From BR Bullpen
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 5' 8", Weight 187 lb.
- School Senshu University
- High School Numazu Gakuen High School
- Born December 12, 1968 in Numazu, Shizuoka Japan
A member of Japan's bronze-medal-winning team in the 1992 Olympics, pitcher Kento Sugiyama was the first-round draft pick of the Seibu Lions that year. He went 7-2 with five saves and a 2.80 ERA as a rookie in 1993. He appeared in a Pacific League-high 54 games, struck out 82 and walked 29 in 74 innings. The lefty reliever was named the PL's Rookie of the Year for his performance.
Sugiyama followed up that year with a 4-2, 6 Sv, 3.56 season, in which he again struck out over a batter per inning. He was selected to his only All-Star team that year. He only pitched in 28 games in 1995, going 3-0 with two saves and a 3.12 ERA, striking out 30 and walking only 6 in 34 2/3 IP.
Kento might have been injured in '95, which would explain his reduced playing time and his decline in performance afterwards. He was 0-2, 3 Sv, 4.39 in 1996 and 1-1, 5.52 in 1997. Used now as a LOOGY, Sugiyama pitched in 70 games but only lasted 41 1/3 IP. He still fanned 46, but also walked 26.
In 1998, the LOOGY usage increased as he worked only 18 innings in 44 outings. He saved one game, had no decisions and a 2.50 ERA, but was over a hit per inning for the first time. Moving to the Hanshin Tigers in June 1999, Sugiyama made nine starts and only 7 relief appearances in a change of roles. He went 2-4 with a 5.07 ERA that season, struck out 39 in 49 2/3 innings and had a WHIP of 1.54 as he was clearly in decline.
The 2000 season had Kento giving up two baserunners per inning and yielding a 6.17 ERA while losing his only decision; he joined the Kintetsu Buffaloes in May of that season. In 2001, Sugiyama was 0-1, 4.76 for Kintetsu and the Yokohama BayStars.
Overall, Sugiyama was 17-13 with 17 saves and a 3.91 ERA in his Nippon Pro Baseball career. He threw 317 1/3 innings in 333 games, striking out 295, walking 126 and allowing 318 hits.