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NPB: Carter Stewart Makes First Start For Hawks Since 2021

 Leif Skodnick  |    Jun 19th, 2023 12:21pm EDT

By Matthew Tallarini
World Baseball Network

Carter Stewart made his first start on Sunday of the 2023 Nippon Professional Baseball season for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks after spending the 2022 season in the organization’s minor league system.

Stewart came to Japan ten days ago prior to his first start of the 2023 NPB season and is regarded as a prospect with the potential to play in Major League Baseball.

The SoftBank Hawks went on to beat the first place Central League Hanshin Tigers on the road at Koshien Stadium 9-0 on Sunday in Osaka, Japan.

Stewart threw 5.1 innings, allowing six hits, no earned runs, walking two batters, and striking out eight, throwing a fastball that clocked between 97-99 mph and throwing 108 pitches.

The SoftBank Hawks bullpen combined for no hits allowed, four strikeouts, and one walk during Sunday’s 9-0 shutout win.

Stewart was selected in the 2018 Major League Baseball Amateur draft by the Atlanta Braves as the eighth overall pick and did not sign right out of high school after committing to play in college at Mississippi State University.

The Braves offered him a signing bonus below the full value of the draft slot due to a wrist injury that he suffered during his high school season. He opted to not sign and instead played the 2018-19 academic year at Eastern Florida State College, where he made 13 starts, going 2-2 with a 1.70 ERA striking out 108 batters.

Stewart went to Japan after his only junior college season, signing with the SoftBank Hawks on May 30, 2019 for six years and $7 million.

Last season, Stewart pitched in Japan’s Western League in the SoftBank Hawks farm system, throwing 53.2 innings, appearing in 14 games with a 3-5 record and posting a 3.19 ERA, allowing 37 hits, four home runs, walking 42 and striking out 52.

Stewart played in the Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente in Puerto Rico during the 2022-23 winter season, starting in three games for Gigantes de Carolina going 1-1 with a 1.06 ERA and throwing 17 innings, allowing nine hits, walking four batters, and striking out 23.

During the 2021 NPB season, Stewart went 6-3 between the farm and the big club with a 3.14 ERA, pitching 77.1 innings and allowing 61 hits, two home runs, walking 47, and striking out 91.

In the 2020 NPB regular season, Stewart went 15 starts going 3-7 with a 4.16 ERA throwing 67 innings allowing 65 hits, five home runs, walking 33 batters, and striking out 48.

The second place Pacific League SoftBank Hawks at 34-25-2 will play on Friday June 23 against the first place in the Pacific League 2022 Japan Series Champions 37-26-2 Orix Buffaloes at 5 a.m. EDT on the road in Osaka, Japan. The first place Central League Hanshin tigers at 38-24-2 will play the second place 35-25-1 Yokohama DeNA Baystars in Yokohama, Japan at 5 a.m. EDT.

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Leif Skodnick