I was inspired by audriel89’s analysis, so I thought of writing about my thoughts of who may be included in the summer roster. The jersey numbers have been revoked so there’s so much to choose from, but the Golden Week showed pretty much some clues on who may be included in the list.
Miyuki Kazuya — Well, he’s admittedly the best catcher among all the others. He proved himself to be a reliable 4th batter. Plus, he’s the captain, so there’s just no way we won’t see him get that number 2 jersey. (Plot armor. Haha.)
Ono Hiroshi — He has always been an official reserve catcher. He forms a good battery with all the pitchers as well. I actually don’t remember him catching for Furuya on an official game, but he recently mentioned on chapter 77 that he failed to be effective during the Meiji Jingu tournament. If anything bad happens to Miyuki (of course, I’m not wishing for this), I think he’s the best choice to be the substitute.
Okumura Koushuu — With the plays he showed during the intra-squad game between 1st years and 3rd years and the two games during the Golden Week (which they both won), I think he already proved himself to be a capable catcher as well as a good hitter. Miyuki noted that he is able to communicate well with the pitcher. Ochiai also said that he has good leadership skills that is able to make even the older members follow him. If I’m going to be honest, I think he’s better than Ono skill-wise, but it’s just that Ono has been trusted by the other members for a longer time. Anyhow, I bet Okumura is going to be the future Miyuki. And honestly, here’s to hoping that he will be able to experience having fun during the official games on summer. And he has to get the acknowledgment he wants from Miyuki before he retires!
Yui Kaoru — We really haven’t seen him play a game as a catcher, but he’s a good batter (I think he’s better than Masashi now) and, as noted by Ochiai, a good runner, so it will be good to have him on the first string. If Sawamura only had one hit during the time he relieved while he had a battery with Yui during the recent Golden Week game, I think he’s pretty capable, too. Seeing that he had difficulties catching Furuya’s fastballs while Furuya felt that it was easy to pitch to Okumura, I think Furuya will prefer to form a battery with Okumura over him, though. Unless he will be able to change his impression to him in the short time left.
Sawamura Eijun — With his notable pitching during the Golden Week against Hakuryuu, there’s just no way he will not be included in the roster! And here’s to my hopes that he will finally get that number 1 jersey! He may be lacking to be the Ace before, but now, he’s certainly up for it. He deserves to get the position. The difficult circumstances he was able to overcome molded him into the kind of pitcher he is now — able to calmly pitch even with runners on base or in pinch (started when he was in junior high), to make different pickoff patterns (thanks to Chris for actually teaching him to pickoff), to coordinate with Miyuki to oust a stealing runner, to effectively pitch low and away (again, thanks to Chris helping him while he had yips) combined with his high inside, and to throw different pitches through varying grips (hey, thanks to Ochiai for this). What’s more, he’s always trusted his team mates as he has been expressing always through his catchphrase and the different appeals he make for them. Plus, he’s always seeking to improve himself, always being hard on himself despite the positive performances he show. I think what he only needs now is to be fully trusted by his team mates. I have no doubts about him getting better in batting because what he’s set his eyes on, he always pursue and make happen.
Kawakami Norifumi — He is becoming even more reliable now, what with his getting better throwing his sinker. In the recent update, I think he’s become even more determined to snatch the Ace number. Honestly, I wouldn’t have problem if he’ll get it because I think he’ll be like Tanba back in the day.
But I still want Eijun to be the Ace because Miyuki. I’d really love to see him shine during one of the upcoming games because his last performance during the Spring tournament didn’t end well. He just deserves to pitch to a game where he will be satisfied before he retires!
Kawashima Kengo — I have no idea what types of pitches he throw but he seems to be quite good, based on the stats of the Golden Week games. Miyuki was glad that he was added as a pitcher, too, so his performance should be helpful for the first string.
Furuya Satoru — As of chapter 77, Ono already confronted Furuya with one of his problems. In the 1.5 months, I think he will be able to pick himself up again and get better (prolly straightening out his view of his teammates and improving his control and all), but I’m really just biased toward Eijun that I don’t want him to get the Ace number. But I still like Furuya. Anyhow, he’s such a good batter that it’ll be a shame if he won’t be chosen to be part of the roster. Oh, and if he’ll be able to control better his pitches, I think he’ll be a much scarier left fielder, especially since he has a good shoulder/throwing arm already.
Maezono Kenta — His performance as a batter has become more stable now. I think him being on the 5-hole isn’t bad at all. That lineup of them (Kuramochi, Haruichi, Shirasu, Miyuki, Maezono) is aggressive and powerful, though, of course, it may change based on their opponents. People were waiting for his comeback during their last game with Ichidai Sankou, so I think he better give the audience what they want and go smack all the pitches out of the park!
Kominato Haruichi — Ever since the start of the series, having him on the plate already gives me that assurance that he’s just not letting anything pass by easily. He’s improved so much even with his combination with Kuramochi. I’m so excited to see him giving the pitchers a hard time with that wood bat of his!
Seto Takuma — He’s been moved up on the second string and is always seen on base, even if the first time (during the game with the 3rd years) he got through perseverance, he was still able to get on base. He puts pressure on the pitcher while on base. His presence is very much like Kuramochi who pitchers dislike to get on base. The way they smile are similar, too! I think it’ll be scary to see him and Kuramochi both on base.
Kuramochi Youichi — Of course, he’s the team’s vanguard! Whether he gets on base or not affects the result of the play. I’m pretty sure he’s going to be the leadoff batter again. I wonder if we’ll actually see him being admired by the audience because of switch-hitting. I know he gets on base more when batting left, but he’s sticking to switch-hitting because it’s cool for him, so I hope he gets recognition for that. Oh, and his combination with Haruichi is one of the things I’m most excited about, too! I’m looking forward to seeing them delivering difficult plays.
Takatsu Hiroomi — His position is a shortstop like Kuramochi, but he hasn’t been seen playing the part. All that we’ve seen of him is his batting skills and he was successful in appealing to the coaches as he was moved up to the first string. I’m looking forward to seeing more of him, though. I hope Terajima-sensei shows more of his personality, not just his attitude toward baseball.
Kanemaru Shinji — He has been proving himself worthy to play the third baseman. And props to him for performing well as a batter when he was first given the opportunity as a pinch hitter. Ever since then, he is gradually improving himself. But I think he still has to practice more batting. I don’t know why but I’m hoping that he’s one of those who will be able to hit off Mei. Anyhow, I think his performance during defense is good enough.
Shirasu Kenjiro — I love it whenever he shows his throwing skills. It’s just lovely to see him throw to the plate to get the runner out. He is even more reliable now than before, especially that he hits more now when he’s at bat.
Toujou Hideaki — Toujou used to be a pitcher (but he still volunteers to be a practice pitcher) in junior high and he still hasn’t given up to be one. It is possible that he may join the group of pitchers for first string once the current third years graduate, but for now, he is a reliable center fielder and batter.
Asou Takeru — Asou seems like a good observer. He was able to catch a ball a batter sent to an irregular spot. (I’m not 100% sure about this because Seki mentioned it at the dugout, too, so they might have been discussing about it while they were watching the game.)
Yuuki Masashi — For now, he has to improve his fielding skills which are very much like EIjun’s and Furuya’s when they were still first years. With his determination, I think he will be able to get better in the short time left. During the time he batted at the game with Ichidai Sankou, he struck out because of the lack of strategy. I think he better improve with that, too.
The next two are really some more wild guesses.
Yamaguchi Ken — He is able to hit long, much like Maezono, though Maezono really just improved so much more than him. Nevertheless, he plays well with the other third years which are on the previous list of roster and while on the Golden Week practice matches.
Seki Naomichi — I think this is more like because I’m quite biased toward him compared to the other less-focused-on third years, but I will really miss his “naa?” if he won’t be in the roster. Anyway, I don’t remember much of his plays, but I think he’s skilled enough to be given the number 13 jersey before. Oh, and he’s the other bunt master aside from Eijun!
Some more thoughts about the other players:
Kijima Rei — He plays second baseman like Haruichi and like him, looks up to Ryosuke. I think he is quite good, though the most memorable scene I remember of him is when he was the first base coach during the game against Yakushi before. I actually want him to be in the roster, too.
Mimura Ryota — Like Kijima, the most memorable scene of him for me is when he acted as the third base coach for the game against Yakushi. I liked his judgment which made them be able to score another run. He’s apparently a center fielder like Toujou, though.
Kuki Youhei — He’s been moved up to the second string along with Seto, Okumura, and Kagami. I think he still has a lot more to learn, though. I’m glad to know that he’s somehow like Sawamura who never shows much concern even with runners on base.
Kagami Kouta — It is noted that his presence is somewhat like Shirasu’s. There’s not much scene with him, though. If he’s even better than Yamaguchi and Seki in batting as well as fielding, I think he will be chosen.
Asada Hirofumi — I have so much hopes for dear Asada. For now, he is like Sawamura during the start of Act I when he wasn’t chosen to be part of the first string. For Asada, he couldn’t even move up the second string. But I just know he boasts of a lot of potentials. Very much like Sawamura, he just needs to gradually improve one step at a time.