The Tokyo Yomiuri Giants of Japan professional baseball announced the contract with Hayato Sakamoto in November 24 2016. Sakamoto signed the contract with the Giants of 1 year and his annual salary is 350 million yen. His annual salary increased by 100 million yen from last year. At the same day, Shinnosuke Abe of the first baseman contracted with the Giants, his annual salary is 260 million yen that decreased by 60 million yen from last year. And Tetsuya Utsumi of the pitcher also contracted with the Giants, his annual salary is 200 million yen that decreased by 200 million yen from last year. Because the Giants was second place of the Central League in 2016 season, so the players with poor grades have declined annual salaries.
Hayato Sakamoto ’s biography is that he’s the age of 28, and he was born at Hyogo. He is the same age as Masahiro Tanaka of the New York Yankees and Kenta Maeda of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Sakamoto began playing baseball from 7 years old, and he was playing on the same team as Tanaka. He was drafted by the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants in the first round in 2006 npb draft. He contracted with the Giants and he was expected a shortstop. Sakamoto had been play in the first team at the rookie year, and he was a cantral player for the Giants consecutively.
Sakamoto was a starting member of the opening game of 2008. He became a regular shortstop of the year and played in all games. Since then, he has played almost all games until 2016 season. In 2012 season, he hit 173 hits and became a hits leader with Hisayoshi Chono of the team mate. And in 2016 season, Sakamoto made the best stats. His batting average was .344, he become a batting leader of the Central League. And His on-base percentage is .300, it was also the best grades in the Central League. In addition, he won the Gold Glove Award of the shortstop first time.
Hayato Sakamoto also convented in the Japan national baseball team of 2013 world baseball classic, and contributed to semi-finalist of Japan team. Then he convented again in the Japan team of 2015 WBSC Premier12, and played a regular shortstop. He will be chosen as a member of 2017 WBC. Sakamoto is also a captain of the Giants since two years ago, now he is one of the leading baseball players in Japan.
What are the characteristics of his play? He throws right handed and bats right, but originally he was a lefty. So he is good at folding left elbow and hitting. He is good at hitting ball of inside pitch, His batting average of inside pitch was .385 in 2016 season. Then, he is better at hitting right-hander. In 2016 season, his batting average of left-hander is .296, but his stats of right-hander is 368. This is unusual although he is a bats right.
In private life, Sakamoto is called “Japanese Derek Jeter”, a former New York Yankees. They have a lot in common, as a shortstop, a captain, and a good looking guy. Sakamoto is not married, he also has many topics in women’s relationship. Recently, he was dating with Rie Tanaka of Japanese gymnast. But his female popularity is high, many female fans wearing his uniform in the Tokyo Dome of the Giants’s home stadium.
This youtube’s video is the movie of his interview and his playing. Will he become a regular player even in the Major league baseball? It may succeed if turning to the second baseman as like former Chicago White Sox Tadahito Iguchi.