Ryutaro Umeno

From BR Bullpen


Ryutaro Umeno (梅野 隆太郎)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 8", Weight 176 lb.

BR register page

Biographical Information[edit]

Ryutaro Umeno has been an All-Star and Gold Glove winner in Nippon Pro Baseball.

Umeno played for Japan's collegiate All-Stars against the US collegiate All-Stars in 2013. [1] He hit .338 in college. [2] He was the Hanshin Tigers' 4th-round pick of the 2013 NPB draft. [3] The scout was Shuta Tanaka. [4]

He was the first Hanshin rookie catcher to play on Opening Day in 45 years, since the great Koichi Tabuchi, pinch-hitting for Takashi Shimizu and being retired by Tomoyuki Sugano. [5] His first hit came two days later off Kan Otake. [6] His first home run was off Tomoya Mikami. [7] For the 2014 season, he hit .197/.232/.349 with 23 runs and 21 RBI in 92 games, fielding .995. When he was behind the dish for a win by Yuta Iwasada, it was the first Hanshin rookie battery in a win since 1983 (Katsuhiko Kido and Susumu Mikoshiba). [8]

The Fukuoka alumnus hit .239/.276/.406 in 2015 as the third-stringer behind Akihito Fujii and Kazunari Tsuruoka. He also batted .300/.358/.500 in 31 games on the farm. He split 2016 between the top club (only .135/.189/.135 in 37 games) and the minors (.228/.348/.325 in 44 G). He won the starting job in 2017 when 2016 starter Fumihito Haraguchi moved to 1B; while he batted just .206/.275/.273, he fielded .994 and caught 37.9% of would-be base-thieves. He made the Central League team for the 2017 NPB All-Star Games. Hitting 8th in Game 1, he flew out against Yusei Kikuchi and Keisuke Tanimoto before being succeeded by Yasutaka Tobashira. [9] The next game, he replaced Seiji Kobayashi late and singled off Tanimoto. [10]

Umeno's offense picked up in 2018 (.259/.328/.396, 27 2B) and his defense remained strong (.996, 32% CS, a league-best 104 assists). He tied Ryosuke Kikuchi and Hayato Sakamoto for 10th in the CL in doubles and his 28 sacrifice hits were second (two shy of Kikuchi). He was the third Hanshin catcher to win a Gold Glove, following Kido and Kenji Johjima. [11] He did not make the Best Nine as Tsubasa Aizawa got the nod.

He hit for a cycle in 2019. Replacing José López at DH in the 2019 NPB All-Star Game 1, it showed far more faith in his offense than would have been expected back when he was hitting .135 three years prior. He singled off Yoshinobu Yamamoto. [12] He was at catcher the next game, going 1 for 4 with a solo shot against Kona Takahashi. [13] He produced at a .266/.326/.393 clip and even stole 14 bases in 17 tries, setting a Hanshin record for swipes by a backstop. [14] He tied Yoshihiro Maru, Kikuchi and Shinnosuke Shigenobu for 8th in the league in steals. Even better was his defense; he caught a league-high 27 runners (37.5%), fielded .995 and set the all-time NPB record for catcher assists (123, breaking Takeshi Doigaki's 65-year-old mark!) [15] He was an easy pick for a Gold Glove, though Aizawa again won Best Nine.

In 2020, he hit .262/.333/.389 and fielded .996, catching 33% of base-runners. He led the CL's backstops in putouts (627) and assists (68) in a season shortened by the COVID-19 pandemic. He remained steady into 2021 and was added to Japan's team for the Tokyo Olympics when Aizawa got hurt. [16]