Shingo Takatsu (Mr. Zero)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 180 lb.
- Debut April 9, 2004
- Final Game October 2, 2005
- Born November 25, 1968 in Hiroshima, Hiroshima, Japan
Shingo Takatsu pitched in the majors in 2004-05, finishing second in the 2004 American League in the Rookie of the Year voting. He has also had a long career in Japan and as of 2009 is pitching for the Fresno Grizzlies.
He helped the Japanese national team win the Silver Medal in the 1990 Goodwill Games. The Tokyo Yakult Swallows drafted him in 1990 and he made his debut the following year. Takatsu would pitch for the Swallows for 13 years amassing 260 saves (breaking the record previously held by Kazuhiro Sasaki). The record was broken in 2011 by Hitoki Iwase. He earned the nickname "Mr. Zero" by not surrendering any runs in 10 Nippon Series games.
In 2004, he signed with the Chicago White Sox, and during the season he would become the team's closer and save 19 games. He was a sensation for the Sox and finished second in the American League Rookie of the Year Award voting.
The next year, he struggled early in the season. While he had a number of successful outings, he also had a few times where he was bombed and that hurt his ERA. Although he started the season as the White Sox closer and had a number of saves early in the season, it didn't take long before manager Ozzie Guillen replaced him as stopper with Dustin Hermanson. Takatsu had a 5.97 ERA for the Sox. By August, he had long since fallen out of favor with the club and was released. He then signed on with the New York Mets where he pitched in only 9 games before he returned to the Swallows in 2006. With Yakult, he went 1-2 with a club-leading 13 saves and a 2.74 ERA in 48 appearances; he took over the closer role when Hirotoshi Ishii was injured.
In the first 2007 NPB All-Star Game, Takatsu teamed with Koji Uehara, Masanori Hayashi, Atsushi Kizuka, Hitoki Iwase, Hiroki Kuroda , Tomoyuki Kubota, Marc Kroon and Kyuji Fujikawa to one-hit the Pacific League in a 4-0 win. It was not a good year overall for Takatsu, though, as he was 0-5 with 13 saves and a 6.17 ERA in 25 games. Yakult released him following the season.
Takatsu signed a minor league deal with the Chicago Cubs for 2008, but was released in spring training. He then moved to South Korea, signing with the Woori Heroes in June. He debuted on June 24, allowing one run in one inning and getting a hold. He had a 0.86 ERA in 18 games, going 1-0 with 8 saves in the Korea Baseball Organization.
The Heroes did not bring Takatsu back for 2009. In June, he signed a minor league deal with the San Francisco Giants. He was 0-1 with a 6.87 ERA in 14 games for the Fresno Grizzlies then was released.
Takatsu's next stop was Taiwan, signing with the Sinon Bulls for 2010 and debuting on March 23. When he saved a game eight days later, he became the first player with saves in MLB, NPB, the KBO and the Chinese Professional Baseball League. He had a great year, going 1-2 with 26 saves and a 1.88 ERA. He was second to Ryan Cullen in saves.