Daisuke Motoki (元木 大介)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 182 lb.
- High School Uenomiya High School
Daisuke Motoki was a two-time All-Star in 14 seasons in Nippon Pro Baseball.
Motoki was picked by the Daiei Hawks in the 1989 draft with their first selection (well, Hideo Nomo had been their first pick, but the lottery had sent his rights elsewhere). Daisuke refused to sign with Daiei, insisting he would only play for the Yomiuri Giants and played in Hawaii. He played alongside Benny Agbayani while in Hawaii. In 1990, the Giants chose him in the first round. Motoki made it to the big club in 1992. In his debut, he pinch-ran for Takeshi Omori. His first hit came off Manabu Kitabeppu but he was only 7 for 59 on the year, with a double, two triples and 10 walks.
Daisuke's first homer came off Koji Noda in 1993. He hit .237/.352/.349 that year while splitting 2B with Kazunori Shinozuka. He was one of four second basemen to play 30-60 games for the Giants in 1994, hitting .280/.347/.362. He was 0 for 9 in the 1994 Japan Series, in which Yomiuri beat the Seibu Lions. In 1995, he batted .244/.299/.355 in 67 games, splitting time at second with Kaoru Okazaki and Akihito Fukuo.
His playing time was inching upwards, to 91 games and 288 AB in 1996, when he hit .229/.294/.378 with nine home runs. He was 1 for 14 in the 1996 Japan Series as Yomiuri lost to the Orix BlueWave. In 1997, Motoki produced at a .282/.315/.407 clip in 101 games, backing up Toshihisa Nishi at 2B, Masahiro Kawai at SS and sharing time at 3B with Pedro Castellano, Koji Goto and Luis de los Santos).
The former first-rounder had a career-high 456 plate appearances in 1998; he went deep nine times for the third straight year (he would never reach double digits). He still was not exactly a starter, splitting third base with Goto and seeing regular action as Kawai's backup at short. He finished the year at .297/.373/.426. He was 9th in the Central League in average, between Yoshinobu Takahashi and Makoto Imaoka and was 10th in OBP (between Kazuhiro Kiyohara and Koichi Sekikawa. He hit into 18 double plays, third behind Bobby Rose and Norihiro Komada. His .398 average with runners in scoring position led the league. He made the CL All-Star team. In game one of the 1998 NPB All-Star Games, he pinch-hit for Kiyohara in the 9th and singled off Yui Tomori; Takayuki Shimizu pinch-ran. In game two, he batted for Atsuya Furuta and was retired by Tatsuji Nishimura. The CL beat the Pacific League in game 1 and tied game 2.
The Toyonaka native slumped to .229/.305/.321 in 1999, when he was the starter at 3B. He still made his second straight All-Star team. In 1999 NPB All-Star Game 1, he was a defensive sub at 2B for Rose and moved to 3B when Yutaka Wada entered; the CL won 8-4. In game 2, he replaced Rose at 2B, made an error and was retired by Fumiya Nishiguchi as the CL won in a 9-5 contest. In game 3, he took over at 2B when Wada moved to 3B and was retired by Brian Warren in a 1-0 win. The CL had gone 4-0-1 in his five All-Star Games.
Motoki rebounded to .274/.347/.377 in 2000, when he played all four infield spots as well as the outfield; the utility man backed up Akira Eto at 3B and Tomohiro Nioka at SS primarily. In the 2000 Japan Series, he was 1 for 10 with a walk and a run as Yomiuri beat the Hawks. He played a career-high 123 games in 2001, hitting .292/.354/.417. He edged out Nioka as the Giants' most-used shortstop and was their #1 backup outfielder as well.
In 2002, the veteran batted .257/.298/.350 while backing up Eto at 3B, Nioka at SS, Nishi at 2B and Eto, Kiyohara and Goto at 1B. He hit into a CL-high 19 twin killings (two ahead of Takahiro Arai) and tied Hirofumi Ogawa and Kosuke Fukudome for second in sacrifice flies (5, one behind George Arias). In the 2002 Japan Series, he was 2 for 3 with a walk and two RBI as Yomiuri swept Seibu. He was down to 153 plate appearances and 60 games in 2003, hitting .224/.260/.287 while mostly backing up Eto at the hot corner. He hit .240/.273/.331 in 128 plate appearances over 60 games in 2004, backing up Nioka at SS. In 2005, he batted .305/.363/.343 in 120 plate appearances and 41 games as a utility infielder.
Overall, Motoki hit .262/.326/.369 with 376 runs, 378 RBI and 66 homers in 1,205 NPB games, with 312 walks and 21 steals in 41 tries. He played 399 games at 3B (fielding .959), 373 at 2B (.991), 348 at SS (.980), 64 in the outfield (1.000) and 48 at 1B (1.000). He has been a baseball commentator on TV.