Crestas Finally Win Championship

By
Updated: September 21, 2013

The Nichibutsu Crestas finally did it! After failing in their attempt to win the championship in their only attempt in 2013, the Crestas have won the AAA championship in 2018.  This team started out the year very slow at 11-12 through May and most of the fans figured they would either finish in 2nd or 3rd place – which, going into this season, they had done 6 times in the last 7 years (2016 finishing 4th). Then June hit and the Crestas came to life, going 23-3 for the month.  Yes: 23-3, with 2 loses happening within a 3-day period and both losses due to blown saves by “The General,, who only gave up 2 runs the rest of the year (1 earned). After that point, the team went 44-27 the rest of the way to finish in first place 13 games above the next closest team.  The championship series brought on Kyoto Rodan who was the Las Vegas favorites.   Fortunately for the Crestas, the Rodan’s bats didn’t show up and the easily won the series in a 3 game sweep (8-3, 8-1, 1-0).  So will next year’s team be able to repeat?  Well we will find out, but it will be much harder as the Crestas are going to be losing a few key players to the parent club.

We will now step back and review the Crestas players for the year starting with the batters and then do the pitchers, as long as they had an appearance there will be a small review of them (starting least to most).

MINARAI DOUMEI pitcher of year Terry Dumont

Batters:

Sosa Kichida RF – Sosa was signed as a FA in 2016 with the hopes that he would start to develop.  After several other OF passed him on the charts due to his lack of development he was cut in July after appearing in only 6 games in 2018.

Eiichi Abe LF – Eiichi had been on the 35 man roster the last few years and even was in the beginning of this season.  He struggled mightily and was sent down to the minors.  Due to a clerical error, he got released and was signed by Shin Seiki Evas.  Like Sosa he only played in 6 games and had minimal impact for the Crestas.

Takanori Suzuki LF-  Takanori was acquired from the PEBA and struggled in the LRS his first six weeks, so the team sent him down to the Crestas for 10 days.  In those 10 days he tore up the league with an OPS of 1.227.  While he might not have done a lot overall for the Crestas, the Crestas did a lot for him in helping him find his swing as he is now back with the C-Warriors trying to help them win the title.

Jose Miranda 2b – He was signed last season due to lack of middle IF depth and was lightning in a bottle for them.  So while he had no future LRS value the team kept him around again to help out this season.  He started 13 games for them and batted a pitiful .204/.235/.286.  The team decided that they didn’t need a 27 year old foreigner with no future value and he was released at the end of May.

Kageshisa Oyama C – Kageshisa went back and forth between A-AAA this season and did well in both leagues.  While he played a majority of it in A, while with the Crestas he made 23 appearances and had 50 AB.  In those 50 AB’s he hit .340/.377/.500 and threw out over 70% of base stealers, not bad for a round 10 pick in 2017.  While he might not be a top prospect a few more seasons like this and he may see some time as a backup catcher in the LRS.

Kazuhiro Nagata C – Kazuhiro was signed in 2015 as a free agent and has been in A until this season.  This year he was slated to stay in A again, but the team decided to make him the backup catcher after Mitsuo Iwamoto got hurt.  He made minimal impact with the team as he only appeared in 16 games and hit a measly .189/.271/.321.  Despite all of that the team has hopes that he can develop a little more on the field as he has the tools to be a decent catcher on paper.  What he does this offseason will determine his future with this club.

Shingen Okamoto RF – Three years ago scouts noticed that Shingen had the tools to be something special, but then he just didn’t develop.  Last season after struggling in AAA he was banished to A where he demolished the league and earned a late promotion to the bigs.  This season he was sent down to AAA to start the season and he showed his anger on the other pitchers in the league.  In 17 games and 59 AB’s he hit .305/.397/.678.  The team took notice and brought him up and inserted him into the starting lineup with the Crestas.  Depending on what he does this offseason to keep up his development, he will either be a starter or their 5th OF in the LRS.

Shoin Terada LF – Shoin had been the starting OF for the Crestas through most of June and then he got lost in the same fiasco that got Eiichi cut.  He then got banished to A and never heard from the rest of the season.  While up with the Crestas though, Shoin didn’t do much to impress unlike last season’s OPS of 1.081 this season was .716.  With his age now coming into serious play, Shoin might not be with the organization next season as they attempt to get younger prospects to feed the system.

Kichisaburo Imai CF – When Kichisaburo was drafted the team had high hopes for him.  They had envisioned him to be their starting CF by this time, but his skills have not developed the way the team had hoped.  This season he split time between both minor league teams and a lot of time on the injury list.  While in AAA he played 34 games and hit .262/.316/.405 and did bring good leadership to the team.  This offseason he is going to need to heal up and work hard if he hopes to make it as a backup OF in the LRS.  Otherwise Imai baseball career might be stuck in the minors.

Vincente Perez RF – Vincente did not have the season he had hoped for and that might have been due to him missing 6 weeks with an injury.  When he played he had a .720 OPS and played a solid defense.  The team thinks due to his setback caused by his injury this year that he might need another half season in AAA, but they expect him in the LRS making an impact within the year.  He has the offensive skills the team is looking for in a corner OF and also the defense the team looks for.

Mitsuo Iwamoto C – Mitsuo started the season out in the LRS, but was sent down as soon as Salvador Medrano signed a deal.  He was tearing apart AAA at the tune of .336/.399/.553 when he hurt his wrist.  The team decided to put him on the 60 day DL and he missed most of the season and was activated in time for the LRS roster expansions.  Mitsuo is the favorite to be the backup catcher next year for the C-Warriors as the team said unless Medrano takes a 9 million dollar pay cut he will not be re-signed.

Tomiji Okada 2b –  Tomiji was signed 3 years ago as a 26 year old FA due to lack of depth at the middle IF positions throughout the organization.   This season he was used in the utility role for the Crestas and performed better than expected on the field and didn’t do anything to hurt the team while batting (.253/.337/.402).  Tomiji knows his place in the organization is to be a utility guy and if there are a few injuries with the C-Warriors he may get a chance to get called up and help.  The team is hoping he is back next season.

Nobuhisa Harada LF – Nobuhisa was signed last season as insurance in the OF.  This season he appeared in 62 games and batted .267/.354/.395 for them.  While the power numbers were down, his defense did the job they were looking for.   Like many other players on the Crestas this season is probably the make or break for Nobuhisa, as if he doesn’t improve any he might just be stuck in AAA for the rest of his career, but if he can make a few adjustments he would be the perfect 4th OF for a team in the LRS.

Tasuku Kato C- Tasuku was the starting catcher after Mitsuo got hurt and he also had a down year, both at the plate and defensively.  The last 2 seasons Tasuku OPS had been in the .700’s but this season it was an awful .611 and he let 11% more base runners be safe while stealing against him.  Coming into the season the team expected great things from him and had even thought he would have made an appearance with the C-Warriors, but now the team is wondering if he will even be on the 35 man roster next year.

Shumei Toyota 3b – Shumei was claimed on waivers from Naha in January with the expectations of him being a more valuable Okada and it worked out quite well.  Shumei appeared in 91 games and started at each IF over 10 times each.  While doing that he hit .264/.341/.540 which was no surprise to the team due to his past experiences in the LRS over the previous 4 years with Naha.   The organization expects to bring him back next season and depending what is done with the backup IF’s on the C-Warriors, he could even get a good look up there.

Charles Miller CF – Charles Miller had 2 problems last season: 1) He got off to a slow start with the C-Warriors, 2) He was American (biggest problem).  Due to the signing of Medrano, Miller was banished to the Crestas and had no chance of being called up.  He did well hitting .288/.393/.418 and had 19 steals along with great defense.  He was even DFA’ed and no one claimed him due to his being American.  The C-Warriors are rumored to be clearing 3 juuki spots next year; Charles has a good chance of coming back to the Show again and competing for the starting CF job.

Pepe Sanchez 3b – This was Pepe’s 3rd season with the Crestas and at the plate was his worst, but at 3b his range went up.  The one thing though the Crestas could count on with Pepe was even though he didn’t hit well this year, when it was needed he came through.  While his batting line was only .299/.361/.354, he still almost hit .300.  This is probably Pepe’s last season with the team if they can find a replacement for him as he will be a 29 year old foreigner with no place in the LRS, but then again this organization has been known for loyalty.

Matt Miller 1b – Miller was signed on in 2016 and was pretty much signed as a filler and surprised the team.  In 2017 he had a very disappointing year and the Crestas almost let him loose, but after a good camp he got another chance and performed very admirably in the 2018 season.  Miller hit .315/.376/.460 and did decent enough at 1b this year that he may be given a spot on the 35 man roster next season.

Iwao Sanu RF- Sanu was drafted 6 years ago and has been brought along real slowly due to the fact he was only 18 when he was drafted.   He started out the year real slowly hitting only .212/.257/.515 in May, but soon woke up and even got a brief call-up to the LRS.  His final line was .326/.378/.629 and the Crestas do not expect him back next year as he should become the starting RF next season if he has a good camp and exhibition season.

Kosaku Yamasaki 3b – Signed last year after being cut mid-season by Lupin, he did so well he was in contention to get a spot on the C-Warriors until some other transactions were made.  This season his stats came way down and he is now only considered to be minor league depth now.  He hit a miserable .260/.306/.350 this season and the fact that he is only 25 and Japanese are probably what keeps him on the team.

Shane Reynolds CF – Signed on Christmas Eve in 2015, the team had hoped he could develop into a decent prospect.  In his two years he stayed in A and did an excellent job and the team brought him up this year.  The team expected him to have a few bumps in the road this season, but he excelled in hitting .308/.383/.469 for them.  He is penciled in for AAA again next year due to the crowdedness of the OF situation in the LRS for the C-Warriors.

Augusto Delgado 1b-  Delgado fall from grace with the team is well known.  He was traded (this regime’s worst trade) for when he was a hot prospect, but only regressed over the last few years and now finds himself permanently in the minors for the organization.   While he appeared a bunch at 1b, his new position became 2b by the end of the year and neither his fielding nor his hitting was what the team had expected.  His future is not with the big league club unless he shows some dramatic improvement all around.

Pitching:

Juan Fuentes – Fuentes was up for 1 week and played in 1 game.  His appearance was during a blowout and it showed how overmatched he was.  He will be in A next year.

Kuniyuki Shimada – Shimada only made 2 appearances because of the wonderful waiver wire debacle, but he looked good in both appearances.  He is expected to be in AAA next year again with a more meaningful role and hoping to prove he deserves a shot in the LRS.

Takiji Nakamura – Proving that sometimes you can’t go back home.  He was signed to a minor league contract to get some work in and then get called up.  Well minus 1 appearance he looked pretty awful for the Crestas and was soon cut.  It might be time for him to call it a day.

Kosho Hayashi – This may be GM Abcarian’s worst 1st round pick ever.  Hayashi looked like a great prospect ready for the majors when drafted.  The team took it slow because they weren’t too good at the time and Kosho has stalled ever since. This year he only got 7 appearances for the Crestas and while he wasn’t bad, he wasn’t dominate either.  While he may look like a bust, he does have age on his side, so the team will let him try being a setup man again next season.

Yasuhiro Taketo – He made 12 appearances and only gave up 1.10 ERA, but he did have a hard time finding the plate at times walking 10 in 16.1 innings.  He made a brief appearance in A this year too, but most of his time was spent with Crestas.  Taketo walks have always been his problem and it is what will be keeping him off the C-Warriors most likely next year.

Yugoro Chouda – AKA ‘Checkmate’ was in the minors this year due to his underperforming in the LRS.  At the age of 36 he does not want to be in the minors and it will be interesting if he exercises his option year, but if he does the team has informed him he will be collecting that money in AAA.

Kiemon Hashimoto – Hashimoto was lights out in 2017 and thought that had earned him a spot on the LRS team, but he was mistaken.  He started out in AAA and his disappointment showed with a 8.71 ERA in May with 10 IP, but after that he was pretty much lights out in AAA and even earned himself a brief call up to the C-Warriors.  While in the LRS he showed that he still needs to refine his game a little and hopefully will step it up next season.

Hideazu Abe – Abe started out in A and was just awful.  The only aspect of his game that was good has his K/BB ratio.  What the team saw in him to call him up to AAA no one knows, but whatever it was it worked out.  In his 5 starts with the Crestas he had a 3.03 ERA with almost a K per inning. He also got a win in the playoffs.   Abe will need to step up his arsenal if he wants to be a viable prospect, but the team is excited to welcome him back next year.

Eiichi Hosokawa – Eiichi had a down year in the LRS so he was sent down to AAA for 4 games to work on his stuff.  While down in AAA he found his flaw in the 30 IP he had and was soon called up to the majors.  While in the majors in July he showed that he had corrected his flaw, but got injured and missed the rest of the regular season.  Eiichi might be brought back next year, but only at a lesser salary.

Tatsukichi Matsumoto – Matsumoto didn’t make the C-Warriors out of camp after being with them in 2017 and instead of pouting like other players he went out and showed the team why he deserves to be in the majors.  In 27 appearances he threw 36 IP, had an ERA 2.00, 39 K’s, and only 9 BB.  This earned him a call up in early July and he never went back down.  While he showed improvement in the LRS from his previous year, Matsumoto still has a lot to learn.  Next season he is expected to stay in the LRS, but an a small stay in AAA wouldn’t surprise anyone.

Shoin Ohayashi – Shoin started the year in AAA and did not have a good May, but his starts in June he looked a bit better, just not good enough to stay.  The team sent him down to A and he never came back.  Ohayashi 5.54 ERA in AAA along with the 1.74 WHIP all need to improve or else he may find himself unemployed as his age is going to start working against him soon.

Kenji Minami – Minami was never expected to be in AAA, but his bad start in the LRS had him sent down to the Crestas to work out his mechanics.  Minami worked on them and appeared in 26 games out of the pen with an ERA of 3.49 and a WHIP of 1.24.  After showing he had become his reliable self the team called back up in September and he did so well he never came back.  Minami is scheduled to be in the pen for the C-Warriors next year.

Kojuro ‘The General’ Ogino – The General was just AWESOME all season.  The team put him as their closer and he ended up with 25 saves, an ERA of 1.80, 58 K’s in 45 innings.  While he has nothing left to prove in the minors with very few spots left on 35-man roster available he might not be promoted up unless an injury next year.

Yoshimochi Nakano – Nakano was claimed on waivers last year and when he didn’t have much of improvement during camps he was sent to AAA to be a starter.  While he started ok, in July and August he got hit hard and the team sent him down to A to get a few starts in and get his confidence back.  He was brought in September and got in 1 more start.  Next year there is a high chance that Nakano will not be with this organization unless a major improvement during the off season.

Salvador Rivera – In his 4th season with the Crestas Rivera brought consistency to the setup role.  While it wasn’t nearly as good as the previous two seasons, he was quite effective.  Rivera struck out 97 batters in 70 innings and only gave up 54 hits (with his worst BABIP).  He wasn’t called up this year due to no spots left for any juuki on the C-Warriors, but with many spots rumored to be opening up next year, Rivera will get an opportunity to earn a spot up there.

Shigeki Ikeda – Ikeda got caught up in a numbers game this year and with an option left he got sent down to AAA.  While in AAA he mostly pitched out of the pen and didn’t really do a good job at it.  He looked uncomfortable and really didn’t look into the games.  He was called up when the rosters expanded and was lights out as a starter.  If he has a good camp, there is no reason for AAA to see him ever again.

Eijiro Nakagawa – While he wasn’t as good as he was last season Nakagawa put out a great effort for the Crestas and was a key component in their staff.  He even got called up for a while with the C-Warriors and did decent for them.  He is a top prospect and will be in the C-Warriors rotation next season.

Michael Kerr – Kerr has been pitching with the Crestas since 2016 when he was signed and has been consistent since his signing.  This season he was a swingman for the team and was very good at it.  At times the team Thought about making him a permanent SP, but he was much better out of the pen.  Rumor is this offseason he will be a free agent and if he won’t re-sign another minor league deal he will be gone, maybe even back to PEBA to get a shot.

Motoki Matsuura – Picked up in a trade in 2014 with Hyakuju Shinkansen, Matsuura entered his second year as a full time SP for the Crestas.  He did not disappoint.  While his stats were nothing to write home about he had a 3.87 ERA in 22 starts and he picked up 9 wins.  The team did bench him though for the postseason, but that was because it is only a 1 series best of 5.   Next year he is expected to be the #3 or even #2 SP for the Crestas with a little hope that he can improve his game to become worthy of being a decent innings eater in the LRS.

Ichiyo Kuhabara – Let’s rewind back to 2015 when Kuhabara was the team’s pitcher of the year.  With the C-Warriors rotation a mess for the 2016 season he was guaranteed a spot and didn’t do well after 3 appearances, so he was sent down and hurt his shoulder and missed rest of year.  With injuries last year he was called up to the majors and didn’t do well there or in AAA.  Now let’s go to current time and this season.  The team told him that he would be in AAA all year barring major league injuries and he showed his 2015 form.  In 21 starts he was 13-2, 2.70 ERA and a WHIP of 1.03 He then got a start in the playoff game and was lights out getting the win.  Next season he has a good chance depending on who is kept to be in the pen for the C-Warriors and an outside chance to make it as one of their starters.

Terry Dumont –Dumont was signed as a FA in 2015 and was almost traded in 2016, but the player the C-Warriors were acquiring vetoed it.  Well that no trade might be one of the best trades the C-Warriors have ever made.  This year he was the team’s minor league pitcher of the year.  In 21 starts he went 16-2 with a 2.48 ERA, 143 K’s, only 23 BB in 145 IP.  The ONLY reason he didn’t get a call up was due to the juuki rule.  Next season the team is working on trading a SP to make room for him as he has nothing left to prove in AAA.  Dumont did not pitch in the series due to a mistake in the coaching sp order at the end of the year and the team not wanting to jeopardize his career.

Well that is your Crestas report, coming up soon the Shojo Ninjas report….