Two Okinawan players picked at Japan pro-baseball draft

Two young baseball players from Okinawa were drafted at the Japan Professional Baseball amateur draft at a Tokyo hotel on Thursday.

The two can now start negotiations with their respective teams. In the Japanese draft system the teams vie for the right to negotiate with their prospective players. If multiple teams select a player, the rights to negotiate are assigned by a lottery.

One of the Okinawan players is 24-year-old left-hander Motoharu Fukuchi, who is currently playing in Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Yokohama Baseball Team in the Japanese corporate baseball league.  He was picked up by DeNA BayStars in the fourth round of the draft. Fukuchi has a 151-km/h fastball. He was born in June, 1990, and is 182 cm tall weighing 92kg.

The second player from Okinawa is Yusuke Shimabukuro, who is a student at Chuo University.  Soft Bank drafted him in the 5th round. Shimabukuro is also a left- handed pitcher, and participated both in the spring and the summer high school baseball championships at Koshien when he was in Konan high school.  Shimabukuro was born in October, 1992. He bats and throws left, and is 173 cm tall and weighs 71kg.