Shota Nakazaki

From BR Bullpen

Shota Nakazaki (中崎 翔太)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 1", Weight 198 lb.

BR register page

Biographical Information[edit]

Shota Nakazaki has been an All-Star reliever in Japan. His brother Yuta Nakazaki. [1]

Nakazaki was a 6th-round pick of the Hiroshima Carp in the 2010 NPB draft. [2] He spent 2011 in the minor Western League, going 1-2 with a 1.53 ERA. In 2012, he made it to the big club, posting a 0-1, 3.00 record in 12 games for them, with a 1.10 WHIP. The first batter he struck out in NPB was Motonobu Tanishige. [3]

In 2013, he struggled with the big team (2-7, 5.82), mostly being used as a stater, but did well on the farm (4-2, 2.47). He was a starter in the minors in 2014 (1-2, 2.80) but a reliever with the top club (2-3, Sv, 3.92 in 32 G). He moved into the closer's role in 2015 at age 22. He was 0-6 but with 29 saves and a 2.34 ERA. He was 3rd in the Central League with 69 pitching appearances (behind Ryo Akiyoshi and Logan Ondrusek) and 5th in saves (between Hirokazu Sawamura and Koji Fukutani).

Nakazaki made his first CL All-Star team for the 2016 NPB All-Star Games. In Game 1, he relieved Scott Mathieson in the bottom of the 9th with a 5-2 lead over the Pacific League but ran into trouble as he walked Yoshio Itoi and served up a homer to Takumi Kuriyama. He settled down to get Takero Okajima on a grounder, Ernesto Mejia on a fly and Brandon Laird on a grounder to save the win for Shintaro Fujinami. [4] For the 2016 season, he was 3-4 with 34 saves and a 1.32 ERA. He was 2nd in the CL in saves, 3 behind Sawamura. He got one first-place vote for the 2016 CL MVP. [5] In the 2016 Japan Series, he was scoreless in his first two outings. In Game 5, with the Series tied at two games, he relieved Jay Jackson in the 9th with a 1-1 tie against the Nippon Ham Fighters. He walked Kensuke Tanaka with one out. After a sacrifice hit, he gave up a single to Takuya Nakashima and hit Hiromi Oka to load the bases. Haruki Nishikawa, who only had homered five times in the regular season and was hitting .100 in the season, then took him deep for the second sayonara grand slam in Japan Series history (Toru Sugiura had hit one 24 years prior). [6]

In 2017, he rebounded from his rough postseason to post another fine summer (4-1, 10 Sv, 1.40 in 59 G; only 33 H in 57 2/3 IP) though Takeru Imamura was the Carp's closer for most of the year (Nakazaki reclaimed the role late in the campaign). He made his second All-Star team the next season. In 2018 NPB All-Star Game 2, he closed out a 5-1 loss to the PL, relieving Yasuaki Yamasaki in the 9th. Toshiaki Imae grounded out and Shogo Akiyama singled but Nakazaki got Kensuke Kondo to ground into a double play. [7] He was 4-2 with 32 saves and a 2.71 ERA in 2018, becoming the 4th Carp hurler to top 100 saves, following Yutaka Ono, Shinji Sasaoka and Katsuhiro Nagakawa. [8] He was 4th in the CL in games pitched (between Yoshiki Sunada and Tomoya Mikami) and tied Rafael Dolis for 3rd in saves. He was 8th in voting for the 2018 CL MVP, between Kazuma Okamoto and Geronimo Franzua. [9] The postseason again was rough; after two scoreless outings, he again struggled in Game 5. In the bottom of the 10th, he served up the game-ending shot to Yuki Yanagita as the Carp again fell in six games. [10]

Nakazaki struggled in 2019 compared to prior seasons (3-3, 9 Sv, 4.08 in 36 G), losing his closer's role to Franzua and winding up in the minors for ten games (1-0, 3.60).