Oakland A’s: The mystery of Shohei Tomioka

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - JULY 16: A general view of the pitching mound during a San Diego Padres intrasquad game for their summer workouts at PETCO Park on July 16, 2020 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - JULY 16: A general view of the pitching mound during a San Diego Padres intrasquad game for their summer workouts at PETCO Park on July 16, 2020 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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Now that the 2019-20 international signing period is essentially over, let us take a look at the Oakland A’s most interesting signing – Shohei Tomioka.

The Oakland A’s had a busy 2019-20 international signing period. They landed the second highest ranked prospect in Robert Pauson, and brought a total of 23 prospects into their system. The A’s have been able to keep bringing in top talent through the international market, spending to their limit to bring in those players.

Amongst those 23 prospects, the A’s managed to find a player that few had heard of. Back in January, Oakland signed the then 23 year old Japanese pitcher Shohei Tomioka to a minor league contract with a $42,000 bonus.

If one was to search Baseball Reference or a similar site for his statistics, one would be disappointed. He was not drafted, nor made an appearance, in Nippon Professional Baseball, playing for an industrial team in Tokyo after a non-descript career at Toyo University. Little information, at least statistically, is to be had.

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However, all he needed was a chance. Tomioka had attended a tryout for the A’s in Tokyo, hoping that he would be able to impress the organization. As it turned out, his stuff had improved to the point where Oakland was interested in bringing him into the organization.

In particular, he had impressed with his velocity. Tomioka had been clocked at 95 MPH during the showcase, his three quarters delivery potentially giving him a degree of deception and the potential for excellent movement on his pitches. He also has a cutter, curve, and change, making him a potential weapon in the future if he can further develop in his time in the A’s system.

But the A’s still need to see Tomioka on the diamond. If the 2021 minor league season is going to happen, he should finally make his debut, an unknown arm getting a crack at the minors. If he can succeed, given that he will be 25 years old at the start of the season, he could move through the system quickly.

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The Oakland A’s were busy during the 2019-20 international signing period. However, none of their signings have the intrigue, or the mystery, that surrounds Shohei Tomioka.

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