Katsuhiro Nagakawa (永川 勝浩)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 205 lb.
Nagakawa was a first-round pick by the Hiroshima Carp out of college. He debuted in 2003, going 3-3 with 25 svaes and a 3.89 ERA. In 41 2/3 innings, he struck out 50. The rookie made the Central League All-Star team. He tied Jeff Williams for second in the CL in saves, trailing only Shingo Takatsu.
In 2004, the right-hander collapsed, going 3-4 with 4 saves and a 7.99 ERA. He gave up 10 home runs in just 41 2/3 innings and Kan Otake replaced him as the Hiroshima closer. In 2005, John Bale became the closer while Nagakawa improved in a relief role (3-5, 2 Sv, 3.13, 79 K in 69 IP).
Nagakawa took the closer job back from Bale in 2006 and excelled. He went 5-6 with 27 saves and a 1.66 ERA. In 70 2/3 innings, he allowed only 45 hits for a .180 average. His 75 appearances tied Takeharu Kato for the league lead. He made his second CL All-Star squad and tied Marc Kroon for second in the league in saves, trailing only Hitoki Iwase.
In 2007, the Carp closer went 4-7 with 31 saves and a 3.08 ERA in 61 games. He fanned 74 in 61 2/3 innings and allowed a .225 average. He tied Kroon for 4th in the circuit in games saves. Nagakawa had another great year in 2008, going 4-1 with 38 saves and a 1.77 ERA. He gave up a scant 33 hits in 61 innings and struck out 64 batters. Opponents hit just .158 against him. He tied Kyuji Fujikawa for second in saves, behind only Kroon.
Nagakawa was on Japan's provisional roster for the 2009 World Baseball Classic.