Yomiuri Giants

The Giants were not the first pro baseball team in Japan, nor the second nor even the third, but they are the longest-lasting, the first three having gone out of business long before the Giants were organized. They are, however, the most successful franchise in Japanese history, and for many years the best paid and most popular as well.

  • Manager: Tatsunori Hara
  • 2019 Finish: 1st CL pennant in five years, and 1st Japan Series appearance in six, although that ended in a four-game sweep at the hands of the SoftBank Hawks.

Manager’s record: Tatsunori Hara

YearTeamGWLTPctFinish
2002Giants14086522.6231
2003Giants14071663.5183
2006Giants14665792.4514
2007Giants14480631.5591
2008Giants14484573.5951
2009Giants14489469.6591
2010Giants14479641.5523
2011Giants144716211.5333
2012Giants144864315.6661
2013Giants14484537.6131
2014Giants14381611.5701
2015Giants13871661.5182
2019Giants14377642.5461
Total1,8581,02477658.569
Prev. 3 yrs1999-20014102281802.5592,1,2
Prev. 3 yrs2003-200542420421010.4933,3,5
Prev. 3 yrs2016-201842921020811.5022,4,3

Hara returned to the Giants last year to begin his third stint as skipper. He’s walked away from the job twice, once in 2003 when he tired of hearing then Giants owner Tsuneo Watanabe berate him to the media, and again in 2015 because of fatigue. This season, he will pass Tetsuharu Kawakami, who won nine-straight Japan Series titles, in games managed for the Giants. Next year, Hara will pass his mentor, Shigeo Nagashima to become the franchise’s longest-serving manager.

In his first years in charge, 2002 and 2003 and again after he returned in 2006, Hara was a transformational figure in the team’s history, the first Giants manager in four decades to take opportunities from underperforming veterans and gave them to unheralded fringe players and minor leaguers. Sometimes, he overdid it, giving huge undeserved opportunities to guys based on their hustle and attitude without regard for their lack of other skills. But he has no fear of using untried talent and this has been a huge boost.

The prototypical Hara team has an offense that is good at stealing bases and hitting home runs, an adequate defense and a pitching staff that doesn’t walk batters or allow many home runs. His teams have good starting pitching with strong bullpens.

Key players

  • Kazuma Okamoto 1B, 3B, LF
  • Yoshihiro Maru CF
  • Hayato Sakamoto SS
  • Yoshiyuki Kamei RF, LF
  • Alex Guerrero LF >> released
  • Takumi Oshiro C, 1B
  • Akihiro Wakabayashi 2B
  • Yang Dai-kang RF–known by the Japanese reading “Yo” of his Chinese name, so one will see him as “Yoh Dai-kang”
  • Seiji Kobayashi C
  • Christian Villanueva 3B >> Nippon Ham Fighters

Strengths and weaknesses

Captain Hayato Sakamoto became the second shortstop in NPB history to hit 40 homers (Chunichi’s Masaru Uno hit 41 in 1985), free-agent center fielder Yoshihiro Maru was a plus on both sides of the plate, corner infielder Kazuma Okamoto maintained his strong production after his breakthrough 2018, while Alex Guerrero had the kind of season the Giants expected from him when they signed him away from Chunichi in 2018.

Team Offensive rankings

  • Best in the league: runs (for the 1st time in 7 years), home runs (1st time since 2013), SB pct, OBP, Slug, Iso Power
  • Next best in the league: doubles, walks, BABiP, Avg
  • Next to worst in the league: triples, strikeouts, GDP

The Giants were fourth in league ERA, their worst ranking since 2003, Hara’s disappointing second season in charge. But they managed to win the pennant despite injuries to ace Tomoyuki Sugano, who had been named Japan’s best starting pitcher the previous two seasons, and poor results from relievers expected to anchor the back of the bullpen.

In the end, Shun Yamaguchi had a career year and led the CL in wins, lefty Kota Nakagawa had a breakthrough season in the bullpen, and Rubby De La Rosa was a productive midseason acquisition. It was not a banner year for the pitching staff, but it worked in the end.

Rankings against opponents’ offense

  • Next to best in the league: doubles, walks
  • Next to worst in the league: home runs, BABiP, Slug
  • Worst in the league: triples

Other rankings

  • Last in the league in complete games, 3rd in errors, 3rd in saves, 3rd in holds, 4th in ERA
  • And… the Giants led the league in relievers used, were 4th in sacrifice hits and 4th in intentional walks issued

Roster

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 
PRUBBY  DE LA ROSA121
PShosei Togo*131
PHirokazu Sawamura1599/8 Traded to Marines
PKan Otake1718
PTomoyuki Sugano187
PToyoki Tanaka1947/26 Signed from dev roster
PANGEL SANCHEZ200
PHisashi Iwakuma2113
PRyoma Nogami2311
PYuki Takahashi261
PKazuto Taguchi286
PYohei Kagiya308
PSeishu Hatake313
PKenshin Hotta*320
PRyu Ota*330
PToshiki Sakurai354
PYuri Furukawa407
PKota Nakagawa414
PCRISTOPHER MERCEDES422
PNobutaka Imamura458
PTakuya Kuwahara462
PTakahiro Fujioka4710
PThyago Vieira*490
PChiaki Tone505
PYuhei Takanashi5337/15 Traded from Eagles.
PHosei Takata*5337/15 Traded to Eagles.
PDaisuke Naoe*541
PKyosuke Takagi577
PRyosuke Miyaguni589
PKai Yokogawa*621
PSeiji Tahara638
PRyusei Oe*643
PShun Ikeda6836/29 Traded to Eagles.
PHaruto Inoue*910
PHayato Horioka*951
PNATTINO DIPLAN960
PTomohiro Yamakawa*0030
PSuguro Takai*0111
PKaisei Hirai*0120
PTatsupei Tanioka0133
PDaisuke Tatsumi*0153
PShingo Yamakami*0171
PYudai Tanaka*0191
PAtsuro Hashimoto*0202
PHirotaka Yonahara*0233
PREIMIN RAMOS0250
CSeiji Kobayashi226
CTakumi Oshiro242
CGinjiro Sumitani2714
CYukinori Kishida*382
CShinnosuke Yamase*670
CTakaya Tanaka*6939/30 Sold to Eagles.
CRui Hirohata*0050
CShohei Koyama*0070
CRyutaro Takayama*0100
IFDaiki Yoshikawa009
IFHiroyuki Nakajima517
IFHayato Sakamoto613
IFKazuma Okamoto255
IFNaoki Yoshikawa293
IFAkihiro Wakabayashi372
IFZELOUS WHEELER4856/29 Traded from Eagles
IFShunta Tanaka512
IFTakumi Kitamura*522
IFYasuhiro Yamamoto564
IFHirokazu Kikuta*600
IFRiku Masuda*611
IFYoshiya Matsui*651
IFKazuya Katsuki6859/8 Traded from Marines
IFDai Yuasa*932
IFESTAMY URENA9809/17 Signed from dev roster
IFKenshin Higa*0010
IFHayato Hirama*0020
IFKoki Orishita*0080
IFHibiki Kuroda*0210
IFESTAMY URENA0260
OFYang Dai-kang214
OFYoshihiro Maru812
OFYoshiyuki Kamei915
OFShingo Ishikawa368
OFSoichiro Tateoka3912
OFShinnosuke Shigenobu434
OFISRAEL MOTA440
OFSeiya Matsubara*591
OFKaito Murakami*662
OFGERARDO PARRA880
OFShuhei Kato*940
OFKaito Ito*970
OFKota Yamashita*990
OFShun Kasai*0040
OFSota Kato*0060
OFTakumaru Yaoita*0093
OFSota Arai*0220

2019 team data

Batters

NameBatsGPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBSOAvgOBPSlugwOBA
Hayato SakamotoR14363955510317326040945377123.312.396.575.415
Yoshihiro MaruL14363153582156261278912586125.292.388.495.384
Kazuma OkamotoR1436285558414729031943062132.265.343.485.359
Yoshiyuki KameiL131503450671282721355914591.284.346.440.343
ALEX GUERREROR10133328733681622154104059.237.337.526.366
Takumi OshiroL1093292941978161630012580.265.330.388.321
Akihiro Wakabayashi*B772732343456915211123251.239.335.350.310
Seiji KobayashiR9223621320526021910748.244.280.300.263
CHRISTIAN VILLANUEVAR73235202244590824202552.223.325.386.319
Yang Dai-kangR110231208285781421012266.274.346.380.326
Yasuhiro YamamotoR92212177314173210202251.232.340.339.306
Shinnosuke AbeL95192158154780727002823.297.411.481.391
Shunta TanakaL62176156173570414201436.224.285.346.282
Shinnosuke ShigenobuL1061741582542722161431143.266.308.373.296
Ginjiro SumitaniR5813812617334062600728.262.309.437.322
Shingo IshikawaR55767012182041000614.257.316.457.332
Shun YamaguchiR26695624200200334.071.119.107.110
Hiroyuki NakajimaR43655458401510921.148.277.278.260
Daiki Masuda*R75585020102206152611.200.286.320.264
Tomoyuki SuganoR22534624100300016.087.087.109.087
Naoki YoshikawaL11464171610031234.390.432.415.384
CRISTOPHER MERCEDESL22423613000000116.083.108.083.092
Yuki Takahashi*L18343213000100020.094.094.094.084
Toshiki SakuraiR29292302000000213.087.160.087.128
Nobutaka ImamuraL1726232400010019.174.208.174.179
Soichiro TateokaR2516144420013024.286.375.429.363
TAYLOR JUNGMANNR1014131300000004.231.231.231.208
Kota Yamashita*L1213121210000012.167.231.250.223
Daiki YoshikawaR101090000000013.000.1000000.070
JORGE MARTINEZNA6880110010005.125.125.250.163
Yukinori Kishida*R4770000000002.000.0000000.000
Takumi Kitamura*R5753000001012.000.2860000.200
Seishu HatakeL5421100000011.500.667.500.533
Kyosuke TakagiL55440000000001.000.0000000.000
Shingo UsamiL3440100000000.250.250.250.225
Kazuto TaguchiL55320000000002.000.0000000.000
Shosei Togo*R2330000000002.000.0000000.000
Shuhei Kato*L5332000000001.000.0000000.000
Hirokazu SawamuraR43210000000001.000.0000000.000
Ryoma NogamiR13220000000002.000.0000000.000
Ryosuke MiyaguniR29220000000002.000.0000000.000
RYAN COOKR13110000000001.000.0000000.000
Takuya Kuwahara*R16110000000001.000.0000000.000
Chiaki ToneL26100000000000.000.0000000.000
Hosei Takata*R2110000000001.000.0000000.000
Ryusei Oe*L8100000000000.000.0000000.000
Yohei KagiyaR27110000000001.000.0000000.000
Yuri FurukawaR3110000000001.000.0000000.000

Pitchers

NameThrGCGSOWLSHW PctIPHHRBBKRERERA
Shun YamaguchiR260015400.78917013786018860552.91
Tomoyuki SuganoR223111600.647136 1/3138203212065593.89
CRISTOPHER MERCEDESL22008800.500120 1/313712288949473.52
Toshiki SakuraiR29008600.571108 1/310912428253524.32
Yuki Takahashi*L18005700.417937014488934333.19
Nobutaka ImamuraL17003200.60081 2/3829265439374.08
Kazuto TaguchiL550033114.50065 1/35911186630304.13
Kota NakagawaL6700431617.57164 2/3573187419172.37
Kyosuke TakagiL550031010.750545111134823233.83
Hirokazu SawamuraR430022113.50048 1/3403175514142.61
TAYLOR JUNGMANNR10003400.42944 1/3499262833306.09
Ryosuke MiyaguniR28000203.00029 2/326292116133.94
Yohei KagiyaR27000206.0002721418111193.00
Kan OtakeR320040081.000.00026262824982.77
RUBBY  DE LA ROSAR260010851.000.00024164532662.25
SCOTT MATHIESONR28002218.50022 2/328291911114.37
Chiaki ToneL26000108.00022 2/31721721751.99
Takuya Kuwahara*R15000102.0001917441611104.74
Ryoma NogamiR13001213.333181916161073.50
Seiji TaharaR25002205.50016 2/314179884.32
Seishu HatakeR5000100.00015 2/326251414126.89
RYAN COOKR13000260.0001519269884.80
Ryusei Oe*L8000001.00010 2/313337986.75
SAMUEL ADAMESR11000103.0009 1/310244776.75
Shosei Togo*R20010001.000.0008 2/361311222.08
Mitsuo YoshikawaL9000103.0006 1/312264779.95
Hosei Takata*R2000000.00057027335.40
Yuri FurukawaR3001100.500540210447.20
Masahiko MorifukuL7000003.0004 1/35205336.23
Hayato Horioka*R3000000.0004 1/35132336.23
Koki Sakamoto*R2000000.000250033313.50
Jun IkedaL2000000.000121112218.00

writing & research on Japanese baseball

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