Golden years

In Japan, Rookie of the Year Award winners used to be called “golden rookies,” but that description could have fit the entire 2021 rookie class, because it was a doozy.

It was so good, that someone other than the writers decided to hand out “Special Rookie Awards” to six of the nine players who received votes in the ballots.

Because I don’t have my own data to work from this year, I leaned heavily on Delta Graphs’ WAR calculations to get a comprehensive overview of players’ contributions.

If one trusts their considerable efforts to compare the win value of players’ contributions, then one is left to conclude that the Pacific League voters may have gotten it right by selecting Orix pitcher Hiroya Miyagi over Fighters pitcher Hiromi Ito.

In the Central League, however, the pitcher who got more frequent swings and misses than any other pitcher with 50 innings, Ryoji Kuribayashi, had a similar affect on the voters. Members of Japan’s baseball media selected the Carp closer over DeNA second baseman Shugo Maki, Swallows starting pitcher Yasunobu Okugawa and Tigers shortstop Takumu Nakano.First of all the votes, with each player’s Delta Graphs WAR and their share of their league’s vote.

Central League voting

NameTeamPosWARAward Share
Ryoji KuribayashiCRP+1.865.7%
Shugo Maki *BS2B+4.3 24.8%
Yasunobu Okugawa *SSP+3.83.9%
Teruaki Sato *TRF+1.02.6%
Takumu Nakano *TSS+2.51.6%
Masashi Ito *TSP+1.81.3%
*-Special rookie award winner.

Pacific League voting

NameTeamPosWARAward Share
Hiroya MiyagiBuSP+4.089.2%
Hiromi Ito *FSP+4.77.3%
Kotaro KurebayashiBuSS+0.21.4%
Takahisa HayakawaESP+3.91.4%
Roki SasakiMSP+2.60.7%
*-Special rookie award winner.

I have some pretty big issues with Wins Above Replacement, which I’ve spelled out in “WAR protest,” but for now I’ll just say I’m not comfortable using it to compare the relative contributions of hitters and pitchers.

I spell out my precise issues, and lists of all of Japan’s 2021 rookies who generated at least part of a WAR in “WAR protest.”

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