Kazuto Taguchi (田口 麗斗)
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 5' 7", Weight 165 lb.
- High School Hiroshima Shinjo Junior-Senior High School
Taguchi had a 6.75 ERA in three games in the 2013 U-18 Baseball World Cup for second-place Japan, fanning 9 in 5 1/3 IP. He did well in relief against Czechia and USA but struggled in a start against Canada (he did not take the loss as Japan rallied to win). Japan finished second.  He was a third-round pick of the Yomiuri Giants in the 2013 NPB draft after Seiji Kobayashi in round one and Ren Wada in round two. 
He spent 2014 in the minors, going 2-0 with a 1.75 ERA in the Eastern League. He split '15 between the big club (3-5, 2.71 in 13 G) and the farm (4-4, 3.47 in 12 G). In 2016, he became a mainstay of the Yomiuri rotation. He became their youngest lefty to win a complete game since Hisao Niura 45 years prior.  He went 10-10 with a 2.72 ERA. He was 4th in the Central League in ERA (behind Tomoyuki Sugano, Kris Johnson and Yusuke Nomura).  He also tied Hiroki Kuroda and Yuta Iwasada for 5th in wins and tied Atsushi Nohmi for 8th with 126 K.
The little left-hander kept on rolling. He made his first CL All-Star team for the 2017 NPB All-Star Games. Relieving Raúl Valdés in the 3rd with a 1-0 deficit against the Pacific League, he retired all six batters - Kenta Imamiya (K), Shogo Akiyama (GO), Hideto Asamura (GO), Shohei Otani (FO), Yuki Yanagita (K) and Nobuhiro Matsuda (LO) - the latter five being the top and middle of the PL lineup. Akitake Okada took over with a 1-1 tie.  He was 13-4 with a 3.01 ERA for 2017. He had a 8-game winning streak, the best by a Yomiuri hurler under age 22 since Masumi Kuwata.  He was 4th in the CL in wins (behind Sugano, Kazuki Yabuta and Miles Mikolas), 7th in ERA (between Takumi Akiyama and Daichi Osera) and was 7th in K (122, between Akiyama and Nohmi). 
In 2018, he struggled (2-8, 4.80) and wound up back in the minors (2-0, 1.99 in 7 G). Moving to the bullpen in 2019, he was 3-3 wit ha save and a 4.13 ERA in 55 games for the big club, striking out 66 in 65 1/3 innings. He allowed three runs in 1 2/3 IP in the 2019 Japan Series as Yomiuri was swept by the Softbank Hawks. 
Despite a lackluster '18-'19, he was picked for Japan's squad for the 2019 Premier 12. He got into three games. Against Australia, he relieved Shun Yamaguchi with a 2-1 deficit in the 5th. He retired David Sutherland and fanned Allan de San Miguel. Tim Kennelly singled but Andrew Campbell flew out. Takayuki Kishi relieved in the 6th. Facing defending champion South Korea, he saved Yudai Ono's 10-8 win. Taking over in the 9th for Kan Otake, he gave up a single to Hyun-soo Kim but got Byung-ho Park then Kyoung-min Hur hit into a double play. In the finale against South Korea, he again provided solid relief. He replaced Rei Takahashi in the 4th with a 4-3 lead. Hyun-soo Kim again greeted him with a single but he retired Eui-ji Yang and Byung-hun Min then Hur hit into a force. In the 5th, Sang-su Kim singled and Taguchi again recovered, getting Jung-hoo Lee on a fly and whiffing Ha-seong Kim but Sang-su Kim was caught stealing. Kota Nakagawa succeeded him as Japan held on to win the event.