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Travis Ishikawa

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Travis Takashi Ishikawa

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[edit] Biographical Information

Travis Ishikawa was named by some sources as the second Japanese-American player in Major League Baseball history, following Lenn Sakata and briefly edging Shane Komine. Don Wakamatsu is listed by some other sources.

In high school, Ishikawa had led his team to a state title as a junior and second place as a senior. Ishikawa was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 21st round of the 2002 amateur draft. He was signed by scout Matt Woodward and spent his first season in professional baseball with two teams - the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes (.307/.347/.386) and AZL Giants (.279/.364/.441, 7 for 7 in steal attempts). Baseball America rated him the #10 prospect in the Northwest League.

Travis split 2003 between Salem-Keizer (.254/.376/.391, 44 BB and 77 K in 66 G) and the Hagerstown Suns (.206/.329/.278 in 57 games). He led Northwest League first basemen in putouts (589), assists (55) and double plays (67) and tied Fernando Valenzuela Jr. for the error lead (11). He was ranked as the league's #18 prospect by Baseball America.

In 2004, the 20-year-old infielder hit .257/.357/.447 for Hagerstown (with 15 homers and 110 strikeouts) and .232/.353/.411 in 16 games with the San Jose Giants. Ishikawa spent all of 2005 with San Jose, where he batted .282/.387/.532. He struck out 129 times in 432 at-bats, but homered 22 times, had 7 triples, 87 runs, 79 RBI and 70 walks. Baseball America rated him as the best defensive first baseman in the California League, which he led in assists by a first baseman (98).

Ishikawa only hit .186/~.238/.271 for the Scottsdale Scorpions of the 2005 Arizona Fall League and .232/.316/.403 for the Connecticut Defenders in 2006, but still made his major league debut with the Giants that year, hitting a solid .292/.320/.500 in a small 12-game sample.

Normally a first baseman, Ishikawa was pressed into service as the Giants' starting left-fielder during the 2014 Postseason, because of an injury to regular Michael Morse. Although his defensive play was only mediocre, he got some key hits, none more important than the three-run walk-off homer he hit off Michael Wacha of the St. Louis Cardinals to break a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the 9th in Game 5 of the NLCS that sent the Giants to the 2014 World Series.

Sources: 2003-2007 Baseball Almanacs, MLB.com

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