The Man Who Won’t Go Pro: The Story of Toyota’s Ace Soichiro Kayo

If you aspire to be a professional, you are sure to be ranked in the top ranks. The life of Toyota’s ace Soichiro Kayo (1)

Soichiro Kayo starts against South Korea at the Hangzhou Asian Games (Photo: Kyodo News)

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This year’s professional baseball draft meeting saw many college pitchers selected first. Generally, players (pitchers) who join the professional ranks from college or working adults are called “ready-to-play,” and are expected to perform well from their first year with the team.

However, even though he was not drafted, there was a talented player who was even more highly rated by professionals as an “immediate player” than them. This is Toyota Motor Corporation’s ace pitcher, Soichiro Kayo. A three-episode ongoing review of “The Man Who Won’t Go Pro” is transcribed.

(Ryoichi Yazaki: Freelance journalist)

>>Precious photos of Soichiro Kayo

The two major tournaments of the year for adult baseball are the “City Competition” in the summer and the “Japan Championship” in the fall. In both of these tournaments, they won consecutively last fall (Japan Championship) and this summer (city competition), and although they lost in this fall’s Japan Championship, where they aimed for a third consecutive victory, they have shown that they have the strength to be called the “champion” in recent years of adult baseball. We are proud of Toyota Motor Corporation.

Souichiro Kayo won the MVP (Hashido Award in the city competition) in both tournaments he won.

Getting out of a pinch and getting off the mound (Photo: Kyodo News)

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Even though it is amateur baseball, unlike high school baseball, adult baseball has fewer opportunities to be covered by the media. Therefore, the only people who know Kayo’s name are the die-hard fans. However, it is an undeniable fact that he is the current No. 1 amateur pitcher in terms of track record and ability, and his ability is at a level that surpasses that of professionals.

A scout for a professional baseball team in charge of the Tokai region where Toyota Motor Corporation is located highly praises the team.

“There is no doubt that the college pitchers selected first in this year’s draft are of good quality, but if you ask me if they can all do well in the first team from their first year, I have some doubts.

They are from the generation that was directly hit by the coronavirus, and have not practiced as hard as they should during their four years at university. These are pitchers who are not yet finished. Therefore, he will have to gain experience as a reliever, and if he is a starter, he will have to be used at considerable intervals.

However, if Kayo were to turn pro now, he would be in the starting rotation and would definitely win around 10 games. He is such a highly accomplished pitcher.”

What exactly is good? Takashi Hayashi, a professor at Asahi University who is a specialist in pitcher pitch quality analysis and has written books such as “The True Truth of Ball Speed” (Toyokan Publishing), analyzed the measured values ​​of Kayo’s pitched balls measured at stadiums and other places. do.

“The average speed of a fastball in this year’s intercity matches is 148 km (estimated). This is higher than the average ball speed of NPB pitchers. Measured data shows that the hop amount is also over 50 cm, and in Japan it is considered one of the top-class fastballs. You can say that.

Also, looking at his pitching form, it seems like he is producing a ball speed of around 150km/h even though he is not pitching at full power, so it seems that he still has plenty of energy left.

I also wish I could improve the drop of the forkball, which is an effective weapon against amateur batters, a little more. Overall, I think it’s a ball of a quality that even professionals can’t hit.”

The aforementioned scout cited his strengths as “He has a good feel in his fingertips, so he doesn’t have to worry about hitting the professional strike zone” and “he’s tall and has an angle of the ball that batters don’t like.”

But above all, his greatness lies in his game-making ability, which allows him to start and create matches.

2023-12-07 04:35:00
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