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Countdown to Arizona Diamondbacks Opening Day: D-54, Yuhei Nakaushiro

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Less than a week until pitchers and catchers report...

By Nsgok (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

We asked you to rank the 40-man roster along with the 16 non-roster invitees to spring training, and every day between now and the eve of Opening Day, we’ll have a profile of one of those Diamondbacks.

D minus 54: Yuhei Nakaushiro

  • Date of birth: September 7, 1989
  • Ht/Wt: 6’0”, 160 lbs
  • Position: Pitcher
  • Status: Non-roster invitee
  • Bats/Throws: L/L
  • 2016 MLB numbers: Did not play
  • SnakePit Rating: 2.62 [pattern of votes below]

At one point, Nakaushiro appeared to have a bright future in Japanese baseball. He had been a star at the college level (from when the pic above comes), playing for Kinki University and as part of the Japanese collegiate national team. He was part of the team which played against their American brothers in North Carolina, where he was described as a “crazy lefty sidearmer.” But after he was drafted in the second round of the 2011 NPB Draft, by the Chiba Lotte Marines, for whatever reason, things seemed to fall apart. He threw only 25.1 innings for them, across parts of three seasons and walked 23 batters. At the end of 2015, they’d had enough and cut him loose.

Several MLB teams were interested, and it was the D-backs who signed him last February. He played across four levels of our farm system that year (I think after going through extended spring training) and ended the season with 13 bullpen appearances for the Reno Aces. There, he didn’t allow a run, and had a K:BB ratio of 13:3 over 10.2 innings. Overall, he held left-handed batters to a line of .175/.288/.175 in the minors, and it’s as a LOOGY that he’ll be getting a look this spring. As we’ve noted, it’s an area where the team doesn’t have many options at this point, so a good spring could boost Nakaushiro’s standing significantly.

Here’s a video of him in action in Japan, showing that “crazy sidearm” delivery. It came through Inside the Zona, in a piece at the time of his signing, that also had some more background on him.

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