Lotte Marines

The Marines franchise won the first Pacific League championship and Japan Series in 1950. In 2005, Bobby Valentine became the first American manager to win a Japan Series. The club also saw a civil war that would put the movie “Major League” to shame as the front office sabotaged the 2009 season in an effort to get Valentine to quit.

The Marines are famous for their innovative supporters’ chants and rituals. The team displays a No. 26 shirt at its games to represent the fans. No word on whether with 26 players allowed on the bench for 2020 whether the fans will get a new number or not.

  • Manager: Tadahito Iguchi
  • 2019 Finish: 4th, missed out on the team’s first playoff spot since 2016 by two games

Manager’s record:

Prev. 3 yrs4391992246.4703,3,6

Iguchi was for a time in the early 2000s among the players who could arguably called the best in Japan, along with Kazuo Matsui, Kenji Jojima and Hideki Matsui.

Iguchi wants to commit to eight or nine regulars who can grow into their roles but doesn’t appear to have had any more success at that than his predecessor, Tsutomu Ito did. The Marines haven’t had a player who looked capable of producing an MVP-caliber season since Katsuya Kakunaka turned 30. The club is a large collection of fairly average players.

Iguchi has allowed only one pitcher to throw 130 or more pitches in a game and that was in his third game in charge on April 1, 2018. Part of the reason for that has been the dire state of his pitching staff. Right-hander Ayumu Ishikawa’s stuff is as good as anyone’s but he went through a 2-1/2 year funk after the 2017 World Baseball Classic.

Last year, the Marines pitching went from being among NPB’s worst to about average although the fielding remained a weakness. The offense took a fairly large stride as well.

Despite their past shortcomings, there is room for optimism in Chiba. The defense got a second-half boost with the acquisition of dynamic strong-armed right fielder Leonys Martin.

In 2019, the Marines reduced the home run distances at their wind-swept park next to the Tokyo Bayside and signed slugging free-agent third baseman Brandon Laird. As a result, the Marines went from hitting the fewest homers in the league to the middle of the pack, while their pitchers went from about league average in allowing homers to the worst.

Key players

  • Takashi Ogino CF
  • Katsuya Kakunaka LF
  • Ikuhiro Kiyota RF, LF
  • Shogo Nakamura 2B
  • Daichi Suzuki 1B, 3B, 2B >> Rakuten Eagles
  • Brandon Laird 3B
  • Tatsuhiro Tamura C
  • Yudai Fujioka SS
  • Seiya Inoue 1B
  • Leonys Martin RF

Strengths and weaknesses

The batters in 2019 had relatively poor results based on how hard they were apparently hitting the ball. The Marines and the Central League’s DeNA BayStars were rated by Delta Graphs as having the highest hard-contact percentage in NPB, but combined that with the two worst BABiPs in Japan. If they continue to hit the ball hard, the offense could easily have more impressive numbers.

Team Offensive rankings

  • Best in the league: Batters’ strikeouts
  • Next to worst in the league: Triples, Avg
  • Worst in the league: BABiP

Rankings against opponents’ offense

  • 2nd best in the league: strikeouts (they were last in 2018)
  • Next to worst in the league: opponents’ Avg, OBP
  • Worst in the league: home runs, stolen bases, BABiP

Other rankings

  • Best in the league: Errors committed
  • And… the Marines were last in saves with 29, and issued 21 intentional walks, the 2nd moost in the league. Despite not sacrificing for the first nine games of the 2019 season, the Marines still sacrificed 98 times, 4th most in the league.


Notes: Names in all caps are imported players; names with asterisks still qualify as rookies, hyperlinks are to the player’s English language page.

PosNameNo.Prev years
PChihaya Sasaki113
PAyumu Ishikawa126
PTomohisa Otani1410Non-tendered
PManabu Mima159
PAtsuki Taneichi163
PRoki Sasaki*170
PKota Futaki186
PYuki Karakawa1912
PTaiki Tojo204
PTatsuya Uchi2116Non-tendered
PYusuke Azuma*241
PDaiki Yamamoto*272
PTakahiro Matsunaga287
PYuji Nishino297
PTsuyoshi Ishizaki306
PMasaki Minami339
PSeiya Dohi343
PKeita Watanabe*352Non-tendered
PYuki Ariyoshi363
PFumiya Ono375
PKakeru Narita*414
PFRANK HERRMANN423Non-tendered
PKazuya Ojima431
PDaiki Iwashita465
PYasuhiro Tanaka4714
PToshiya Nakamura*481
PNaoya Masuda528
PShu Hara*564Non-tendered
PHirokazu Sawamura5799/8 Traded from Giants
PCHEN WEI-YIN5859/21 Signed as free agent
PJAY JACKSON5837/10 Released at player's request
PRikuto Yokoyama*600
PShoji Nagano*622
PYuta Omine64138/24 Signed dev roster
PTakuro Furuya*651
PHideto Doi*691
PFumiya Motomae*1200
PMizuki Kamata*1210Released 11/30
PRyotaro Mori*1230Released 11/30
PEDUARD SANTOS1300Released 11/30
CTatsuhiro Tamura227
CToshiya Sato*320
CYuta Yoshida396
CYuito Munetsugu*453
CNaoya Emura539
CToru Hosokawa5518Non-tendered
CTomoya Kakinuma993
CShota Ueda*1250
IFTakashi Toritani116
IFYudai Fujioka42
IFHisanori Yasuda*52
IFShogo Nakamura85
IFTaiga Hirasawa134
IFRyo Miki236
IFKoki Fukuda*400
IFSeiya Inoue446
IFShin Matsuda*501
IFKazuya Katsuki5759/8 Traded to Giants
IFKei Hosoya5914Non-tendered
IFKenta Chatani*673
IFKenji Nishimaki682
IFTakuya Takahama12713Released 11/30
OFTakashi Ogino010
OFIkuhiro Kiyota110
OFKyota Fujiwara*21
OFKatsuya Kakunaka313
OFShuhei Fukuda713
OFShohei Kato107
OFHiromi Oka257
OFTsuyoshi Sugano312
OFAkito Takabe*380
OFKoki Yamaguchi*511
OFKazuma Mike*613Non-tendered
OFKoshiro Wada*630June 1 Signed from deve roster

2019 team data


Daichi SuzukiL140614527761523441568315675.288.373.454.364
Shogo NakamuraR1435865126811922017591265396.232.317.375.309
Takashi OginoR12556950876160357104628104056.315.371.470.366
BRANDON LAIRDR1395534875912118032890055128.248.333.483.352
Seiya InoueR129509429601081612465006798.252.362.462.360
Katsuya KakunakaL1084353684795171848225563.258.359.375.330
Ikuhiro KiyotaR1173773364985821057133577.253.325.378.312
Tatsuhiro TamuraR1003212843069121331122259.243.294.324.278
Yudai FujiokaL812782503666141221311633.264.306.352.294
LEONYS MARTINL522281943245901439332657.232.342.495.361
Hiromi OkaR951821543635816161311832.227.330.409.325
Ryo MikiR8914512620273021550638.
Shohei KatoB601201091222314942732.202.263.358.272
Taiga HirasawaL511089110183118021228.
KENNYS VARGASB35102844155016001636.179.324.274.282
Tomoya Kakinuma*R34735459001200420.
Tsuyoshi SuganoL287366713203700611.197.274.364.284
Yuta YoshidaR325647211102701513.234.308.383.308
Naoya EmuraR23353133001400210.
Kazuya Katsuki*L2633333500130009.
Kazuma Mike*B2522213611150018.286.318.571.364
Kei HosoyaB2920193310010017.
Kyota Fujiwara*L619190200020006.
Toru HosokawaR31860200010001.333.333.333.300
Takuya TakahamaL8770220030003.286.286.571.371
Kota FutakiR22651000000014.000.1670000.117
Shin Matsuda*R3650100010111.200.333.200.267
Seiya DohiL6440000000004.000.0000000.000
Kazuya FukuuraL1440000000000.000.0000000.000
Daiki Iwashita*R21320000000002.000.0000000.000
Hideaki WakuiR18220000000002.000.0000000.000
MIKE BOLSINGERR20220000000001.000.0000000.000
Ayumu IshikawaR27110000000001.000.0000000.000
Atsuki TaneichiR26110000000001.000.0000000.000
LEE TU-HSUANR1110000000001.000.0000000.000


Kota FutakiR221071000.412128 2/3127163011568634.41
Ayumu IshikawaR27008505.615118 2/31299288150483.64
Atsuki TaneichiR26008202.800116 2/3114115113547423.24
Hideaki WakuiR18213700.30010412114278758524.50
MIKE BOLSINGERR20004600.40010310514528661534.63
Daiki Iwashita*R21005301.62596 1/38014477444393.64
Yuji NishinoR37112325.40070566236423232.96
Naoya MasudaR6000452712.44458 2/3365225615142.15
Tomohito SakaiR540054020.55657 2/3519256028284.37
CHEN KUAN-YUL44001105.50057542274528233.63
Kazuya Ojima*L10003500.37554 1/3555204528264.31
Taiki TojoR5800100161.000.00052 1/3527215326223.78
Yasuhiro TanakaR44004102.80039 2/3422122912122.72
Yuki KarakawaR400053014.62537 2/347763025225.26
Takahiro MatsunagaL460023025.40034 2/3253173213102.60
Chihaya SasakiR7002100.6673226212221192.53
Seiya DohiL60010001.000.00031 2/3354122812113.13
Toshiya Nakamura*L10001103.5002523282112124.32
Yusuke Azuma*R24003207.60021192131611114.71
BRANDON MANNL14000203.000161611220973.94
Yuki AriyoshiR2000200.0007 1/312452111113.50
Kazunari AbeR4000002.00041022000.00
Shoji Nagano*L5000103.00043022224.50
Masaki MinamiR4000100.0003 2/341435512.27
Tsuyoshi IshizakiR2000000.00024010229.00
JOSH RAVINR2000000.0001 2/331315527.00
Tomohisa OtaniR2000200.0001 2/320213210.80
Keisuke TakanoR2000000.0001 1/332102213.50

writing & research on Japanese baseball