Soichi Fujita (pitcher)
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 5' 9", Weight 176 lb.
- High School Shimabara Chuo High School
Soichi Fujita pitched in the industrial leagues for several years out of high school, during which he injured his shoulder. In 1997, the 24-year-old was taken in the third round of the NPB draft by the Chiba Lotte Marines. Fujita made a fine debut with the Marines in 1998, going 6-4 with seven saves and a 2.17 ERA. In '99, Soichi led the Pacific League with 65 games pitched and went 3-1, 3.23 with only 13 walks in 61 1/3 innings. The LOOGY again led in appearances in 2000 (70), totaling just 59 innings. He went 2-1 with a 4.27 ERA, led the PL in holds and was named the Middle Reliever of the Year despite his far-from-stellar ERA.
In 2001, Fujita threw just 30 2/3 innings over 60 games, with results of a 0-1, 4.70 line, but still made his first PL All-Star team. The next year, the 29-year-old went 0-2, 3.86 with only 23 1/3 innings in 50 outings, walking only three batters. His string of five straight seasons with 50+ games pitched was second-highest in NPB history behind Noboru Akiyama but Hitoki Iwase has also surpassed him as of 2005. In 2003, he only pitched 28 games for the Marines, going 0-1 with a 4.34 ERA. The 2004 campaign was a 1-1, 4.50 season in which his control vanished (20 walks in 44 innings over 62 games). In 2005, Fujita went 1-4 with a 2.56 ERA and pitched two scoreless innings in the 2005 Japan Series. He was 13-15 with seven saves and a 3.53 ERA for his career through that year.
A surprise selection for Japan's roster in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, he gave up one run in one inning over three games but still picked up two holds in his LOOGY role. Fujita was 4-3 with a 3.54 ERA in 2006, throwing 40 2/3 innings in 56 games, striking out 35 and walking 7.
Main source: Japanbaseballdaily.com by Gary Garland