Yasuyuki Kataoka (片岡 易之)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 9", Weight 181 lb.
Yasuyuki Kataoka is an infielder for the Seibu Lions. He has led his league in steals twice.
Kataoka signed with the Tokyo Gas team in the industrial leagues out of high school. He was drafted in 2004 by the Seibu Lions, chosen in the third round. Yasuyuki saw significant playing time as a backup infielder as a rookie, appearing in 81 games and hitting .263/.298/.376. In 2006, he replaced Hiroyuki Takagi at second base and batted .292/.336/.394 with 28 steals in 37 tries. He had 33 sacrifice hits, one behind Pacific League leader Kensuke Tanaka and he was second to Tsuyoshi Nishioka in stolen bases.
In 2007, Kataoka hit .256/.290/.332 with 38 stolen bases in 45 tries. He led the PL in swipes and was second with 35 sacrifice hits, trailing Tanaka. He fielded .993. A year later, the right-handed hitter posted a .287/.322/.371 batting line. He stole 50 bases in 67 tries, leading the league in both steals (16 ahead of runner-up Naoto Watanabe) and times caught stealing. He also led in at-bats (582) and tied Takumi Kuriyama for the most hits (167). He was 4th in runs (85) and tied for third in triples (6). In the 2008 Japan Series, Kataoka hit .296/.345/.333 with 5 steals in 5 tries and 5 runs in 7 games to help Seibu win the title. He then helped Seibu win the 2008 Asia Series.
Kataoka was a backup infielder for Samurai Japan when they won the 2009 World Baseball Classic. He was 4 for 13 with four steals in five tries to tie Jimmy Rollins for the Classic lead in swipes. His 3rd-inning single off Cuba's Aroldis Chapman loaded the bases and knocked the hard-throwing southpaw from the game as Japan went on to win. He scored the 2nd run in Japan's 5-3 finals win over South Korea, with a single off Hyun-wook Jong, a steal and a hit by Hiroyuki Nakajima, Kataoka's middle infield teammate on Seibu.