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BIG TIME Japanese trio headed to Melbourne
10/25/2017 1:45 AM ET

We're marking three-weeks until Opening Night with a massive trio of player announcements, namely our 2017/18 Saitama Seibu Lions players: starter Kona Takahashi, catcher Tomoya Mori and reliever Shunta Nakatsuka.

Here at the Melbourne Aces, we're very proud of our long-standing relationship with the Saitama Seibu Lions and our Japanese friends have certainly delivered this year with three of their hottest young talents set to make the trip down under. Now, without futher adue, time to meet your newest Aces...

Kona Takahashi

At just 20 years of age, Takahashi is one of the rising stars of Japanese professional baseball and has attracted significant interest from Clubs around the world.

Debuting with the Lions in the Japanese professional league at just 17 years of age, Takahashi would go 5-2 in his first year, posting an ERA of just 3.07 in his eight appearances.

The 190cm tall right hander rates as one of Japanese baseball's hottest prospects having featured heavily for the Lions in the past three seasons. To date, his career record with the Lions stands at 12 wins and 17 losses with an ERA of 4.07.

Expect Deeble to add Takahashi to the Aces rotation in a similar role to Honda in the 2016/17 season.

Tomoya Mori

Another one of Seibu's young guns, Mori is 22-year-old catcher that has more than 300 games of top level Japanese baseball under his belt.

The 170cm pocket rocket debuted with the Lions in 2014 as a 19-year-old and would go on to appear in 41 games and hit .275 with six home runs. Since his debut, Mori has established himself as one of Seibu's most dangerous bats and found himself as the centre-piece of the Seibu offense.

Four seasons on and the left hander has proved he can play day in and day out, hitting for average with plenty of pop in his bat. Across 324 games, Mori currently holds a .294 career average with 35 home runs and 147 RBIs. Expect Mori to share time behind the plate with de San Miguel and slot into the top-end of the Aces line-up.

Shunta Nakatsuka

At 191cm, Nakatsuka cuts an imposing figure on the mound.

The soon to be 23-year-old made his debut at the top level with the Lions in 2017 when he threw 0.2 innings in a brief relief appearance.

Expect Deeble to use Nakatsuka out of the Aces bullpen this season, which already includes the likes of Peter Moylan and Matt Marksberry.


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This story was not subject to the approval of the Australian Baseball League or its clubs.