Kent Thomas Sakamoto
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 229 lb.
Kent Sakamoto played in high-A ball, unusual for a player who had to be a walk-on in college.
Sakamoto hit .600 as a high school senior but failed to win a scholarship to Fresno State. A walk-on, he hit .262/.359/.359 with 51 strikeouts in 145 AB and was named the school's rookie of the year. In 2004, the sophomore batted .281/.372/.385 while being the main Fresno State DH. As a junior, he improved to .305/.396/.451. He hit .332/.413/.482 as a senior and led the Western Athletic Conference in at-bats (253) and hits (84). The Pittsburgh Pirates took him in the 12th round of the 2006 amateur draft.
Kent made his pro debut with the 2006 Williamsport Crosscutters, hitting .228/.281/.370 as their starting first baseman. In 2007, he batted .280/.334/.451 for the Hickory Crawdads with 14 home runs and 72 runs. He fielded .992, .001 shy of the South Atlantic League lead at first base. The 220-pounder also stole five bases in five tries.
In 2008, Sakamoto moved up to the Lynchburg Hillcats and produced at a .259/.328/.407 rate with 35 doubles. He was 5-for-6 in steal attempts. He struck out 124 times, third-most in the Carolina League. He led the club with 66 RBI, 4 ahead of Jim Negrych.