Hiroaki Shimauchi

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Hiroaki Shimauchi (島内宏明)

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Biographical Information[edit]

Hiroaki Shimauchi made his first NPB All-Star Game at age 31.

Shimauchi was a 6th-round pick of the Rakuten Golden Eagles in the 2011 NPB draft. [1] He was the only Rakuten rookie to make the Opening Day roster that year. [2] He debuted as a pinch-runner for Luis Garcia and his first hit was off Kazunari Abe, his first homer off Mitsuo Yoshikawa. [3] He hit .299/.310/.443 in 104 plate appearances over 41 games in 2012, fielding .992 in the outfield as his lone problem was his walk rate (2 BB). He mostly backed up Teppei Tsuchiya in left.

In 2013, he batted .283/.326/.391, backing up Ryo Hijirisawa in CF and a few players in left. He was 0 for 1 in the 2013 Japan Series as Rakuten won its first title. [4] In 2014, he fell to .242/.301/.330 in 66 games for the big club (though he was 6-for-7 in steal attempts) and spent much of the season in the minors. Things were worse in 2015 as he only hit .203/.241/.311 in 25 games for the big club - and .239/.343/.316 in 44 games on the farm.

The Ishikawa native rebounded to a regular role in 2016, producing at a .287/.349/.404 rate and handling 209 chances error-free. He stole 10 bases in 12 tries. That won him an everyday spot in 2017, when he hit .265/.352/.391 with 14 homers. He had learned plate discipline as well, drawing 64 walks. He fielded .996. He was 6th in the Pacific League in walks, between Akira Nakamura and Katsuya Kakunaka. He batted .292/.373/.432 in 2018. He was 8th in the PL in average, between Seiya Inoue and Shuta Tonosaki. [5]

During 2019, he hit .287/.372/.407 with 68 runs and 58 walks and led the PL with 268 outfield chances without an error. [6] He was 10th in the PL in average (between Haruki Nishikawa and Takeya Nakamura) and made the top 10 in OBP. [7] He became the 11th player in NPB history to homer from every spot in the batting order. [8] He hit .281/.363/.392 in 2020 and was 9-for-10 in steals at age 30. He was 8th in the PL in average (between Ryo Watanabe and Hideto Asamura) and in the top 10 in OBP. [9]

Hiroaki made his first NPB All-Star Game in 2021. Replacing Masataka Yoshida in left in Game 1, he singled off Thyago Vieira his only time up. [10] In Game 2, he started in left and hit third. He got a 1st-inning single off Yuya Yanagi, then singled in the 3rd against Masato Morishita to score Takuya Kai and Takashi Ogino and make it 3-1. After flying out in the 6th against Koyo Aoyagi, he doubled in the 8th off Ryoji Kuribayashi to score Hiroto Kobukata and break a 3-3 tie. Having driven in 3 of the 4 runs, including the game-winner, he was named the MVP. [11] He hit .259/.387/.478 with 34 doubles, 21 homers, 98 walks and 96 RBI in the 2021 season, far better than any past performance. He was 7th in the PL in OBP (between Yuki Yanagita and Shogo Nakamura), 6th in slugging (between Brandon Laird and Kensuke Kondoh), 6th in OPS (between Kondo and Leonys Martin), 4th in doubles, tied Yoshida and Ryoya Kurihara for 6th in dingers, led in RBI (edging Laird by one), tied Nishikawa and Ogino for 5th in triples (5), was second in walks (four behind Asamura) and tied Laird for 5th in total bases (232). [12] Despite all that, he did not make the Best Nine as Yanagita, Yoshida and Yutaro Sugimoto were chosen as the PL's top three outfielders. He was 9th in voting for the 2021 Pacific League Most Valuable Player Award. [13]

Repeating as an All-Star, he replaced Yanagita in right in 2022 NPB All-Star Game 1 and singled off Atsuki Yuasa to collect 5 hits in his first 6 at-bats as an All-Star. That was unsustainable and Morishita retired him in the 9th. [14] In Game 2, he started in right and hit fifth. He was retired by Hiroko Tokoda, Yudai Ohno and Suguru Iwazaki before singling off Scott McGough. [15]


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