Shunsuke Watanabe’s unique throwing motion has proven successful even beyond the baseball diamond.
Watanabe, a submarine-style pitcher who signed a minor league contract with the Boston Red Sox this offseason, revealed to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford in Fort Myers on Sunday that he holds the Japanese record for skipping stones.
Watanabe told Bradford through a translator that he once skipped a stone 27 times while appearing on a Japanese variety show that, coincidentally, also featured an appearance by former Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine.
Watanabe’s non-baseball accomplishment is impressive, but it isn’t all that surprising given his delivery. The right-hander has perhaps the lowest arm angle on the planet, and Watanabe told Bradford that his knuckles even scrape the ground “once or twice a season.”
“It’s not that I’m trying to go lower, but I’m just trying to get the ball to hop,” Watanabe said. “I’m not very tall, and my specialty is my flexibility, so in order to fully utilize that, it was probably the best way to maximize my starts.”
Watanabe, who likely will begin the season in the minors, joins the Red Sox after spending his entire 13-year career with the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League. The 37-year-old went 87-82 with a 3.65 ERA in 255 appearances (240 starts) during his Japanese baseball career.
Photo via Twitter/@stevesilva