Takuya Kai

From BR Bullpen


Takuya Kai (甲斐 拓也)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 6", Weight 153-176 lb.

BR register page

Biographical Information[edit]

Takuya Kai has been an All-Star and Japan Series MVP in Nippon Pro Baseball.

Kai was taken by the Softbank Hawks in the 6th round of the training section of the 2010 NPB draft, not a top prospect. [1] He was scouted by Ryutaro Fukuyama. [2] He got into his first NPB game in 2014 as a defensive sub for Shinya Tsuruoka late in a 16-5 rout. [3] He also got into one game in 2015. In 2016, he got his first at-bat, batting for Tsuruoka and doubling off Masato Nakazawa. He was 0 for 5 the rest of the year. [4]

He became a starter in 2017, though Hiroaki Takaya also saw regular action behind the dish for the Hawks. He hit .232/.323/.372 but fielded .999 to lead Pacific League backstops. His first homer came off Alexis Candelario. [5] He won the Gold Glove and also the Best Nine as the PL's top catcher, getting 102 of 258 valid votes to beat Ginjiro Sumitani by 22 and Tatsuhiro Tamura by 51. He got one vote for the 2017 Pacific League Rookie of the Year Award, which went to fellow Oita native Sosuke Genda. [6] Softbank won the 2017 Japan Series.

He made his first All-Star team the next year. In 2018 NPB All-Star Game 1, he replaced Tomoya Mori late in a 7-6 PL win over the Central League. He singled off Katsuki Azuma in his lone at-bat. [7] He started Game 2, hitting 9th. In a 5-1 win, he flew out in the 2nd against Tomoyuki Sugano then singled home Genda in the 5th against Yuta Iwasada. Mori later pinch-hit for him. [8] He hit only .214/.274/.328 for the season but threw out 44.7% of attempted base-thieves to lead the PL. He was even better with his arm in the 2018 Japan Series, setting a Japan Series record by catching all six runners who tried to steal as he contained the speedy Hiroshima Carp. While he hit only .143 without a RBI in the Series, he won MVP thanks to his defense. He was the first position player to win Series MVP without a RBI. [9] The only prior Series catchers to even catch four in a row were back in the 1950s - Jun Hirota and Shigeru Fujio. [10]