Yoshihisa Hirano (平野 佳寿)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 185 lb.
- School Kyoto Sangyo University
- High School Toba High School
- Debut March 29, 2018
Hirano only pitched a little bit in high school due to back problems. He went on to star in college, winning 36 games and setting a Kansai Scholastic League record with 404 strikeouts. The Orix Buffaloes drafted him in the first round in 2005.
As a rookie in 2006, Hirano led with 172 1/3 innings pitched. He had a 7-11, 3.81 record, comparable to teammate Masato Yoshii, a former major leaguer. He completed 10 starts, second in the Pacific League behind Daisuke Matsuzaka, and tied Shunsuke Watanabe for third in losses. His four shutouts were second to Kazumi Saitoh's 5 and his 182 hits allowed were second to Yasuhiro Ichiba. He made the PL All-Star team that year.
In 2007, Hirano was 8-13 with a 3.72 ERA. He led the PL in losses, thanks to his playing for a last-place team, despite an ERA just around league average.
Hirano was rocked in 2008, going 1-2 with a 8.28 ERA and .366 opponent average in a campaign cut short by elbow surgery. After one final season as a starting pitcher in 2009, when he went 3-12, 4.72, he moved to the bullpen and found great success in the role. In his first two seasons in the role, in 2010 and 2011, he put up ERAs of 1.67 and 1.94, respectively, and records of 7-2 and 6-2. He was a set-up man those first two years, but began to be used as a closer by the Buffaloes in 2012, and never looked back. He had three seasons of 30+ saves after that, including a personal best of 40 in 2014, and another of 29 saves.
On December 21, 2017, it was reported that Hirano had signed a two-year, $6 million contract to pitch for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He made his big league debut in the Diamondbacks opener on March 29, 2018 Diamondbacks, facing two Colorado Rockies batters: he gave up a single to Chris Iannetta and struck out Mike Tauchman.
- Owen Perkins: "Hirano finding comfort level with D-backs: Closer candidate getting used to Major League hitters, different style in spring", mlb.com, March 22, 2018.