Manabu Mima (美馬学)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 7", Weight 165 lb.
Manabu Mima made his pro debut in 2011 and was Japan Series MVP two years later.
Mima pitched for Tokyo Gas in the industrial leagues after college. The Rakuten Golden Eagles chose him in the second round of the 2010 draft. He then joined the Japanese national team for the 2010 Asian Games, allowing a Chih-Sheng Lin homer in a semifinal loss as Japan got the Bronze Medal. He debuted on April 13, tossing a scoreless 8th to preserve a 5-1 lead over the Chiba Lotte Marines; Ryan Speier relieved him in the 9th. He finished the year 2-1 with a 3.08 ERA in 23 games. Put in the rotation in 2012, the little righty was 8-10 with a 3.08 ERA and 36 walks in 154 2/3 IP. He finished among the Pacific League leaders in losses (tied for third with Hiroki Yamada, Sho Iwasaki, Kelvin Jimenez and Takahiro Shiomi), innings (10th), homers allowed (12, 3rd behind Yoshihisa Naruse and Kazuhisa Ishii), hits allowed (142, 9th, between Seth Greisinger and Takayuki Kishi), strikeouts (108, tied for 8th with Kazuhisa Makita), earned runs (53, 2nd to Naruse), runs allowed (55, tied for 4th with Makita), hit batsmen (5, tied for 6th) and WHIP (9th, between Kenji Otonari and Hiroshi Kisanuki). He got four votes for the 2012 Pacific League Rookie of the Year Award, tying Takayoshi Kawabata for a distance 5th behind Naoya Masuda (116 votes), Shota Takeda (80) and Yoshinao Kamata (5).
Mima was 6-5 with a 4.12 ERA in 2013, missing time to right elbow problems. He turned it up several notches in the postseason. He tossed a shutout in the Climax Series as Rakuten advanced to the 2013 Japan Series, their first Japan Series appearance. He then was excellent in two outings in the Series, outperforming Rakuten's aces Masahiro Tanaka and Takahiro Norimoto (a combined 39-9 in the regular season). In game 3 against the Yomiuri Giants, he faced Toshiya Sugiuchi, who entered 3-0 with a 0.91 ERA in his Japan Series career. Mima outdueled the veteran with four hits, no walks, no runs and five strikeouts in 5 2/3 IP for the win; Ken Ray and Takashi Saitoh wrapped it up. He then got the nod in game 7 and was again brilliant (6 IP, 1 H, 3 BB, 1 HB, 5 K) with Norimoto and Tanaka finishing off a 3-0 shutout to again beat Sugiuchi. He was named Japan Series MVP for his efforts.