya Imai. He was asked prior to the second round of the draft. Here is what they had to say:

Nabe-Q's Transcript:

On the odds of successfully winning Imai in the first round: 

"We were expecting some other teams to also pick him, which luckily did not happen and I feel great." 


What is your evaluation of Tatsuya Imai?

"Even though he is a high school player, I see him close to contributing immediately. Overall, there are quite a few players with potential this year. He may play with the ichi-gun team earlier than we expect. In many ways, we evaluate him as a No.1 pitcher."


What is your hope on how Imai will be developed? 

"I hope he will be a pitcher representing the Lions in the future and I believe he has the talent to be the one."


What are your thoughts of second round and beyond? (The interview was right after the first round) 

"We are hoping to take players with a focus on being well-balanced, but for now, I feel great to take a very good pitcher in the first round." 


Are you satisfied with how the draft started? 



Nabe-Q spoke after the draft saying that it was a "unanimous" decision to take Imai without hesitation. He also thinks Sosuke Genda can compete immediately.  

Scout's take on each Lions draft pick:

P Tatsuya Imai: 

"He has strong instantaneous velocity. This includes a great fastball with high spin thrown by well-snapped arm. He's expected to be a future ace."


P Shunta Nakatsuka:

"His strong point is his fastball (maximum of 157km/h) with a large difference in size compared to the rest, he can take advantage of his of height. He's a pitcher with great physical potential." 


IF Sosuke Genda:

"He's the best infielder in the industrial league with great defense and base running. [He can be an] immediate contributor by taking advantage of his defense capability."


OF Shohei Suzuki:

"Suzuki is a well balanced [speed, hitting and defense] for a highschool player, with potential to be a regular player. He's expected to be a future leadoff hitter."


P Katsunori Hirai:

"Hirai is an aggressive pitcher with a spinning fastball and slider. He can contribute as a reliever."


P Ichiro Tamura: 

"He's a power pitcher with an appealing presence. Has a powerful fastball and has a strong mentality too."


Special thanks goes to @Shiba_scope and Mizuho Miyazaki for translation help.  


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