Nippon Professional Baseball’s Golden Glove announcements kicked off the offseason media-polled award cycle with few surprises. I am, however, interested in who receives votes, and who, over the years, have received the greatest share of the votes cast.
While the entire undertaking for all the votes since 1972 is a monumental undertaking, NPB has made it easier by publishing the vote totals since 2003, so I wrote a program to scrape those pages and got a record of every player to receive a vote since that year.
I decided to split the 19-year span into one segment of nine seasons (2003 to 2011) and one of 10 (2012-2021), and spill out the three players for each position, nine for the outfield, with the largest share of the votes during those spans.
I’m going to focus on that second period here. You can find the first group in a different post.
Chunichi Dragons second baseman Masahiro Araki got the bigger total share of all the Golden Glove voting from 2003 to 2011, and Ryosuke Kikuchi has picked up where he left off.
The Hiroshima Carp second baseman has amassed 7.41 full shares of the Golden Glove voting since 2012 en route to winning nine awards. His former Carp center fielder Yoshihiro Maru, was second with 5.91 shares and seven Golden Gloves, while center fielder Yohei Oshima of the Dragons was third with 5.86 and eight wins. Another center fielder finished fourth, former Seibu Lion Shogo Akiyama.
I don’t know if it means anything that the guys who get the biggest shares of the votes are in the CL.
Here are the collective shares of the golden glove voting for the top players in each league at each position since 2012.
|1||Kenta Maeda||2.68||Hideaki Wakui||1.39|
|2||Tomoyuki Sugano||2.51||Masahiro Tanaka||1.17|
|3||Yuya Yanagi||0.71||Chihiro Kaneko||0.82|
Maeda and Wakui appear on both lists.
|1||Yuhei Nakamura||1.70||Takuya Kai||4.10|
|2||Ryutaro Umeno||1.63||Ginjiro Sumitani||1.75|
|3||Shinnosuke Abe||1.44||Motohiro Shima||1.18|
Nakamura was a bit of a surprise, but he’s pretty steady, and some of this is about timing. If I split the years so that I got the bulk of Abe’s best seasons, he could have been No. 2 behind Tanishige or behind Kenji Jojima — if I’d combined his time from Daiei with his years at Hanshin, but I separated them by league.
Takuya Kai appears poised to suck the air out of the PL catcher voting the way teammate Nobuhiro Matsuda did at third base during this period and the way Kikuchi has at second base in the CL.
|1||Jose Lopez||3.64||Sho Nakata||2.59|
|2||Dayan Viciedo||1.52||Ginji Akaminai||0.99|
|3||Takahiro Arai||0.86||Akira Nakamura||0.93|
The Giants got rid of Jose Lopez so he could win Golden Gloves in Yokohama while Abe tried his hand at first base.
|1||Ryosuke Kikuchi||7.41||Kazuya Fujita||2.43|
|2||Tetsuto Yamada||1.10||Hideto Asamura||1.99|
|3||Hiroyasu Tanaka||0.62||Shogo Nakamura||1.55|
Kazuya Fujita is out of a job in Sendai and may reappear at his old club, the BayStars, but doing this reminded me of how good he was for a spell with the Eagles, although he’s rarely hit much. It’s kind of unfair for anyone to have to compete with Kikuchi, and I’d take Yamada’s glove over any regular in the PL right now.
|1||Shuichi Murata||2.57||Nobuhiro Matsuda||5.01|
|2||Toshiro Miyazaki||1.30||Yuma Mune||0.77|
|3||Kazuma Okamoto||1.02||Daichi Suzuki||0.69|
Third base is often a weird position, so I guess we should be prepared for that. Shuichi Murata? Yuma Mune getting the second-largest share of all the votes from 2012 to 2021, and all of those votes coming this year?
|1||Hayato Sakamoto||3.37||Sosuke Genda||3.49|
|2||Takashi Toritani||2.47||Kenta Imamiya||3.35|
|3||Kosuke Tanaka||1.00||Takuya Nakashima||0.74|
Shortstop is the position where the leagues have recently mirrored each other in the voting, with one guy making way for another, with Toritani getting pressed out by Sakamoto, and Imamiya getting the shove from Genda.
|1||Yoshihiro Maru||5.91||Shogo Akiyama||5.42|
|2||Yohei Oshima||5.86||Yuki Yanagita||4.09|
|3||Seiya Suzuki||3.64||Yang Dai-kang||3.09|
|4||Hisashi Chono||2.10||Haruki Nishikawa||2.70|
|5||Koji Chikamoto||1.37||Yoshito Itoi||2.49|
|6||Kosuke Fukudome||1.33||Yoshifumi Okada||1.60|
|7||Sho Aramaki||1.08||Takashi Ogino||1.55|
|8||Ryosuke Hirata||1.08||Ryosuke Tatsumi||0.98|
|9||Yamato Maeda||1.03||Seiji Uebayashi||0.81|
Yoshio Itoi appeared on both lists, while the Marines appear poised to overrun the outfield polling over the next couple of years with Hiromi Oka displacing Ogino, who displaced Okada, and Leonys Martin in right.
The Fighters, once the best defensive team in Japan, aren’t very good anymore. They failed to get a single Golden Glove this year for the first time in 26 years, with only two players, outfielders Daiki Asama and Haruki Nishikawa getting any real support.