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Masanori Ishikawa

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Masanori Ishikawa (石川 雅規)

BR minors page


Masanori Ishikawa has been both a Rookie of the Year and ERA leader in Japan.

Contents

[edit] Amateur Career

Ishikawa was a top pitcher in college, being named MVP as a sophomore; that year, he once pitched all 18 innings in a game. He finished up his collegiate career with a 23-8, 1.63 record. While in college, he pitched for the Japanese national team. He played for Japan in the 2000 Olympics, tossing 3 2/3 shutout innings out of the bullpen.

In the 2001 Asian Championship, Masanori was named the All-Star pitcher even though Japan only won a Bronze Medal. He was picked by the Yakult Swallows in the first round of the draft that year.

[edit] Rookie Season

Ishikawa was put in Yakult's rotation right away, even though the club was fresh off a trip to the 2001 Japan Series. He was 12-9 with a 3.33 ERA as a rookie in 2002 and was named the Central League Rookie of the Year. He tied Trey Moore for 9th in the CL in ERA as Yakult's #2 starter behind Shugo Fujii.

The little left-hander was the first Rookie of the Year from Akita Prefecture since the CL and Pacific League had been created back in 1950.

[edit] 2003-2007: Ups and downs

Ishikawa fell to 12-11, 3.79 as a still-reliable pitcher in 2003. He was 8th in the league in ERA, tied Shigeki Noguchi for 3rd in losses, tied Masafumi Hirai for 6th in wins and was 4th in innings (190). He led the league in both hits allowed (201) and earned runs allowed (80, tied with Domingo Guzman).

Masanori had a 11-11, 4.35 record in 2004 with a league-worst 200 hits in 163 innings but only walked 22. He tied Jason Beverlin and Kei Igawa for second in the circuit in defeats, was 4th in innings (163 1/3), tied John Bale for 5th in wins and was second in earned runs allowed (79, 4 behind Igawa).

Ishikawa was used as Yakult's Opening Day starter in 2005 and got a win. For the season, he was 10-8 with a 4.87 ERA, allowing a .301 average but walking only 24 in 149 2/3 IP. He was 4th in the CL in hits surrendered (180) and tied Ken Takahashi for second in earned runs allowed (81, trailing only Kan Otake.

In 2006, the Akita native again won a start on Opening Day. He finished the year 10-10 with a 4.53 ERA and a .310 opponent average; he walked only 17 in 151 innings. He made the CL All-Star team that season. For the year, he tied for 5th in losses (with Rick Guttormson and Jeremy Powell), was third in hits allowed (191, behind Daisuke Miura and Powell) and tied Kazuhisa Ishii for 4th in runs allowed (82). He became the third NPB pitcher to reach double-digit wins his first five years as a pro.

Ishikawa was 4-7 with a 4.38 ERA in 2007.

[edit] 2008: Top of the league

Ishikawa was 12-10 in 2008 with a 2.68 ERA. His opponent average fell for the second straight year, now down to .250. He won the start on Opening Day. He edged Colby Lewis for the league lead in ERA, 2.676 to 2.679. He was also among the leaders in innings (195, 2nd to Seth Greisinger), wins (tied for 4th), losses (tied for 6th), complete games (3, tied for 2nd), strikeouts (112, tied for 5th with Kenshin Kawakami), homers allowed (21, 1 behind Miura) and hits allowed (180, 3rd behind Greisinger and Otake).

Ishikawa won a Gold Glove, the first Yakult pitcher ever to take home that honor.

[edit] 2009- : present

Ishikawa finally lost an Opening Day start in 2009, his 4th start on Opening Day. He had a 13-7, 3.54 record for the year. He led the league in innings (198), tied for 4th in wins, led in hits allowed (203), second in homers allowed (25, behind Miura), led in earned runs allowed (78) and was third in runs allowed (81). He had gone from leading in ERA one year to leading in earned runs allowed the next.

Ishikawa throws a fastball (low to mid-80s, tops out at 89 mph), screwball (the best breaking ball of his package), slider, shuuto (two-seamer), and cutter.


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