Nagisa Arakaki (新垣 渚)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 3", Weight 180 lb.
Arakaki was in an auto accident in elementary school and would have several leg surgeries and further fractures over the years. In high school, he was timed at 94 mph. The Orix BlueWave took him in the first round of the draft, but he turned them down and went to college instead, as he wanted to play for the Daiei Hawks. The Orix scout involved committed suicide. In college, he had a 23-5, 1.01 record and improved his fastball to 97 mph. He helped Japan win the Bronze Medal in the 2001 Asian Championship. The Hawks took him in the first round of the 2002 draft and he signed.
Arakaki had a solid rookie season at 8-7, 3.34 with 132 strikeouts in 121 1/3 IP but missed time with injury. Had he qualified, he would have been 4th in the 2003 Pacific League in ERA behind teammate Kazumi Saito, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Naoyuki Shimizu. He tied Matsuzaka and Tsuyoshi Wada for second with 8 complete games (in 18 starts), trailing only Hisashi Iwakuma. Back for the 2003 Japan Series, he was 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in two outings, dropping game four. Daiei still beat the Hanshin Tigers in seven games.
In 2004, the Okinawa native remained sharp at 11-8, 3.28 with 177 strikeouts in 192 1/3 innings. He led the PL in innings pitched (almost 20 more than runner-up Kevin Beirne), batters faced (807, 64 more than Beirne), strikeouts (23 more than Beirne), walks (73, 2 more than Satoru Kanemura) and wild pitches (8). He also was third in ERA (behind Matsuzaka and Iwakuma), tied for 4th in wins (with Carlos Mirabal), tied for 6th in losses, second in complete games (9, one behind Matsuzaka), tied for 2nd in shutouts (2, even with Chih-Chia Chang and Shimizu, 3 behind Matsuzaka), tied for 3rd in hits allowed (173, even with Jeremy Powell), 5th in hit batsmen (11), 8th in runs allowed (75) and 8th in earned runs surrendered (70).
The tall right-hander fell to 10-6, 4.61 in 2005. He was among the leaders in shutouts (tied for 4th with 2), hit batsmen (tied for 4th with 9), strikeouts (6th with 130, between Fumiya Nishiguchi and Saito), walks (tied for 5th with Kanemura with 54), runs allowed (63, tied for 6th with Kanemura and Kevin Hodges) and earned runs allowed (tied for 5th with 70, even with Kanemura and Shimizu). In 2006, he rebounded to go 13-5 with a 3.01 ERA and 1.15 WHIP, whiffing 151 in 155 1/3 IP. He was 9th in the PL in ERA (between Wada and Hidetaka Kawagoe), 4th in wins (behind teammates Saito and Wada as well as the great Matsuzaka), tied for 5th in shutouts (2, tied with Yu Darvish, Yasuhiro Ichiba and Matsuzaka), tied for 7th in complete games (5, even with Tomoya Yagi and Ichiba), second in wild pitches (10, 3 behind Ichiba), tied for 4th in Ks (with Ichiba), tied for 7th in walks (46) and tied for 8th in hit batters (7).
Arakaki went 7-10 with a 3.60 ERA in 2007, striking out 132 in 137 1/3 innings. Control was a problem, though, as he tied a Nippon Pro Baseball record with four wild pitches on April 17 and he threw 25 wild pitches for the year, a new NPB record low (Kazuhisa Ishii had held the mark of 20 for 9 years). He also tied for 4th in the PL in defeats (even with Wada, Shimizu and Hideaki Wakui), tied for 3rd in walks (51, even with Satoshi Nagai) and was 9th with 132 strikeouts (between Yoshihisa Naruse and Yoshihisa Hirano). His wild pitch woes continued in 2008; on August 20, he tossed 5 wild pitches, a new NPB record. He had a 4-6, 4.18 record for the year but was still fanning batters (105 in 92 2/3 IP). He only made the league leaders in wild pitches (15, leading, 4 more than Wakui). He had elbow surgery in the offseason then bombed in 2009 (0-2, 7.91, .378 opponent average in 4 G) before getting shipped to ni-gun for the year. That dropped his career NPB record to 53-44, 3.71 with 842 strikeouts in 855 innings.
He remained in the minors in 2010 and 2011 (6-4, 3.04 on the farm the latter year). Back with Softbank for the 2011 Asia Series, he turned in a strong effort in the opener against the Uni-President Lions.
- japanbaseballdaily.com by Gary Garland
- Taiwan Baseball Wiki