Kosuke Tanaka

From BR Bullpen

Kosuke Tanaka (田中 広輔)

  • Bats Left, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 7", Weight 178 lb.

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Biographical Information[edit]

Kosuke Tanaka has been an All-Star infielder in Nippon Pro Baseball and has led the league in triples, runs, OBP and steals. His brother Shunta Tanaka has also played in NPB.

Tanaka played for JR East in the industrial leagues after college. He helped the Japanese national team win the 2012 Asian Championship and was named the Best Defensive Player in the event. [1] He played for Japan when they won the 2013 East Asian Games as well. [2] The Hiroshima Carp took him in the third round of the 2013 NPB draft after they took Daichi Osera and Allen Kuri in the first two rounds. [3]

He debuted with a solid season in 2014, hitting .292/.348/.434 while playing SS and 3B primarily. He even got one third-place vote for the 2014 Central League Most Valuable Player Award. His first NPB hit came off Ryo Akiyoshi and his first home run against Masato Furuno. [4] He made his first CL All-Star team in 2015, pinch-running for Takashi Toritani in game 1 and staying in at short in a 8-6 Central League win over the Pacific League. In his lone at-bat, he tripled off Yuki Matsui with two outs in the 8th to score Ryosuke Kikuchi. [5] In Game 2, he started at short in a 8-3 win and was 1 for 3 with a two-run single (off Ken Togame, scoring Takahiro Arai and Takayuki Kajitani) before Toritani took over. [6] For the 2015 season, he produced at a .274/.325/.413 clip with 33 doubles and 9 triples. He led CL shortstops with 212 putouts, 476 assists, 22 errors and 79 double plays. [7] He tied Yuhei Takai for 4th in the CL in two-baggers and led in three-baggers (3 ahead of runner-up Takayoshi Noma). He finished a distant third in voting for the Best Nine in the CL at short, behind Toritani and Hayato Sakamoto. [8]

The Kanigawa native saw significant improvements in walks (34 to 77) and steals (28-for-47 instead of 6-for-13) in 2016 while hitting .265/.367/.372 and fielded .975. He scored 102 runs, tying Tetsuto Yamada for the CL lead. He was second in steals (two behind Yamada), led in caught stealing (7 ahead of Yohei Oshima) and was 5th in walks (between Sakamoto and Toritani). He led CL shortstops in putouts (224), assists (467), errors (18) and twin killings (97) again. [9] In the Climax Series, he was 10 for 12 to power Hiroshima to the 2016 Japan Series; he won Climax Series MVP. [10] He hit only .160/.250/.240 as Hiroshima fell to the Nippon Ham Fighters. [11]

Tanaka was the last player added to Japan's roster for the 2017 World Baseball Classic. [12] He went 2 for 8 with a walk, two steals and two runs while backing up Sakamoto at short and Nobuhiro Matsuda at third. Both hits came off China's hurlers - Quan Gan and Weiqiang Meng. He tied Eddie Rosario, Carlos Correa and Dalton Pompey for 4th in the event in swipes. [13] In 2017 NPB All-Star Game 1, he replaced Sakamoto at short and grounded out against Kazuhisa Makita in a 6-2 loss. h[14] In Game 2, he grounded against Chihiro Kaneko and singled off Kota Futaki before being erased on a double play; Sakamoto took over in a 3-1 loss. [15] For the year, he hit .290/.398/.407 with 32 doubles and 15 times hit by pitch. He continued to improve his leadoff skills as evidenced by another 12 walks (to 89), better stealing (35-for-48), more runs (105) and a better OBP. He made the CL leaderboards in OBP (1st, edging out Yoshihiro Maru by a tiny margin as both rounded to .398) [16], assists at SS (467, 1st) and errors at short (16, 1st) [17], runs (2nd, 4 behind Maru), hits (164, 4th, between Casey McGehee and Masayuki Kuwahara), doubles (5th, between Maru and Yoshitomo Tsutsugo), triples (5, tied for 2nd with Kuwahara and Tsuyoshi Ueda), steals (1st, 12 ahead of Oshima and Yota Kyoda), caught stealing (tied for first with Kyoda), walks (3rd, behind Tsutsugo and Yamada) and HBP (tied for first with Alex Guerrero). He easily won his first Best Nine (221 votes to 53 for runner-up Sakamoto) and finished 5th in voting for the 2017 CL MVP, behind Maru, Kazuki Yabuta, Tomoyuki Sugano and Seiya Suzuki. [18] He was the third player in NPB annals to lead the league in both OBP and steals, following Ichiro Suzuki and Yamada, and the second CL player, following Yamada. [19]