Japan has announced most of its roster for the 2017 World Baseball Classic. According to Japan Times reporter Jason Coskrey, Japan has filled 27 of its 28 roster spots as they look to reclaim the title they lost four years ago.
Japan added eight players to the 19 they released in December. So far there is only one MLB player on the roster in the Houston Astros outfielder Norichika Aoki. However, even without the likes of Yu Darvish, Masahiro Tanaka, or Kenta Maeda that many in the USA will know, Samurai Japan will be loaded with talent starting with super-star Shohei Otani of the Nippon Ham Fighters.
Otani, the 22-year old pitcher/slugger is definitely one to watch. Last season he pitched in 21 games, starting 20, and went 10-4 with a 1.86 ERA over 140.0 innings. He struck out 174 and only walked 45 tossing 4 complete games. He did all of this while slugging 22 home runs and hitting .322 over 323 at bats. He is the rare phenom that not only hits, but is also a lights out pitcher on the hill.
Rounding out the rest of the roster are:
|Hiroki Matsui||Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles|
|Tomoyuki Kanno||Yomiuri Giants|
|Akiyoshi Ryo||Tokyo Yakult Swallows|
|Norimoto Nakayama||Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles|
|Naoki Miyanishi||Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters|
|Shohei Otani||Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters|
|Shintaro Fujinami||Hanshin Tigers|
|Hiroshi Masui||Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters|
|Ishikawa Ayumu||Chiba Lotte Marines|
|Toshiya Okada||Chunichi Dragons|
|Kazuhisa Makita||Saitama Seibu Lions|
|Sengaku Chika||Fukuoka Softbank Hawks|
|Hirano Hirano||Orix Buffaloes|
|Seiji Kobayashi||Yomiuri Giants|
|Ryota Ono||Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters|
|Kimihiro Shima||Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles|
|Norihiro Matsuda||Fukuoka Softbank Hawks|
|Ryosuke Kikuchi||Hiroshima Toyo Carp|
|Hayato Sakamoto||Yomiuri Giants|
|Sho Nakada||Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters|
|Tetsuto Yamada||Tokyo Yakult Swallows|
|Seiichi Uchikawa||Fukuoka Softbank Hawks|
|Norichika Aoki||Houston Astros|
|Ryosuke Hirata||Chunichi Dragons|
|Yoshi Tsuyoshi||Yokohama DeNA Baystars|
|Seiya Suzuki||Hiroshima Toyo Carp|
|Shogo Akiyama||Saitama Seibu Lions|
Eric Bynum is Managing Editor here at BaseballdeWorld. He spent three years as an ESL teacher in South Korea, and is now working on his master's degree in history with a focus on baseball and WWII. He has played and/or written about baseball for the past 30 years and is an avid Atlanta Braves fan.