Hiroshi Nagatomi (長冨 浩志)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 198 lb.
Hiroshi Nagatomi pitched for 16 seasons in Nippon Pro Baseball, making one All-Star team.
Nagatomi was taken in the third round of the 1983 draft by the Lotte Orions. He decided not to sign and played in Japan's industrial leagues. He was the Japanese national team's most-used hurler in the 1984 Amateur World Series, going 4-1 with a 2.48 ERA and 32 strikeouts to 6 walks in 40 innings. Despite this performance, he did not remain with Japan for the 1984 Olympics. He tied Nicaragua's Julio Moya for the Series lead in wins and was third in whiffs behind Julio Romero and Sheng-Hsiung Chuang. In the 1985 Intercontinental Cup, he starred again at 3-0, and was the only All-Star on the Bronze Medal winners. He joined Korean Ki-bum Kim as the All-Star hurlers, while beating out Cuban José Alemán, who still claimed tournament MVP honors. Nagatomi, Kim and Alemán tied for the Cup lead in wins.
Following his amateur stardom, he was picked in the first round of the 1985 draft by the Hiroshima Carp. He did not let them down as a rookie, going 10-2 with two saves, a 3.04 ERA, .227 opponent average and 1.05 WHIP in 1986, including a 8-game winning streak. He fanned 124 while walking only 28 in 121 1/3 IP. He was named the Central League Rookie of the Year. Had he qualified, he would have been 8th in the league in ERA. He was 1-1 with a 1.80 ERA in the 1986 Japan Series, beating Taigen Kaku and the Seibu Lions in game three. With Hiroshima up, 3 games to 2 with one tie, he started again in game seven but lost a 3-1 decision to Hirohisa Matsunuma. The Carp dropped game eight as well and have not won another Japan Series as of 2011.
The right-hander fell to 5-6, 3.38 in 1987 and 5-7, 4.27 in 1988. In 1989, the Funabashi native made his only All-Star team. He finished the campaign 10-9 with a 3.46 ERA and 155 K in 166 2/3 IP. He did lead the CL in wild pitches (9) and homers allowed (22). He was effective again for the Carp in 1990 and had a 11-11, 3.52 season. He was 10th in the league in ERA. The team's Opening Day starter in 1991, he fell to 5-6, 4.82 while celebrating his 30th birthday.
Nagatomi turned in a 11-10, 4.56 season in 1992 and only 4-8, 5.22 in 1993 with 52 walks in 108 2/3 innings. He served up 22 gopher balls, most in the CL. The fading veteran ended his Hiroshima career in 1994, going 2-5 with a 5.21 ERA and .299 opponent average.
Moving to the Nippon Ham Fighters in a trade for future Olympian Takuya Kimura, he switched to a three-quarters delivery and moved to relief. He had a good first year with the new style and role, going 7-7 with two saves and a 2.62 ERA in 44 games, though he did walk 37 in 75 2/3 innings. He only allowed two homers. He was back having trouble the next year, going 1-2 with two saves and a 5.36 ERA. In 1997, he did well for the Fighters (2-0, 2.26, 1.11 WHIP in 56 G). Only Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi had more appearances for Nippon Ham and no one had a better ERA.
Nippon Ham sold the resurgent hurler to the Daiei Hawks and he returned to an over-the-top delivery. He saved 3 games and had a 1.29 ERA and .194 opponent average in 21 innings over 33 outings in 1998. In 1999, he only made nine appearances and struggled (2-1, 7.27, .394 opponent average). He was back in a regular short relief role in 2000 and was 1-1 with a 2.00 ERA and 1.00 WHIP over 27 innings and 38 games. He made his second Japan Series, relieving in game 2 with a 1-2-3 inning but Daiei fell to the Yomiuri Giants in six. Winding down, he was 1-2 with a 3.68 ERA in 26 games in 2001 to end his playing career.
Nagatomi was 77-77 with 10 saves, a 3.84 ERA and 1.34 WHIP in 464 games (161 starts) in NPB. He struck out 1,045 in 1,361 innings. He hit .154/.183/.199 with one homer in 331 AB. His fastball peaked at 94 mph and he also was noted for his slider.
Source: Japan Baseball Daily