22 and ⅓ innings pitcher national team… Udagawa, Kuriyama coach’s winning numbers
A pitcher with 22 and ⅓ innings pitched in the regular season will play for the Japanese national team in the World Baseball Classic (WBC). He has only 22 and ⅓ innings pitched in the regular season in his career. Orix pitcher Udagawa Yuki (25) is the protagonist of this surprise story.
Udagawa appeared in 19 games last year and recorded an average ERA of 0.81 with 32 strikeouts with 2 wins and 1 loss in 22 1/3 innings. His first appearance in the 1st team was in August of last year, and he was promoted to the national team 5 months after his professional 1st team debut.
Udagawa’s surprise participation in the national team is a Cinderella story itself. Udagawa, a mixed-race player with a Japanese father and a Filipino mother, was not a player that attracted attention when he graduated from Sendai University. He barely entered the Orix in the 2020 draft as a ‘training player’.
At the time of his joining, the down payment was 3 million yen (approximately 29 million Korean won) and the annual salary was known to be 2.4 million yen. At the time, his uniform number was also ‘013’, which was three digits. In 2021, he started only 1 game before the 2nd team official. It wasn’t until 2022 that he played an active role in the second team, recording an average ERA of 1 point in 15 games, and also achieved promotion to the토토사이트 first team.
Udagawa was fast in his college days, but he had problems with his control. It was said that his main cause was psychological problems. However, after he joined the pro, he said that he gained mental stability after hearing the advice of his senior, Ryo Nishimura, “A fastball is enough. It may be scary, but the batter will be a little more scary.”
■ 159km/h fastball and ‘bullet fork’… Although he has little experience, he is strong in big games and can pitch in
the Korea-Japan match. Udagawa’s main weapon is simple. He has a fast fastball and a forkball. Fastball recorded a maximum of 159 km/h last season and an average of 152 km/h. A fast ball is also a fastball, but the scarier thing is a forkball.
Udagawa’s forkball recorded a maximum of 149km/h and an average of 142km/h, and the drop was so great that it was called ‘bullet fork’ locally. Last season, the hit rate of the forkball was 0.111. Our national team also needs a thorough analysis of Udagawa’s forkball.
The reason why Udagawa was selected by Japanese baseball team coach Hideki Kuriyama was because of his performance in fall baseball rather than regular season results. Udagawa pitched in 4 games in the Japan Series and recorded 1 win and 2 holds with 10 strikeouts and no runs in 5 ⅔ innings. He was even called MVP because of his victory.
His most impressive performance was Game 4. Orix was in desperate need of a victory as Orix had 1 draw and 2 losses until the 3rd game.
Udagawa climbed the mound in the 5th inning, leading by one point, in a crisis with one out and third base. It was a moment of considerable pressure, but Udagawa proudly struck out consecutively with a forkball and ended the inning with no runs. Orix kept a one-point lead until the end and won 1-0, and created a miracle of winning by winning 4 consecutive victories from the 4th game onwards.
Although he is an inexperienced player, he saved the team from a crisis at the moment of despair and showed a strong appearance in a big game. Although he is young, it is said that he has the potential to appear in an important situation in the WBC Korea-Japan match.
Coach Kuriyama said that while selecting the WBC national team, he selected the best players regardless of age. As a result, the youngest national team ever was born. It seems that the intention is to actively appoint players who are in good physical condition rather than the value of the name.
However, there were reports in the local media that he now weighed more than 100 kg and seemed to need to lose weight. Attention is focusing on whether Udagawa, who made a ‘rapid career’, will prove that coach Kuriyama’s winning numbers are not wrong by concentrating on body care for the rest of the period.