Shigeki Noguchi

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Shigeki Noguchi

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Biographical Information[edit]

Shigeki Noguchi was the number three draft pick of the Chunichi Dragons in 1993. They farmed him out to the Central Valley Rockies, where he dazzled. Noguchi was 8-3 with a 2.55 ERA, the second-best ERA in the California League; he also topped the circuit with 161 strikeouts. He was named the 7th-best prospect in the league by Baseball America and the second-best pitching prospect. Returning to Japan, he was just 8-16 over the next three seasons with a decent ERA in only one of those years.

In 1998 Noguchi turned things back around, going 14-9 with a 2.34 ERA. He led the Central League in ERA and finished third with 134 Ks. The next year Noguchi was MVP of the Central after a 19-7, 2.65 campaign. He was second to rookie Koji Uehara in both wins and ERA. Noguchi slipped to 9-11, 4.63 the next year but bounced back in 2001 when he won his second ERA title with a 12-9, 2.46 season. That year he became the sixth player in NPB history to pitch four straight complete games without a walk.

Noguchi was limited to five games in '02 due to injury and struggled after that - he has been 19-26 from '02-'05 with ERAs of 4 or higher each year. Despite four years as one of the top pitchers in Japan, Noguchi's career record after '05 was just 80-78. He became a free agent after the season ended and signed a two-year deal with the Yomiuri Giants, who were desperate for pitching help. He only pitched three innings and one game for the 2006 Giants, allowing 7 hits and five runs. In 2007, he went 1-1 with a 4.30 ERA in 31 appearances. After not pitching in 2008, Noguchi signed a minor league deal with the Toronto Blue Jays for 2009 but failed a physical, canceling the contract.