Ikuro Katsuragi

From BR Bullpen

Ikuro Katsuragi (葛城 育郎)

  • Bats Left, Throws Left
  • Height 5' 11", Weight 176 lb.

Ikuro Katsuragi is the son of Takao Katsuragi.

Katsuragi was league MVP as a college senior. He was picked in the second round of the 1999 draft by the Orix BlueWave. Ikuro hit .192/.300/.500 in 30 plate appearances as a rookie in 2000. His first career hit was a home run on September 10. When Ichiro Suzuki left Orix for the majors, Katsuragi replaced in right field and hit .268/.343/.435 with 14 home runs in 2001, productive but not enough to fill the big shoes left behind by Ichiro. He played first base for Japan in the 2001 Baseball World Cup, hitting .367/.459/.667 with 9 runs in 10 games, outperforming a slew of players who had better careers in Nippon Pro Baseball.

Katsuragi batted .221/.273/.288 in 74 games in 2002, still Orix's main right fielder but clearly not a full-time player. In 2003, he hit .251/.330/.413 in 114 games. He was traded that off-season with Rui Makino to the Hanshin Tigers for Shinji Taninaka and Hidemitsu Saito.

Used as a backup to George Arias at 1B and Shinjiro Hiyama in RF and mostly as a pinch-hitter, Katsuragi hit .222/.273/.356 in 77 games in 2004. He was 0 for 1 in 2005 and did not play the next year.

Back in action in 2007, Ikuro batted .250/.314/.338 in 178 plate appearances over 89 games. He hit .261/.312/.349 in 263 plate appearances and 112 games in 2008, his most playing time in his five years with Hanshin. In a slightly reduced role in 2009, he produced at a .250/.317/.359 rate.

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