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CPBL/KBO/NPB Update: August 02 to August 08

We check in on our adopted teams in Asia, the Uni-President Lions (CPBL), the LG Twins (KBO), and the Tokyo Yakult Swallows (NPB).

Japanese pitcher Hirofumi Yamanaka pitch
Hirofumi Yamanaka
Photo credit should read RODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP via Getty Images

CPBL

Why the Uni-President Lions?

  • Tainan City, home of the Lions, is one of the oldest and largest cities in Taiwan
  • Tainan Municipal Baseball Stadium is directly under the flight path of airplanes flying in and out of the nearby Tainan Airport.
  • The team has talent and looks good on paper but has been thwarted time and time again in the last few years by poor on-the-field field management and front office executive decisions.
  • Employed in their organization at one time or another former player and SNY analyst Nelson Figueroa, Columbia Fireflies pitching coach Jerome Williams, former manager Mickey Callaway, and Generation K member Bill Pulsipher.

August 02 (29-38)

Uni-President Lions 10, Rakuten Monkeys 4 (BOX)

  • LF Chieh-Hsien Chen (#24): 1-4, 2 RBI, K, SB (13)
  • CF-RF Wei-Sheng Chang (#52): 1-3, 2 R, 2 BB, K
  • RF An-Ko Lin (#77): 1-4, R, HR (21), 3 RBI, K
  • 1B Kuo-Ching Kao (#68): 2-4, 2 R, BB
  • 3B Chung-Ting Chen (#66): 2-5, SB (5)
  • 2B Ching-Kai Lin (#64): 3-5, 2 R, 2 RBI
  • RHP Tzu-Chien Shih (#45): 6.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, E (2), W (6-4)

August 03 (29-38)

NO GAME (SCHEDULE)

August 04 (30-38)

Uni-President Lions 6, CTBC Brothers 5 (BOX)

  • DH Chieh-Hsien Chen (#24): 3-5, R, 2 RBI
  • CF Wei-Sheng Chang (#52): 2-4, R, BB, SB (1)
  • LF Chih-Chieh Su (#24): 1-5, K
  • RF An-Ko Lin (#77): 0-3, R, RBI, BB, 2 K
  • SS Tzu-Chieh Lin (#39): 2-4, R
  • C Yu-Le Lin (#31): 2-3, K, E (2)
  • RHP Brock Dykxhoorn (#50): 5.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 2 HR
  • RHP Yun-Wen Chen (#12): 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, SV (10)

August 05 (31-38)

Uni-President Lions 5, CTBC Brothers 4 (BOX)

  • LF-CF Chieh-Hsien Chen (#24): 3-4, BB, SB (14)
  • DH Chieh-Jui Wu (#62): 2-5, R
  • 1B Kuo-Ching Kao (#68): 3-5, 2 R
  • 3B Yung-Chi Chen (#13): 2-4, R, K
  • PH-RF An-Ko Lin (#77): 1-2, R, HR (22), 4 RBI, K
  • RHP Wei-Lun Pan (#18): 6.0 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K
  • RHP Yun-Wen Chen (#12): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, SV (11)

August 06 (31-38)

NO GAME (SCHEDULE)

August 07 (32-38)

Uni-President Lions 7, Fubon Guardians 2 (BOX)

  • DH Chieh-Hsien Chen (#24): 3-5, 2 R, 2 RBI
  • RF An-Ko Lin (#77): 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR (23, 24), 4 RBI
  • LF Chih-Chieh Su (#24): 1-4, K
  • RHP Josh Roenicke (#30): 5.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, W (5-4)

August 08 (32-39)

Fubon Guardians 4, Uni-President Lions 0 (BOX)

  • CF Chieh-Hsien Chen (#24): 2-4
  • DH An-Ko Lin (#77): 1-4, K
  • LF Chih-Chieh Su (#24): 0-3
  • 2B Ching-Kai Lin (#64): 2-3, SB (8)
  • LHP Chen-Yen Chiang (#16): 7.0 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, HR, L (4-8)

KBO

Why the LG Twins?

  • Represent a major metropolitan area.
  • Share Seoul (and Jamsil Baseball Stadium) with a rival team and compete for fans.
  • Have been a team that, on paper, should compete but just have not been able to put things together over the last few years
  • Have a strong pitching staff in 2020.
  • Staff ace, Casey Kelly, has been denied numerous wins over the years due to anemic hitting or a leaky bullpen despite quality starts.
  • LG Corporation spends money on the team but does not always allocate that money wisely.
  • Retired the number 41, worn by one of the best right-handed pitchers in team history.

August 02 (40-32-1)

POSTPONED (RAIN)

August 03 (40-32-1)

POSTPONED (RAIN)

August 04 (41-32-1)

LG Twins 15, KIA Tigers 5 (BOX)

  • RF Chang-gi Hong: 1-5, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 K, HBP
  • SS Ji-hwan Oh: 1-4, R, RBI, BB, K
  • RF Eun-sung Chae: 2-4, 2 R, HR (8), 3 RBI, BB
  • DH Hyun-soo Kim: 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR (15, 16), 5 RBI, K
  • 1B Roberto Ramos: 1-3, R, BB, K
  • LF Hyung-jong Lee: 2-4, R, RBI, BB
  • 2B Ju-hyeon Jung: 2-3, R, RBI, K, E
  • SS Bon-hyeok Koo: 2-2, R
  • RHP Tyler Wilson: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K

August 05 (42-32-1)

LG Twins 6, KIA Tigers 4 (BOX)

  • CF Chang-gi Hong: 2-5, 2 R, HR (2), RBI, 2 K
  • SS Ji-hwan Oh: 1-3, 2 R, HR (9), RBI, 2 BB, K
  • DH Eun-sung Chae: 2-5, R, 2 RBI, K, CS (3)
  • LF Hyun-soo Kim: 3-4, BB
  • 1B Roberto Ramos: 0-4, 3 K
  • RHP Min-ho Lee: 6.0 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, W (3-2)
  • RHP Woo-seok Ko: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, SV (3)

August 06 (42-32-1)

KIA Tigers 13, LG Twins 1 (BOX)

  • SS Ji-hwan Oh: 0-3, K
  • RF Eun-sung Chae: 2-4, R
  • LF Hyun-soo Kim: 1-3
  • 1B Roberto Ramos: 0-3, 2 K
  • RHP Chan-gyu Lim: 4.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 5 BB, 3 K, 2 HR, L (7-4)

August 07 (43-32-1)

LG Twins 5, Kiwoom Heroes 2 (BOX)

  • CF Hyung-jong Lee: 2-5, R
  • SS Ji-hwan Oh: 2-5, R, K
  • RF Eun-sung Chae: 2-4, R, RBI, K
  • LF Hyun-soo Kim: 1-4, 2 RBI
  • DH Roberto Ramos: 1-3, R, HR (20), 2 RBI, BB, 2 K
  • RHP Casey Kelly: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, HBP, W (5-6)
  • RHP Woo-seok Ko: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K, SV (4)

August 08 (43-33-1)

Kiwoom Heroes 5, LG Twins 1 (BOX)

  • SS Ji-hwan Oh: 1-4
  • RF Eun-sung Chae: 2-4
  • DH Hyun-soo Kim: 1-4
  • 1B Roberto Ramos: 1-4, R, HR (21), RBI, K
  • LHP Yun-sik Kim: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, HR, L (0-2)

NPB

Why the Yakult Swallows?

  • The Swallows play in Tokyo, the largest city in Japan.
  • The Swallows are overshadowed by the other team that plays in Tokyo, which has had much more success over the years, the Yomiuri Giants.
  • For the first decade of their existence, the Swallows did not end a single season with a winning record.
  • Meiji Jingu Stadium opened in 1964, the same year as Shea Stadium.
  • The best player in team history was a pitcher.

August 02 (17-15-5)

Yakult Swallows 0, Chunichi Dragons 0 / 10 (BOX)

  • 2B Takeshi Miyamoto: 2-4
  • LF Norichika Aoki: 2-4, K
  • 3B-1B Munetaka Murakami: 0-3, BB, K
  • RHP Hirofumi Yamanaka: 8.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K

August 03 (17-15-5)

NO GAME (SCHEDULE)

August 04 (17-16-5)

Hiroshima Toyo Carp 6, Yakult Swallows 3 (BOX)

  • RF Yasutaka Shiomi: 2-5, 3 K
  • LF Norichika Aoki: 0-3, BB
  • 3B Munetaka Murakami: 1-2, 2 BB, K
  • CF Kotaro Yamasaki: 2-4, K
  • SS Alcides Escobar: 1-4, R
  • C Akihisa Nishida: 2-4, R, 2 RBI, 2 K
  • RHP Hirotoshi Takanashi: 6.2 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K

August 05 (17-17-5)

Hiroshima Toyo Carp 4, Yakult Swallows 1 (BOX)

  • LF Norichika Aoki: 1-2, 2 BB
  • 3B Munetaka Murakami: 0-2, 2 BB, K
  • 2B Takeshi Miyamoto: 1-3, R, HR (2), RBI, K
  • RHP Hiroki Onishi: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, L (0-1)

August 06 (18-17-5)

Yakult Swallows 9, Hiroshima Toyo Carp 5 (BOX)

  • RF Tomotaka Sakaguchi: 3-5, 2 R, RBI
  • CF Yasutaka Shiomi: 2-2, R, BB
  • LF Norichika Aoki: 2-5, R, RBI, K
  • 1B Munetaka Murakami: 1-3, R, 2 BB, K, E (4)
  • C Akihisa Nishida: 2-2, R, 2 RBI
  • SS Alcides Escobar: 2-4, R, K
  • LHP Keiji Takahashi: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 3 HR

August 07 (19-17-5)

Yakult Swallows 7, Yokohama DeNA Baystars 2 (BOX)

  • 1B Tomotaka Sakaguchi: 2-5, K
  • SS Alcides Escobar: 2-4, R, RBI
  • LF Norichika Aoki: 0-3, R, 2 BB, K
  • 3B-1B Munetaka Murakami: 2-4, 2 R
  • RF Yasutaka Shiomi: 2-4, 2 R, HR (5), 2 RBI, K
  • CF Kotaro Yamasaki: 3-4, R, K, SB (3), CS (6)
  • 2B Takeshi Miyamoto: 2-4, 3 RBI, K
  • RHP Daiki Yoshida: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, WP, W (1-1)

August 08 (19-17-5)

Yokohama DeNA Baystars 5, Yakult Swallows 4 (BOX)

  • SS Alcides Escobar: 2-4, R, SB (4)
  • LF Norichika Aoki: 1-4, R, RBI
  • 1B Munetaka Murakami: 2-3, R, HR (7), 2 RBI, BB
  • RHP Yasuhiro Ogawa: 5.0 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 2 HR, L (4-2)

CPBL HItter of the Week

An-Ko Lin

5-17, 0 2B, 0 3b, 4 HR, 12 RBI, 1 BB, 5 K, 0/0 SB

May 3 to May 9: Fu-Lin Kuo (10-22, 1 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K, 1/1 SB)
May 10 to May 16: An-Ko Lin (9-23, 3 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 2 BB, 5 K, 0/0 SB)
May 17 to May 23: Chih-Chieh Su (3-6, 0 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 1/1 SB)
May 24 to May 30: Chieh-Hsien Chen (10-17, 0 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K, 0/0 SB)
May 31 to June 6: Chih-Chieh Su (11-18, 0 2B, 0 3B, 5 HR, 13 RBI, 3 BB, 4 K, 0/0 SB)
June 7 to June 13: Yung-Chi Chen (11-20, 0 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 3 BB, 6 K, 1/1 SB)
June 14 to June 20: Chih-Chieh Su (10-17, 0 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 9 RBI, 3 BB, 4 K, 0/0 SB)
June 21 to June 27: An-Ko Lin (12-21, 3 2B, 4 HR, 14 RBI, 1 BB, 8 K, 0/0 SB)
June 28 to July 04: An-Ko Lin (6-17, 0 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 4 BB, 4 K, 1/1 SB)
July 05 to July 11: Chih-Chieh Su (7-19, 3 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 2 BB, 4 K, 3/3 SB)
July 12 to July 18: N/A
July 19 to July 25: N/A
July 26 to August 01: Chieh-Hsien Chen (7-16, 0 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 0 BB, 0 K, 3/3 SB)

CPBL Pitcher of the Week

Tzu-Chien Shih

6.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, E

Tzu-Chien Shih was born on December 19, 1994 in Changhua County. He attended the National Taiwan Sport University after graduating high school. His performance there and on the Taiwanese national team during the U-23 Baseball World Cup raised his standing among scouts and executives in Taiwan, and Shih was selected by the Uni-President Lions in the 3rd round of the 2017 CPBL draft.

He appeared in five games that year, starting four, and posted a 4.12 ERA in 19.2 innings, allowing 23 hits, walking 6, and striking out 11. In 2018, he emerged as one of the Lions’ best starters, eventually winning the 2018 Rookie of the Year Award; in 107.1 innings, Shih posted a 3.86 ERA, allowing 139 hits, walking 33, and striking out 55. He was unable to keep that momentum going in 2019, posting a 6.42 ERA in 96.2 innings, allowing 127 hits, walking 22, and striking out 59.

The right-hander throws from a high-three-quarters arm slot. His fastball sits in the high-80s, topping out at 90, 91 MPH. He complements it with a two-seam fastball, a curveball, and a changeup.

May 3 to May 9: Ryan Feierabend (5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, HR)
May 10 to May 16: Ryan Feierabend: (6.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 K)
May 17 to May 23: Wei-Chih Lin (2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K)
May 24 to May 30: Ryan Fierabend (6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K)
May 31 to June 6: Chen-Yen Chiang (7.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 2 HR)
June 7 to June 13: Josh Roenicke (7.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K)
June 14 to June 20: Josh Roenicke (7.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K)
June 21 to June 27: Logan Darnell (7.0 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 10 K, HR)
June 28 to July 04: Logan Darnell (6.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, HR)
July 05 to July 11: Josh Roenicke (5.0 IP, 10 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K)
July 12 to July 18: N/A
July 19 to July 25: N/A
July 26 to August 01: Josh Roenicke (7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K)

KBO HItter of the Week

Hyun-soo Kim

8-19, 1 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 0/0 SB

May 3 to May 9: Hyun-soo Kim (6-17, 1 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 0/0 SB)
May 10 to May 16: Roberto Ramos (6-16, 1 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 5 BB, 7 K, 0/0 SB)
May 17 to May 22: Eun-sung Chae (8-25, 0 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 0 BB, 4 K, 0/0 SB)
May 24 to May 30: Roberto Ramos (9-23, 0 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 1 BB, 5 K, 0/0 SB)
May 31 to June 6: Roberto Ramos (6-17, 1 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 BB, 6 K, 0/0 SB)
June 7 to June 13: Hyun-soo Kim (7-22, 0 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K, 0/0 SB)
June 14 to June 20: Ji-hwan Oh (11-23, 2 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 6 RBI, 2 BB, 4 K, HBP, 1/1 SB)
June 21 to June 27: Keun-woo Jeong (8-14, 0 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 1 BB, 2 K, HBP, 0/1 SB)
June 28 to July 04: Hyun-soo Kim (6-25, 1 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 0 BB, 3 K, 0/0 SB)
July 05 to July 11: Hyun-soo Kim (9-23, 1 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 11 RBI, 4 BB, 2 K, 0/0 SB
July 12 to July 18: Ji-hwan Oh (7-21, 1 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 0 BB, 6 K, 0/0 SB)
July 19 to July 25: Hyun-soo Kim (8-17, 1 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 1 BB, 0 K, 0/0 SB)
July 26 to August 01: Eun-sung Chae (11-25, 0 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 16 RBI, 0 BB, 5 K, HBP, 0/0 SB)

KBO Pitcher of the Week

Casey Kelly

7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, HBP

May 3 to May 9: Woo-chan Cha (6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, HR)
May 10 to May 16: Casey Kelly (6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K)
May 17 to May 22: Tyler Wilson (7.0 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, HR)
May 24 to May 30: Casey Kelly (6.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 10 K)
May 31 to June 6: Chan-heon Jung (7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 11 K)
June 7 to June 13: Min-ho Lee (7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K)
June 14 to June 20: Chan-gyu Lim (6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 2 HBP)
June 21 to June 27: Chan-heon Jung (9.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K)
June 28 to July 04: Chan-gyu Lim (7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 8 K)
July 05 to July 11: Chan-heon Jung (6.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K)
July 12 to July 18: Woo-chan Cha (7.0 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 1 K)
July 19 to July 25: Casey Kelly (11.1 IP, 12 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 14 K, HBP, HR)
July 26 to August 01: Casey Kelly (7.0 IP, 8 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 3 K)

NPB Hitter of the Week

Yasutaka Shiomi

7-18, 0 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 2 BB, 6 K, 0/0 SB

Yasutaka Shiomi was born on June 12, 1993 in Sagamihara, a city in Japan’s Kanagawa Prefecture. He attended Busou High School, becoming a regular in his second year, but did not get the opportunity to play in Summer Koshien. After graduating high school, he attended Teikyo University, a private university in Tokyo’s Itabashi ward. After graduating from college, he worked at JX Holdings, a Japanese petroleum and metals conglomerate. He injured his knee and did not play on their industrial league team initially, but did so in 2017, attracting the attention of professional teams. In the 2017 NPB Draft, the Yakult Swallows selected Shiomi with their fourth selection.

Shiomi hit exceptionally well on the Swallows’ ni-gun team in 2018, hitting .329/.418/.593 in 48 games, but his promotion appeared a bit premature, as the 25-year-old hit .040/.077/.080 in 16 games with the Swallows. The same thing occurred in 2019 as well. On the ni-gun team, Shiomi hit .310/.430/.579 in 74 games but hit .182/.265/.284 in 45 games in the majors. He has spent more time on the major league roster than in the minors this season and is finally enjoying some success in his part-time role, hitting .268/.302/.585 in 13 games.

The 5’10” Shiomi stands slightly open in the box, holding his hands high. He swings with a small leg kick and is generally considered an average hitter. He often hits ground balls and needs to work on elevating pitches. He has a good sense of the strike zone and shows solid discipline, making pitchers throw to him rather than expanding the zone. He is a speedy runner, having honed his speed by running with wild boars while training with his college team in the mountainous areas of ​​Sagamihara, a suburb of Tokyo.

June 14 to June 20: Tetsuto Yamada (3-8, 0 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 0 K, 1/1 SB)
June 21 to June 27: Tetsuto Yamada (6-24, 0 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 1 BB, 8 K, 1/1 SB)
June 28 to July 04: Naomichi Nishiura (5-15, 1 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 7 RBI, 2 BB, 5 K, 0/0 SB)
July 05 to July 11: Tomotaka Sakaguchi (7-21, 0 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 3 BB, 6 K, 1/1 SB)
July 12 to July 18: Munetaka Murakami (13-23, 3 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 9 RBI, 2 BB, 5 K, 0/0 SB)
July 19 to July 25: Norichika Aoki (9-15, 3 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 8 RBI, 5 BB, 0 K, 0/0 SB)
July 26 to August 01: Munetaka Murakami (5-20, 1 2B, 0 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 3 BB, 5 K, 0/0 SB)

NPB Pitcher of the Week

Hirofumi Yamanaka

8.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K

Hirofumi Yamanaka was born on September 9, 1985 in Amakusa, a city in Japan’s Kumamoto Prefecture. He played softball with his older brother while a child, and then then he got to high school, transitioned to playing baseball. It was while he was attending Kumamoto Senior High School that he began throwing underhand. In his third year, he was the ace of the staff, but did not get to pitch much due to injuries. After graduating high school, he attended Tokai University, where he pitched well, but thanks to his atypical mechanics and subpar stuff, not well enough to be drafted. After graduating from college, he would work at the Honda Motor Company, where he played on their baseball team. It was his success in the industrial leagues that got the attention of Japan’s major league clubs, and in the 2012 NPB Draft, the 27-year-old was drafted by the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks with their sixth selection.

He spent the majority of the season on the Hawks’ ni-gun team but made the team towards the end of the season. The results were not overly impressive, as he posted a 5.52 ERA in 17 appearances, the majority of them out of the bullpen, but it showed that the submariner could get major league outs. He spent very little time with the Hawks in 2014, as he spent most of his time there on their ni-gun team. In July, he was included in a package and sent to Tokyo, traded to the Yakult Swallows. As had been the case in Fukuoka, he spent more time on their ni-gun team than their ichi-gun team and posted less-than-impressive numbers at the major league level.

In 2015, the Swallows began using Yamanaka as a starter rather than a reliever and he finally began seeing some success. In 2015, he posted a 3.24 ERA; in 2016, 3.54; in 2017, 5.14; in 2018, 3.62. In 2019, he spent the majority of the season on the ni-gun team. He began the 2020 season on the ni-gun team, his 8-inning shutout his first appearance of the season.

Hirofumi Yamanaka thrives due to his submarine-style of pitching. His fastball sits in the mid-70s and is complemented by a 60 MPH slider and a 70 MPH screwball. He walks a very thin tightrope, as he generates a lot of weak contact due to the angle of his pitches and the movement on them, but mistakes are generally hammered.

June 14 to June 20: Yasuhiro Ogawa (6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K)
June 21 to June 27: Hirotoshi Takanashi (7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K)
June 28 to July 04: Taichi Ishiyama (3.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K, HR)
July 05 to July 11: Yasuhiro Ogawa (6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K)
July 12 to July 18: Yasuhiro Ogawa (6.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, HBP)
July 19 to July 25: Yasuhiro Ogawa (7.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 3 HR)
July 26 to August 01: Keiji Takahashi (8.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, HBP)