Shinya Okamoto (岡本 真也)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 209 lb.
Shinya Okamoto pitched in four of the five Japan Series from 2004-2008.
Okamoto pitched in the industrial leagues for several years after high school. After spending 2000 with Yamaha, the Chunichi Dragons took him in the 4th round of the draft. He pitched six hitless, scoreless innings (with 5 walks) in 2001. In 2002, the right-hander had a 9.28 ERA in 7 games.
Over the course of the 2003 campaign, Shinya went 4-6 with 12 saves and a 3.34 ERA and struck out 96 in 97 innings. He was second on the team in saves, 5 behind Akinori Otsuka despite also ranking 5th in starts (12). In 2004, the Kyoto native was named the best setup man in Nippon Pro Baseball and made the Central League All-Star team. He was 9-4 with a 2.03 ERA and fanned 85 in 75 1/3 innings while allowing 60 hits. Despite being a reliever exclusively, he was 4th on the Dragons in both strikeouts and wins. He was second in the CL in appearances (63), 3 behind Ryota Igarashi. He had the lowest ERA among pitchers with 20+ innings, beating out Kenshin Kawakami, Masahiro Yamamoto, Domingo Guzman and Hitoki Iwase among others. In the 2004 Japan Series, he was ineffective. Appearing in 5 of 7 games, he allowed 9 hits, 5 walks and 6 runs in 6 2/3 IP and took the loss.
Shinya posted a 10-3, 3.14 record with a save and 65 strikeouts in 63 innings during 2005. He was only one win behind Kawakami for the team lead and was second to Iwase in ERA. In 2006, the reliever was 4-1 with a save and a 3.40 ERA and over a strikeout per inning once more. He again struggled in the postseason, allowing 3 hits (including a home run) to the 5 batters he faced in the 2006 Japan Series; he had a 27.00 ERA.
Okamoto went 5-2 with a 2.89 ERA in 2007; his strikeout rate fell (44 in 56 IP) but he also allowed hits less often (only 43). He tossed 1 2/3 scoreless innings in the 2007 Japan Series as Chunichi took its first title in 53 years.
When Chunichi signed Kazuhiro Wada as a free agent in the off-season, Okamoto was sent to the Seibu Lions as compensation. He did okay with his new club, going 0-2 with a 3.73 ERA in 47 games. His postseason woes returned - in his only game, he retired one batter then served up a sayonara home run to Alex Ramirez. In 4 Japan Series, he was now 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA.
Okamoto was 0-1 with a 3.97 ERA for Seibu in 2009. He then signed with Korea's LG Twins for 2010. He debuted on March 27, Opening Day, the 10th of 10 LG pitchers used that game, and tossed one shutout inning for a save.