Shun Takayama (髙山 俊)
- Bats Left, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 189 lb.
Shun Takayama has been a Central League Rookie of the Year winner.
Takayama played in the 2015 Universiade. He hit .324 and made six Best Nine selections in college. His 131 hits were a Tokyo Big Six University League record, breaking Shigeru Takada's record, which was almost 50 years old. The Hanshin Tigers and Yakult Swallows both picked him with their first selections of the 2015 NPB draft, Hanshin winning the lottery rights to sign him.
Takayama started in left field on Opening Day, 2016, hitting lead off. He singled off Yudai Ono for his first NPB hit and was 1-for-4 for the game. Six days later, he led off with a homer off Kyle Davies; the last Hanshin rookie to hit a lead-off homer for his first career dinger was Tomochika Tsuboi in 1998. He was the third rookie in the two-league era to hit a leadoff homer in the top of the first for their first career shot, following Yuki Miyazaki and Seiya Suzuki. He was only the second NPB rookie and first in the two-league era to hit their first career homer on the first pitch of a game, following Yoshito Fujino in 1944.
He started the 2016 NPB All-Star Game 1 for the CL in right field, hitting 8th. His single off Takahiro Norimoto in the 5th was the game's first single, following three home runs; he followed with a steal of second and ended the game 1 for 4. He finished the game in LF, moving over from Suzuki replaced starting left fielder Yoshitomo Tsutsugo in the lineup, Suzuki taking right. He was the first rookie to get a hit in a NPB All-Star Game since Kosuke Fukudome in 1999. Later that same game, though, Yasutaka Tobashira got a hit, making them the first pair of rookies with hits in the same NPB All-Star Game. In Game 2, he pinch-ran for Tsutusgo and finished the day in left, going 0 for 1.
Takayama broke Tsuboi's Hanshin franchise record for hits by a rookie. He finished the season at .275/.316/.391. His five triples tied Tomotaka Sakaguchi for 4th in the Central League. He won the 2016 Central League Rookie of the Year Award handily, with 220 votes to 32 for the next player, Shota Imanage.