Blue Raiders Await the Debut of High Profile Japanese Transfer Negishi
Updated: Feb 19
By: Jack Patterson
After unexpectedly making the 2021 Conference USA tournament and showing grit all season long, the MTSU Blue Raiders baseball team knew they were headed in the right direction after last season ended. Head Coach, Jim Toman, and the scouting staff built off this mindset and were able to recruit some high-profile transfers. The most notable of these would have to be a Japanese born pitcher/outfield hybrid named Tatsunori Negishi. Before transferring to MTSU in the fall of 2021, Negishi was playing at Orange Coast College, a junior college in Costa Mesa, CA. “It was more him reaching out to us,” said Toman when asked about Negishi’s recruitment process, “it was very easy, he emailed us. Like all emails, I do research on the players and nine times out of ten they are not quite good enough. So, I looked up his stats and he hit like .420 at a really good junior college.” As Coach Toman said, Negishi’s statistics really are mind blowing. In 15 games played at Orange Coast College last year, he was a major producer, batting .447 with 12 RBI’s and 12 runs scored. Toman further explained that his pitching coach called Negishi, and that call was all it took to get him to commit. Negishi packed up and transferred without even being offered a scholarship to play baseball. “We didn’t have money to offer him, so he walked on and now it looks like he is one of our better hitters. He has fit right in and has an incredible work ethic. The team loves him because when someone works as hard as he does, they respect him,” said Toman.
Negishi comes from a baseball loving family back in Japan. He said he has been playing since he was two years old, and that his father also played in high school and that his mother loves it as well. “I hope they can watch me. Because of Covid it is tough but maybe they can come. If they come it would be here when we play at home,” said Negishi. He further explained that he had made and sent a highlight video of himself from his time at Orange Coast College to the MTSU coaching staff. “They were the only offer, and it was a good deal on school, so I chose it. I like it here and I love the coaching staff, especially the two new ones. They have been very good, and I think I am very lucky to be here,” he said. With the season just about under way, Negishi and the rest of the Blue Raiders look to start off their high hope season strong vs St. John’s University on February 18th.