Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Report: Lions announce Tajima as 2017 first round draft pick nomination

The Saitama Seibu Lions announced their draft pick nomination on Wednesday for the 2017 NPB Draft. Senior Director Hisanobu "Nabe-Q" Watanabe said the team will go for LHP Daiki Tajima out of the industrial team known as JR East.

Tajima, 21, is viewed as the best pitcher in the 2017 NPB Draft. It was already reported that the Orix Buffaloes will go for him, meaning both teams will enter their first drawing since 2012, which was tied for the longest running drought in the NPB Draft.

Nabe-Q said in a statement that Tajima is the best pitcher available while also needing to reinforce a left handed starter. Last year, the Lions took four right handed pitchers in the 2016 NPB Draft.

Majority of NPB teams are expected to go for IF Kotaro Kiyomiya in the draft, but several teams are on the outside looking for other possibilities. The Softbank Hawks, Chiba Lotte Marines, Tokyo Yakult Swallows, Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, Hanshin Tigers and Yokohama DeNA Baystars are all linked to Kiyomiya.

Others have a preference in athleticism, where the Hiroshima Carp openly said they will not draft Kiyomiya. Most of the Japanese media speculates they will go for C Shosei Nakamura out of Koryo HS. The Chunichi Dragons are also linked to Nakamura.

The Rakuten Eagles and Yomiuri Giants have both been secretive about their draft nomination. Rakuten has been learning towards IF Hisanori Yasuda while the Giants are contemplating between Nakamura, Kiyomiya and Tajima.

Assuming the Carp, Tigers and Hawks do not take Tajima, the Lions will be the last to draw from the box when they go for Tajima with Orix and possibly any other team involved. By finishing in second place in the Pacific League, they have the 9th priority in waivers. Nabe-Q will be the representative to take the draw which he has no control over.

The 2017 NPB Draft begins at 4:00 a.m. ET (1:00 a.m. PT on Thursday, October 26 with an ikusei round starting shortly after. It will be interesting to see who is the future for all 12 NPB Teams.


Other note:

-Kento Sugiyama was announced as a ni-gun pitching coach for the Lions. He previously worked with the Lamigo Monkeys in Taiwan's CPBL.


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