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Patrick Newman

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Draft Storylines: For the Love of the Giants

by Patrick Newman (Oct 29, 2008)

Every so often, an amateur player comes along who refuses to play for any team other than the Yomiuri Giants. This year, that guy is Honda outfielder Hisayoshi Chono. Chono has been willing to put his money where his mouth is in the past: Nippon Ham took him out of college with a mid-round pick, but he refused to sign and instead moved on to the amateur Industrial League. This time around, he's said he'll remain with Honda unless the Giants select him.

Chono has reportedly been on as many as 10 teams' short list for draft candidates, but some fluxuation is starting to be reported. Nippon Ham unsurprisingly took him off their list. Yakult pulled him off their list, but then put him back on. And Hanshin is said to have narrowed down their choice for their top pick to Chono and Waseda University outfielder Keijiro Matsumoto

Having said all that, I don't quite understand what the hype around this guy is. I haven't seen him live, or even in a full game on TV, but I did find this 10 minute game footage reel of him via Draft Reports. And I'm not impressed. He is very clearly vulnerable to breaking pitches; check out the sequence at about 6:00 where Junichi Tazawa feeds him nothing but curves and sliders, resulting in a strikeout and a booted grounder. He does seem to run and throw reasonably well in the video.

Still, it seems like there's a pretty good chance that he'll get selected by someone with a reasonably high draft pick. It'll remain to be seen whether it's the Giants or someone else, and if he sticks to his guns this time.

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