Best nines 2021

The Best Nine Award winners were announced Tuesday, so I’d better make some note about them lest people think I’m still on vacation.

Central League

PitcherYuya YanagiD0.4281st
CatcherYuhei NakamuraS0.8692nd
FirstJefry MarteT0.3431st
SecondTetsuto YamadaS0.7356th
ThirdMunetaka MurakamiS0.8032nd (1 at 1B)
ShortHayato SakamotoG0.5137th
OutfieldSeiya SuzukiC0.9676th
OutfieldKoji ChikamotoT0.9011st
OutfieldYasutaka ShiomiS0.3461st

Jefry Marte‘s Best Nine with less than 35 percent of the vote was not a record, but was the third lowest score by a position player, after outfielder Yoshitomo Tani’s 31.9 percent on the 2004 PL ballot, and Hiroki Kokubo’s 34.2 percent share in 2011.

Pacific League

PitcherYoshinobu YamamotoB0.9891st
CatcherTomoya MoriL0.5853rd
FirstBrandon LairdM0.6632nd (1 at 3B)
SecondShogo NakamuraM0.8011st
ThirdYuma MuneB0.8581st
ShortSosuke GendaL0.7764th
OutfieldYutaro SugimotoB0.9111st
OutfieldMasataka YoshidaB0.7694th
OutfieldYuki YanagitaH0.5706th
DHKensuke KondoF0.5103rd (1 at OF)

It’s not that unusual for a player to record a near-unanimous vote in the Best Nine, the way Yamamoto did. Since 2002, 35 players have been named on more than 98.5 percent of their league’s ballots, with eight unanimous selections, all but one in the PL. Since 2002, the CL’s only unanimous choice was outfielder Hideki Matsui of the Yomiuri Giants.

Like I did with the golden glove votes posted on NPB’s website, I scraped the best nine voting records, since 2002, and with Tuesday’s results will give you the top ten in Best Nine Award shares.

The Best nines since 2002

NameBest Nines
Shinnosuke Abe97.704
Hayato Sakamoto77.243
Hideto Asamura66.110
Norichika Aoki75.887
Yuki Yanagita65.708
Michihiro Ogasawara55.512
Kazuhiro Wada65.413
Yoshihiro Maru65.282
Yoshio Itoi54.986
Seiya Suzuki64.903

The top pitcher on the list, Tomoyuki Sugano, with four Best Nines, has a career Best Nine award share of 3.203, ranking him 33rd.

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