All of my family are Giants fans: “I couldn’t believe it was coming from the Giants…I couldn’t stop getting goosebumps.”
The Giants announced on the 16th that they have signed a training contract with outfielder Hidetora Funakoshi, who was no longer available from Softbank. His uniform number is “051”. Joined Softbank from Johoku High School in Kumamoto in the 5th round of the 2019 training draft. He had the running ability to steal 68 bases in the 3rd and 4th teams this season, but he was unable to be promoted to the dominant team and was left out of action in the off-season after his fourth year. He was looking for a new place to continue his career.
“I had a lot of confidence because I had a great run.I hadn’t decided where I would play, but I was thinking of doing my best with the next team.” He never became pessimistic and continued to practice in order to continue as an active player. The pickup line he received from the giant was, “Would you like to run with me?” Funakoshi, who was a Giants fan in his family, revealed his suicide, saying, “I never thought I’d get an offer from the Giants…I couldn’t stop getting goosebumps.”
Funakoshi’s greatest strength is his quick 50m time of 5.8 seconds. He is comparable to Yukyo Shuto, one of the world’s top infielders, and Funakoshi himself boasts, “If it was just speed, I wouldn’t have lost to Shuto.” At SoftBank, infielder Isamu Nomura, who, like Shuto, has quick feet as his weapon, even praised him as “I think he’s the fastest I’ve ever seen him.”
This season, he played in 90 games in the third and fourth teams and stole 68 bases. As long as he was on base, there were no signs from the bench and he was given the “green light.” Once he was on base, he aggressively and boldly aimed for the next base and had a high steal rate.
3rd team manager Fumi Ogawa also said, “In the second half of this year, he was already able to run from the first and second pitches, so he started to feel like he could use his legs as a weapon.He still has a long way to go in terms of hitting, defending, and throwing, but he has a lot of talent. In that sense, it’s important that I’m not only fast, but also able to run with a fast count,” acknowledging his significant growth as a leg specialist.
Speed is his greatest weapon, and Funakoshi feels he can still become faster. Although his legs are a great weapon, he says, “I’m not good at stealing bases.People who are good at baseball are good at stealing bases.They have good sense.But I’m not like that.” There is still room for growth in his technique, and with the guidance of coach Naohiro Suzuki, who will serve as the Giants’ second-team outfield defense and base running coach from next season, further growth is likely to be expected.
Funakoshi, who is honest and friendly, attended a press conference in his new home on the 16th with an innocent smile on his face. Feeling the joy of joining the Giants, which he has admired since he was a child, he makes a fresh start and aims to register under the control of the new world. His dream is to have 40,000 people cheering for him. He is looking forward to the day he can run around Tokyo Dome.