Monday, January 25, 2021

Lions will partner with Baseball Challenge League team in 2021


The Saitama Seibu Lions announced a new joint venture to partner with the Saitama Musashi Heat Bears of the Baseball Challenge (BC) League on Tuesday. This partnership will last through the 2021 season. 

Details from this report indicate the Lions will send Shuichiro Osada to be a pitching coach and Kentaro Kato to be a trainer alongside the Heat Bears. 

Osada, 40, has been working with the Lions academy training baseball players at the youth level. He is remembered for being a pitcher for the Lions from 2003-2013 while also spending time with the Yokohama DeNA Baystars from 2013-2016. His last playing days came from the BC League with Niigata Albirex in 2017. 

The Lions can also send ikusei players to train with the Heat Bears. Currently, the Lions have a total of nine ikusei under contract. This includes Jiyu Okubo, Daichi Nakaguma, Toshihiro Idei and Aoi Tono. There are also five recent draft picks from last October including Yuto Akagami, Shinya Hasegawa, Joseph Miyamoto, Taishi Mameda and Yoshinobu Mizukami.

This isn't uncommon to work with an independent league, as the Softbank Hawks train their ikusei with the Shikoku Island League.  

With this partnership, the Lions also playing to have collaboration with the Heat Bears for community contribution activities in Saitama Prefecture through baseball. They'll also likely play some intrasquad games with the Lions ni-gun and Heat Bears. 

The Heat Bears are also a team that Koki Matsuoka played for prior to the Lions drafting him in 2019. Previously, the Lions had a partnership with the New York Mets from 2019-2020. 


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Saturday, January 23, 2021

2021 Seibu Lions spring training camp lists released


Baseball will be in full swing soon as NPB teams will be travelling to their designated camp sites in Okinawa and Miyazaki next month. The Saitama Seibu Lions announced their camp lists on who will be participating where for the time being.  

Here is the full list for both camps: 

A-Camp (Nango, Miyazaki)

Pitchers (17): Tatsuya Imai, Yutaro Watanabe, Kona Takahashi, Tatsushi Masuda, Tetsu Miyagawa, Wataru Matsumoto, Shota Hamaya, Ken Togame, Katsunori Hirai, Ryosuke Moriwaki, Yasuo Sano, Sho Ito, Ichiro Tamura, Hiroki Inoue, Mitsuo Yoshikawa, Kaima Taira, Towa Uema

Catchers (4): Tomoya Mori, Sena Tsuge, Shoya Makino, Hitoto Komazuki

Infielders (7): Kakeru Yamanobe, Shuta Tonosaki, Sosuke Genda, Brandon Tysinger, Haruka Yamada, Ryota Kawano, Takeya Nakamura

Outielders (7): Takumi Kuriyama, Yuji Kaneko, Fumikazu Kimura, Gakuto Wakabayashi, Masato Kumashiro, Junichiro Kishi, Wataru Takagi


B-Camp (Haruno, Kochi)

*B-Camp willstart in Tokorozawa from February 1-4 

Pitchers (19): Daisuka Matsuzaka, Takeru Sasaki, Tetsuya Utsumi, Ryuya Ogawa, Daiki Enokida, Kaito Yoza, Keisuke Honda, Koki Matsuoka, Shota Takekuma, Shunta Nakatsuka, Hiromasa Saito, Ren Ohmagari, Kaito Awatsu, Toshihiro Idei, Yuto Akagami, Taishi Mameda, Aoi Tono, Juyu Okubo, Yoshinobu Mizukami

Catchers (3): Masatoshi Okada, Masato Saito, Daichi Nakaguma

Infielders (7): Hotaka Yamakawa, Kento Watanabe, Ryusei Sato, Takayoshi Yamamura, Nien Ting Wu, Ryusei Tsunashima, Shinya Hasegawa

Outfielders (7): Shohei Suzuki, Manaya Nishikawa, "Aito" Takeda, Daisuke Togawa, Yuta Nakamigawa, Seiji Kawagoe, Joseph Miyamoto


The two large surprises from an earlier announcement were both Tysinger and Wakabayashi getting an ichi-gun camp look as rookies. Both players were taken in the middle rounds, yet Hatushiko Tsuji will have an up close view for both of them.  

Veterans Matsuzaka, Yamakawa and Utsumi are all under rehab and it appears Nakamura is healthy enough to not be in B-camp as a result. Among players with zero ichi-gun experience getting an A-camp appearance include Inoue, Uema, Y. Watanabe, Kawano and Makino. Should be interesting of one of them can make an impression with this opportunity. 


No Foreigners in camp

What also stands out is who isn't listed, with all foreign import players unable to be in Japan for camp due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Government regulations have been tight in Japan, even though some KBO players successfully got to South Korea early for a quarantine. 

For the Lions, they will be one of multiple NPB teams to have their imports train from home and have multiple calls/conferences online. Ernesto Mejia, Reed Garrett, Cory Spangenberg and Zach Neal all have experience, but it becomes an uphill battle for new signing Matt Dermody. The Lions are also prepared for a possible Opening Day on March 26 in the event they have no foreigners.  


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Thursday, January 21, 2021

Seibu Lions sign pitcher Matt Dermody



The offseason has been slow for both MLB and NPB with two posted players not signing with a club. However, the Saitama Seibu Lions made a move for the first time in two months as they signed P Matt Dermody on Thursday. 

"I am very honored to be a member of Saitama Seibu Lions," Dermody said in a statement. "My biggest goal is to contribute to the team so that the Lions can be the best in Japan."

General Manager Hisanobu "Nabe-Q" Watanabe said he has expectations for Dermody to be a rotation starter. Despite having several appearances as a reliever in the minors, Nabe-Q thinks he can be a power pitcher. 

Dermody, 30, spent most of 2020 with the Sugarland Skeeters (Now an AAA affiliate of the Houston Astros) in an independent league, where he pitched 17.2 innings with four starts, five appearances. It was during this time he was also teammates with former Seibu Lions pitcher Kyle Martin. 

He was able to sign with the Chicago Cubs later in the year and made one MLB appearance pitching only one scoreless frame. Dermody was designated for assignment and brought back on a minor league deal before he was outright released to allow him to join the Lions. 

Majority of Dermody's career has been with the Toronto Blue Jays organization, where he only made it to MLB in 2016 and 2017 having a combined two wins and 25.1 innings pitched in those years. He was drated a combined four different times, once out of high school and three times out of college. After his junior year, the Arizona Diamondbacks took him in the 23rd round, but chose not to sign him for a fear of Tommy John surgery and potential UCL damage. 

Dermody is the only foreign addition for the Lions in this offseason. Previously, they let Sean Nolin go and added Mitsuo Yoshikawa. With the Lions lacking left-handed pitching depth, Dermody hopes to be a regular at the ichi-gun level. Five imports should be allowed on the ichi-gun roster with only four given permission in an active game, allowing Dermody and Zach Neal to trade spots as starting pitchers. 


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