HWB Scout's View: Kyohei Muranaka

Japanese lefty impresses in Hawaii Winter Baseball

Waikiki BeachBoys lefthander Kyohei Muranaka never had the chance to pitch in Hawaii Winter Baseball's championship game due to torrential downpours Monday night, but the 20-year-old certainly made his mark this offseason.

Muranaka finished HWB with 3-1, 2.00 numbers, striking out 44 in 36 innings. Drafted by the Yakult Swallows in 2005 out of Tokai University Kofu (high school), Muranaka pitched primarily out of the bullpen in HWB before getting four starts late in the season.

He was better against righthanders than lefties, but has weapons to attack both sides of the plate. We caught up with an American League scout to give us the lowdown on the Japanese lefthander:

"He really has an idea and doesn't seem to get rattled out there," the scout said. "And for a Japanese pitcher pitching in this league who just turned 20 years old, that says a lot about him.

"He pitches to both sides of the plate, he pitches out of trouble. He creates a lot of deception in his very deliberate delivery style. His fastball is anywhere from 88-90 (mph) with room for more. His breaking ball has tight, downward rotation and he's got pretty good feel for the changeup. His changeup has good arm speed and he commands it down and to either side of the plate with more splitter-like action.

"The one thing he lacks is fastball command, but his ball is heavy and has a lot of life late in the zone. You can't teach that. He'll rush a little bit in his lower half and his arm drags behind, which affects his control. I think he's got a chance to be more than a left-on-left specialist kind of guy, but that's the worst case scenario."