From BR Bullpen
Tomoya Yagi (八木 智哉)
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 5' 11", Weight 172 lb.
- School Soka University
Tomoya Yagi is a former Pacific League Rookie of the Year.
Yagi started off his professional career with the Nippon Ham Fighters in 2006. He went 12-8 with a 2.48 ERA and .220 opponent average. He won Rookie of the Year honors and made the Pacific League All-Star team. Tomoya was third in the PL in ERA behind Kazumi Saitoh and Daisuke Matsuzaka, ahead of fellow Nippon Ham youngster Yu Darvish among others. Yagi's first start was on March 31 - he went on to a win. Just two weeks later, he turned in a dazzling outing, throwing a 10-inning no-hitter against the Softbank Hawks. Micheal Nakamura and Hisashi Takeda each followed with a no-hit inning for the first combined no-hitter in Nippon Pro Baseball in 65 years. It was also the longest no-hitter in NPB history. For the season, he tied Darvish and Hideaki Wakui for fifth in the PL in wins, was 8th in innings (170 2/3), tied for 9th in losses (with Tom Davey), tied Tsuyoshi Wada for third in shutouts (3), tied for 7th in complete games (5) and was 6th in walks (51).
Yagi's excellent rookie campaign continued into the playoffs. In the decisive game five of the Pacific League Climax Series, the southpaw dueled Saitoh evenly for eight shutout innings before the Fighters scored in the ninth to advance to the 2006 Japan Series. In game two of the 2006 Japan Series, Yagi allowed solo homers to Hirokazu Ibata and Kosuke Fukudome but those were the only runs in six innings as he got the win. It was his lone appearance of the Series as Nippon Ham took its first PL title ever.
Yagi was 4-6 with a 4.54 ERA in 2007 as he battled shoulder pain and he did not pitch in the 2007 Japan Series. His left shoulder got even worse in 2008 when he made two starts and was 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA.
Tomoya bounced back in 2009 with a 9-3, 2.88 campaign. Had he qualified, he would have been sixth in the PL in ERA. He was a solid #2 starter behind Darvish as Nippon Ham returned to the Japan Series.