Takuya Nakashima (中島 卓也)
- Bats Left, Throws Right
- Height 5' 9", Weight 151 lb.
- High School Fukuoka Technical High School
Takuya Nakashima has been an All-Star in Nippon Pro Baseball.
Nakashima was picked by the Nippon Ham Fighters in the 5th round of the 2008 NPB draft. He made his debut with the big club in 2011 as a defensive replacement for Kensuke Tanaka and struck out in his first at-bat, against Takashi Kamoshida. He did not bat again that year and scored two runs as a pinch-runner. In 2012, he got his first hit, off Kazuhisa Makita, and hit a miniscule .114/.127/.114 in 82 plate appearances over 105 games. He was mostly a defensive sub for SS Makoto Kaneko. He was 0 for 1 with a run in four games in the 2012 Japan Series.
The Fukuoka native became a semi-regular in 2013, when Tanaka left for the majors; he and Haruki Nishikawa played 2B, Nakashima getting more games. He hit .238/.305/.260 in 272 plate appearances over 127 games, fielding .990 and going 23-for-25 in steals (Nishikawa was a nearly identical 22-for-24). He was 5th in the Pacific League in swipes. In 2014, he produced at a .259/.333/.298 clip and stole 28 bases in 37 tries. He was 6th in the Pl in stolen bases, between Ryoichi Adachi and Yuichi Honda. He had 9 putouts one game, tying the record at 2B.
At age 24, he moved to short when Tanaka returned from the US. He batted .264/.350/.287, scored 69 runs, drew 66 walks and pilfered 34 bags in 41 attempts. He was 7th in the loop in runs, led in steals (two ahead of MVP Yuki Yanagita, succeeding Nishikawa as the steal leader, Nishikawa having since moved to the outfield so as not to compete at 2B), was second with 34 sacrifice hits (one behind Kenta Imamiya), led in assists at SS (450) and tied Akira Nakamura for 7th in walks. He made the PL All-Star team. In 2015 NPB All-Star Game 1, he pinch-hit for catcher Motohiro Shima in the 7th and struck out against Hayato Takagi. Replacing Imamiya at short, he came up again in the 9th and whiffed versus Yasuaki Yamasaki. He started Game 2 and singled off Hiroki Kuroda and grounded out against Kenta Maeda. Imamiya replaced him at short. He was picked for the Best Nine as the top shortstop in the PL that year. He made the Japanese national team for the 2015 Premier 12, backing up Tetsuto Yamada at 2B and Hayato Sakamoto at SS as a defensive sub. He got only one at-bat in five games, retired by Jesús Martínez.
In 2016, he hit .243/.333/.268 with 23 steals in 32 tries, 63 walks and 66 runs, fielding .979 again at short. He laid down 62 sacrifice hits that year. He broke Tanaka's 9-year-old team record of 58 and tied Imamiya's two-year-old PL record. He tied Honda and Yanagita for 4th in stolen bases, was 10th in walks (between Alfredo Despaigne and Ginji Akaminai) and led in sacrifice hits (24 more than Imamiya). He had not homered in 1,664 career NPB at-bats to that point. In the 2016 Japan Series, he hit .333/.478/.389 with 5 walks and 3 runs in six games as Nippon Ham won their second Japan Series. He certainly was a sparkplug, leading the team in OBP, .038 ahead of #2 Tanaka.