Masaru Takeda (武田 勝)
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 5' 9", Weight 154 lb.
Masaru Takeda is a pitcher for the Nippon Ham Fighters.
Takeda was undrafted out of college, graduating in 2001. He signed on with Shidax of the industrial leagues, where he teamed with Takahiko Nomaguchi on the hill and was managed by Katsunori Nomura. In the 2005 Baseball World Cup, Takeda helped Japan finish 5th. He was 1-0 and allowed one unearned run in 7 innings while fanning 14; most of the dominance was against the weak Czech national team (5 IP, 11 K, 1 H, 0 R) as he beat future Twins farmhand Jakub Toufar.
Takeda was drafted by the Nippon Ham Fighters in the 4th round in 2006. He had a good rookie year, going 5-2 with a save and a 2.04 ERA as a swingman; he walked only 15 in 84 innings. He had the top ERA on a team that included Hideki Okajima, Micheal Nakamura, Tomoya Yagi and Yu Darvish. In the 2006 Japan Series, Takeda helped Nippon Ham win its first title by starting and winning game 3 against the Chunichi Dragons, allowing only one run in 5 innings despite 8 hits.
In 2007, Takeda was 9-4 with a 2.54 ERA in 15 starts and 20 relief stints. He only walked 17 in 149 innings while allowing a .214 average. He finished 6th in the Pacific League in ERA though he was only third on his own team behind Darvish and Ryan Glynn. Takeda did surrender 18 gopher balls, tied for 2nd in the PL. In the 2007 Japan Series, he got the third start but was bombed in a loss. Takeda hit Chunichi leadoff man Masahiro Araki, then retired Hirokazu Ibata before the wheels really came off. He walked Masahiko Morino, gave up a RBI single to Tyrone Woods then a RBI double to Norihiro Nakamura. Byung-kyu Lee doubled to make it 3-0 and Takeda was relieved by Brian Sweeney; both inherited runners scored and Takeda finished with a 135.00 ERA for the Series. The 3 straight hits began a stretch of 7 hits in 7 at-bats that set a Japan Series record. Nippon Ham lost the 2007 Series.