Kiyoshi Toyoda (豊田 清)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 180 lb.
Kiyoshi Toyoda has been both a starter and a reliever in a fine career in Nippon Pro Baseball.
Toyoda won 29 games in college and was picked in the third round of the 1992 draft by the Seibu Lions. He made his NPB debut in 1995, allowing one run in six innings. In 1996, Kiyoshi was 5-5 with a 3.08 ERA. He went 10-6 in 1997 with an ERA of 2.93 and only 128 hits in 150 2/3 IP. He was 4th in the Pacific League in ERA, trailing Satoru Komiyama, Akira Okamoto and Tetsuya Shiozaki. He also tied Hideo Koike and Kip Gross for the PL lead with 3 shutouts. He made his only PL All-Star team. He developed shoulder problems that year, though, and wound up having surgery.
Toyoda made a comeback in 1998 with a 4-2, 4.35 record in 7 outings. He allowed 3 runs in 4 1/3 innings in game two of the 1998 Japan Series, losing to Takashi Saito. In 1999, Toyoda went 10-4 with a 3.89 ERA and walked only 16 in 122 2/3 IP. He was 5-0 with a save and a 3.80 ERA in 2000.
Toyoda was converted to relief following the 2000 campaign. In 2001, he was 5-3 with 28 saves and a 2.83 ERA, striking out 58 in 47 2/3 IP. He made his second All-Star team. He was even better in 2002, when he made his third All-Star squad. He finished with a 6-1 record and 38 saves, allowing just 32 hits and 3 walks in 57 1/3 innings while whiffing 66. He had a 0.78 ERA. He broke the PL record for saves (co-held by Akinori Otsuka and Rodney Pedraza with 35) and save points and was named Fireman of the Year. Despite his dominance, he barely led the PL in saves as Masahide Kobayashi closed out 37 of his club's wins. Micheal Nakamura would break his save record in 2006. The Seibu closer saw little work in the 2002 Japan Series when his club was swept, tossing one shutout inning.
Toyoda was dominating in 2003 as well with a 2-3, 38 save performance with a 1.24 ERA. In 58 innings, he struck out 54, allowed 37 hits and 9 walks. He made his 4th All-Star team. He was again the Fireman of the Year. In 2004, he went 5-1 with 11 saves and a 0.98 ERA; in 36 2/3 innings, he allowed 26 hits and 5 walks while striking out 39. Toyoda allowed 2 runs in 4 innings in the 2004 Japan Series and registered three saves as the Lions won the Series.
In 2005, Toyoda slumped with a 3-1 record, 19 saves and a 3.97 ERA. The next year, Kiyoshi signed with the Yomiuri Giants as a free agent and was 1-4 with 13 saves and a 3.32 ERA, fanning 46 in 38 innings. He was better than Yomiuri's other closer option, Hisanori Takahashi.
Toyoda went 2-5 with 4 saves and a 3.38 ERA in 2007, with 56 strikeouts in 48 innings pitched as Koji Uehara took over closing duties. Uehara returned to the rotation in 2008 but Marc Kroon was signed to close in his stead; Toyoda was was 3-2 with a 3.30 ERA in 50 games. He struck out 49 and walked 5 in 46 1/3 innings.