Mitsutaka Goto (02)
Mitsutaka Goto (後藤 光尊)
- Bats Left, Throws Right
- Height 5' 9", Weight 171 lb.
- School Hosei University
- High School Akita High School
Mitsutaka Goto has played in Nippon Pro Baseball.
Dropping out of college shortly after enrolling, Goto went on to win a Silver Medal with Japan in the 1998 Asian Games. The Orix BlueWave picked him in the tenth round in the 2001 draft. He hit .245/.276/.415 in 39 games in 2002, backing up Scott Sheldon at third base and Makoto Shiozaki at shortstop. His first hit was March 30, a single off Koichi Misawa. His first homer came on April 15 off Jeremy Powell. He became Orix's main shortstop in 2003 and put up a .267/.304/.431 line with only 10 walks in 341 plate appearances. He fielded .951 and stole 7 bases in 18 tries.
In 2004, Goto split the Orix shortstop role pretty evenly with Shiozaki and Hidemitsu Saito. He fell to .259/.288/.335 offensively while fielding .962. Goto got to a .295/.336/.474 line with 27 doubles in 325 at-bats in 2005 for the new Orix Buffaloes (the BlueWave had merged with the Kintetsu Buffaloes in the off-season). He fielded .961, while backing up Shiozaki at third and Masahiro Abe at short. Mitsutaka started ahead of Abe in 2006 but slumped to .269/.300/.362 while fielding .967.
Goto had to switch uniform numbers from 1 to 24 as new manager Terry Collins wanted #1. He hit .255/.288/.414 for the 2007 season while transitioning to second base. He fielded .988 as their starting second baseman in 2008 and produced at a .285/.327/.466 clip with 32 doubles, 14 home runs and 13 steals in 19 tries. He drew just 16 walks in 447 plate appearances while fanning 88 times. He tied for 5th in the Pacific League with 11 times hit-by-pitch and tied for 4th in doubles (even with Kensuke Tanaka and Hiroyuki Nakajima). Hamstring injuries sidelined him for a chunk of 2009; he hit .274/.298/.389 in 54 games and fielded .982 at 2B.
In 2010, Goto had his best season yet - .295/.339/.441, 82 R, 32 2B, 16 HR, 73 RBI and even 32 walks. He fielded .989. He ranked among the PL leaders in at-bats (590, 3rd behind Munenori Kawasaki and Tsuyoshi Nishioka), hits (174, 6th between Toshiaki Imae and Takumi Kuriyama), runs (9th, between Tomotaka Sakaguchi and Nakajima), doubles (tied for 9th with Nishioka), total bases (260, 5th, between Takahiro Okada and Nakajima) and times grounded into double play (20, tied for 2nd with Nakajima).
While offensive levels fell of in 2011 with the usage of a new baseball in Japan, Goto's OPS did not fall much as he still hit .312/.336/.409 with 14 stolen bases in 20 tries, fielding .985. He finished third in the batting race behind Seiichi Uchikawa and Yoshio Itoi, 4th in hits (164, between Nakajima and Kawasaki), tied for 6th in total bases (215, even with Sho Nakata), tied for 8th in triples (4), 8th in slugging (between Okada and Nakajima) and tied for 9th in times caught stealing.