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Get to know the man behind the mask: Tomoya Mori
11/27/2017 10:34 PM ET
 (Ryan Schembri / SMP Images / ABL Media )

When it was announced that Tomoya Mori was headed to Melbourne with pitchers Shunta Nakatsuka and Kona Takahashi, it brought great excitement to the Melbourne Aces coaches, players and fans alike. 

Mori has played in 324 Nippon Professional Baseball games with the Seibu Lions in his home country of Japan. He has played predominantly as a catcher, but has made some appearances in the outfield also where in both cases he has shown extreme talent and ability.

His career in the NPB started when he was only 18, an amazing feat for any aspiring baseball player. Since his debut as a teenager, he's gone on to become a cult favorite and hit a career .294/.371/.469, tallying over 300 hits which have included 37 home runs. 

Mori has been sent to Melbourne to improve his defensive ability behind the plate. Working with pitchers like Mark Hamburger, Josh Tols and Virgil Vasquez along with catchers Allan de San Miguel and Braves affiliate Brett Cumberland serves to only help Mori who continues to develop as one of Seibu's best hitters. 

Anyone who has watched Mori in the first two series has already seen him show off his arm behind the plate where he has thrown out six would-be-base-stealers to lead the entire ABL. 

Offensively, Mori however has only so far teased at his ability. At 6-26 with an average of just .231, from the outside he seems to be struggling with the inside pitch, a weapon that is used much more commonly in western style baseball as opposed to the Japanese game.

After his 3-5 game against Perth in game four of our Opening Series, Mori looked like he was about to explode, but would only manage two hits in the Adelaide road series win. His two RBIs in seven games are probably below par for a three/four hitter in the line-up and given the Aces inability to score a lot of runs early in the season, this will be an area of his offensive game that could use improving.

He has shown flashes of power though with three of his six hits going for extra bases and exceptional plate discipline, drawing 4 walks to have his OBP sitting at a respectable .333. You've only to watch the 168cm pocket rocket hit batting practice to see why Seibu and the Aces coaching staff rate him so highly. His big leg kick and above average bat speed give him the ability to hit the ball with power to all parts of the field and you just get the feeling that a breakout game with the bat is not too far away for Mori.

For Melbourne fans, we can only hope that Mori's breakout series comes this weekend when the Aces host the defending ABL Champions, the Brisbane Bandits. The series kicks off this Friday night with fan favorite Mark Hamburger the likely Game 1 starter, while Tomoya Mori looks likely to get the nod behind the plate.

Friday 1 December 7pm TICKETS |

Saturday 2 December 5pm / 7.30PM TICKETS |

Sunday 3 December 1pm TICKETS |

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