Shigeki Noguchi

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Shigeki Noguchi (野口 茂樹)

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Biographical Information[edit]

Shigeki Noguchi was the number three draft pick of the Chunichi Dragons in the 1993 NPB draft. 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.