Taisuke Yamaoka (山岡 泰輔)
- Bats Left, Throws Right
- Height 5' 8", Weight 154 lb.
- High School Setouchi High School
Taisuke Yamaoka has played for Japan in international competition at three different age levels.
Yamaoka was a superb reliever in the 2013 World Junior Championship, allowing no runs in 7 2/3 IP, fanning 15 and giving up just 2 walks and 3 hits. He got a win over Canada and saved a game against Taiwan. He tossed two shutout innings (1 H) against the USA in the Gold Medal Game, which the US won, in relief of Yuki Matsui. He was named the All-Star reliever. He allowed one run in 3 1/3 IP in the 2014 U-21 Baseball World Cup.
Playing for Tokyo Gas in the industrial leagues after high school, Yamaoka was with the senior Japanese national team for the 2015 Asian Championship. He allowed two hits (to Chuang Na and Zan Cheng in five shutout innings (fanning seven) in the opener against China before Junichi Katayama relieved. He also started the finale versus host Taiwan. With a Silver Medal for the winners and a Bronze for the losers, he blanked Taiwan for four innings before giving up a run in the 5th (4 1/3 IP, 5 H, 3 BB, 3 K) and being replaced by Daiki Tajima. Japan wound up losing, 3-1, but Yamaoka got a no-decision. In the event, he led Japan in innings pitched (2 1/3 over Katsutoshi Satake and strikeouts (two more than Yuki Sameshima). The Orix Buffaloes took him in the first round of the 2016 NPB draft.
Yamaoka was 8-11 with a 3.74 ERA for Orix in 2017. Making the Pacific League team for the 2017 NPB All-Star Games, he relieved Keisuke Tanimoto in the 6th with a 1-1 tie against the Central League. He allowed one run in two innings before Kazuhisa Makita relieved but got the win as the PL had taken the lead. For the regular season, he was 11th in ERA, tied for 11th in wins, tied Ayumu Ishikawa and Hideaki Wakui for third in losses and was 9th with 133 K (between Manabu Mima and Kota Futaki). He got two of the 258 votes for the 2017 Pacific League Rookie of the Year Award, tying Shuta Ishikawa for second, well behind Sosuke Genda.