Minoru Iwata (岩田 稔)
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 5' 10", Weight 187 lb.
- School Kansai University
- High School Osaka Toin High School
Iwata was a first-round pick by the Hanshin Tigers out of college. He debuted for Hanshin in 2006, allowing four runs in 3 innings of work and lost his only game. In 2007, the southpaw was 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA.
Iwata entered the Hanshin rotation in 2008 and blossomed, going 10-10 with a 3.28 ERA. He was 8th in the Central League in ERA (between Yuya Ando and Daisuke Miura), 7th in innings (159 1/3), tied for 6th in losses, tied for 10th in wins, was 4th in hits allowed (168), tied for the most hit batsmen (11), was 4th in walks (50) and just missed the top 10 in strikeouts (101). He was third in voting for the 2008 Central League Rookie of the Year Award, trailing Tetsuya Yamaguchi and Hayato Sakamoto.
Iwata was a late addition to Japan's provisional roster for the 2009 World Baseball Classic, replacing Hiroki Kuroda after Kuroda withdrew. Iwata made the final cut and pitched in two games in relief in the Classic. He walked 3 and hit a batter in one scoreless inning of work. In game one against South Korea, he walked Dae-ho Lee and plunked Shin-soo Choo but then retired Taek-keun Lee, Min-ho Kang and Bum-ho Lee in order. In another match against the Koreans, he replaced Hideaki Wakui with two on and two out in the 8th and a 3-1 deficit, then walked Jin-young Lee and Bum-ho Lee to force in a run before he was replaced by Masahiro Tanaka. Iwata did not pitch in the final round as Japan won the tourney.