When the White Sox opened Day 3 of the MLB draft by selecting Oregon second baseman Rikuu Nishida in the 11th round, I saw a couple of tweets giving White Sox fans a heads-up about his entertainment value, although none of the videos that crossed my feed exactly explained why.
It only took the first inning of his first game in A-ball to understand it completely.
I found out about Nishida’s debut through White Sox Daily’s tweets, so when I went back to watch the game, I was already primed to watch Nishida’s every move. If I weren’t, perhaps I wouldn’t have thought anything of the way he took this pitch in the dirt.
But as he gets into a two-strike count, that’s when his movements start transcending the typical scrappy slap-hitter oeuvre. He started stepping into the back of the batter’s box, then dropping into a deep crouch while waiting for the pitcher and catcher to come to an agreement.
If that wasn’t enough, he started manipulating the rest of the batter’s box before poking a single through the middle.
And because Nishida was intent on living up to the hype as quickly as possible, he fulfilled the plus-baserunning part of his scouting report by stealing second and scoring from there on a single that didn’t reach the outfield.
In his third plate appearance, he delivered another single after creeping up in the box, but only after he called timeout on a 1-1 count to put on his right-handed batting glove, after taking the first two pitches barehanded.
I then had to go back to his previous plate appearances to see if he wore batting gloves earlier in the game. Sure enough, he came to the plate wearing batting gloves on both hands in each of his first two plate appearances. Even when you’re watching him closely, there’s no way to notice everything.
- Korey Lee went 1-for-4 with his first extra-base hit (a double) and two strikeouts.
- Adam Hackenberg also was 1-for-4 with two K’s.
- José Rodríguez went 0-for-4 with a strikeout.
- Colson Montgomery, 0-for-3 with a walk, two strikeouts and a CS.
- Bryan Ramos went 1-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout.
- Tim Elko wore the collar and silver sombrero.
- Alsander Womack was 0-for-2 with two walks.
- Terrell Tatum, 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts.
- Luis Mieses, a simple 0-for-4.
- Yoelqui Céspedes went 1-for-3 with a stolen base.
- Jake Eder: 3.1 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 1 HR, 1 WP
- Loidel Chapelli went 2-for-5 with a strikeout.
- Jacob Burke, 2-for-4 with a double, walk and stolen base.
- Brooks Baldwin was 3-for-5 with a stolen base.
- DJ Gladney singled, walked and struck out thrice.
- Wes Kath, 0-for-2 with a walk and a sac fly.
- Tyler Schweitzer: 4 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 7 K
- Rikuu Nishida went 2-for-4 with a stolen base.
- Jacob Gonzalez, 1-for-4 with a strikeout.
- Anderson Comás gae up his first A-ball runs, but in his longest-ever outing: 5 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 1 HBP
*Noah Schultz was put on the injured list with a shoulder impingement. It’s supposed to cost him a few weeks, but the season only lasts a few more weeks.
*Shane McLaughlin was hit by his own catcher’s throw on a stolen-base attempt. I don’t recall seeing a direct hit like this.