The Daiei Hawks and the Yomiuri Giants, (the organization that compelled the rest of Japanese organized baseball to accept this system a few years ago), have each secured their first two draft picks. The Giants' first pick is slugging outfielder Yoshinobu Takahashi. While playing for Keio university, Takahashi hit 23 career homeruns, setting a new Tokyo Roku Daigaku league record.
The second biggest "gyakushimei' (reverse designee--a player who designates his team rather than the other way around), of the '97 draft is another player from Tokyo's Roku Daigaku league, pitcher Takenobu Kawakami of Meiji University. Kawakami is a stocky fireballer who is one of the best pitchers to survive the savages of the Tokyo Roku Daigaku in years.
The third biggest name in the draft is that of high school pitcher Tomoya Kawaguchi of Kyoto's Heian High School. As a high schooler he is unable to select the team that drafts him, although he has the option of not signing and playing in college or in the industrial leagues until he earns his gyakushimei rights. For more on Kawaguchi's brilliant (and perhaps arm-shattering) performance in last summers' national high school baseball tournament, see High School Baseball News.
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