NPB news: Nov. 25, 2022

There were few surprises as Japanese pro baseball’s final award announcements dropped on Friday, as Yakult Swallows third baseman Munetaka Murakami and Orix Buffaloes ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto joined some elite company by repeating as their leagues’ MVPs.

Yamamoto became the first back-to-back winner in the Pacific League since Ichiro Suzuki won from 1994 to 1996 for the Orix BlueWave. Three Hall of Famers round out the field of back-to-back PL winners, Nishitetsu Lions ace Kazuhisa Ino, Nankai Hawks catcher Katsuya Nomura and Hankyu Braves side-armer Hisashi Yamada.

In addition to becoming the fifth Central League player to win back-to-back MVPs and the first since Yoshihiro Maru won in 2017 and 2018 for the Hiroshima Carp, Murakami became the Japan’s first unanimous MVP since Masahiro Tanaka in 2013.

Pandering media rant alert

Although it’s only been nine years since Tanaka grabbed every first-place MVP vote, all the headlines in Japan’s media ignore him and instead say Murakami’s unanimous vote was the first since Sadaharu Oh in 1977 (among CL winners), because editors believe that headlines that can in any way be related to the Giants or a player of Oh’s stature, create clicks and generate revenue.

Continue reading NPB news: Nov. 25, 2022

NPB news: Nov. 24, 2022

The next batch of award winners’ names dropped Thursday, as the Central and Pacific leagues each named their all-league teams with the Best Nine Awards.

The MVP and Rookie of the Year awards will be announced Friday

There are a couple of head-scratching votes, but for the most part, the players who received votes were deserving.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto led the PL in votes with 260, , although his teammate Masataka Yoshida also had 260 — split between 219 for DH and 21 for the outfield.

Munetaka Murakami came within one vote of a unanimous selection for the CL’s third base award, with one voter casting his lot with DeNA’s Toshiro Miyazaki. I’m happy Miyazaki got a vote, but I wouldn’t want to be the one who had to defend saying he was the best in the league.

The same goes for the 125 voters who selected Takuya Kai on their ballot. It makes me wonder what Tomoya Mori did to piss off that many in the media.

For each player receiving votes, I’ll give you their vote total, their overall WAR from Delta Graph, and their overall win shares. I can’t break them down by position.

Pacific League


Yoshinobu YamamotoBuffaloes2607.918
Roki SasakiMarines26.111
Kodai SengaHawks14.911


Takuya KaiHawks1250.57.0
Tomoya MoriLions843.720.0
Kenya WakatsukiBuffaloes262.09.0
Torai FushimiBuffaloes171.16.0
Ginjiro SumitaniEagles70.76.5
Kou MatsukawaMarines3-0.53.0
Toshiya SatoMarines10.86.0

First Base

Hotaka YamakawaLions2574.727
Kotaro KiyomiyaFighters41.210
Keita NakagawaBuffaloes12.216
Akira NakamuraHawks11.811

Second Base

Hideto AsamuraEagles2244.223.0
Shogo NakamuraMarines272.924.0
Masaki MimoriHawks73.914.0
Taisei MakiharaHawks33.615.0
Shuta TonosakiLions23.816.5

Third Base

Yuma MuneBuffaloes2391.818.0
Hisanori YasudaMarines32.215.0
Ukyo ShutoHawks23.18.0
Yuki Nomura Fighters10.810.5
Ryota YachiFighters10.76.0


Kenta ImamiyaHawks2394.618
Sosuke GendaLions204.414
Kotaro KurebayashiBuffaloes2-0.49
Hiroto KobukataEagles12.110
Daigo KamikawabataFighters12.710


Go MatsumotoFighters1924.521
Yuki YanagitaHawks1891.817
Hiroaki ShimauchiEagles1803.122
Akito TakabeMarines1153.717
Masataka YoshidaBuffaloes414.932
Keita NakagawaBuffaloes332.216
Shuhei FukudaBuffaloes192.19
Ryosuke TatsumiEagles73.814
Yutaro SugimotoBuffaloes30.112
Taisei MakiharaHawks33.615
Takashi OginoMarines34.117
Kensuke KondoFighters24.020
Shuhei FukudaMarines1-0.31
Tsuyoshi SuganoMarines1-0.42

Designated Hitter

Masataka YoshidaBuffaloes2194.932
Go MatsumotoFighters134.521
Alfredo DespaigneHawks101.110
Hiroaki ShimauchiEagles93.122
Yuki YanagitaHawks31.817
Kensuke KondoFighters34.020
Takumi KuriyamaLions20.05
Takahiro OkadaBuffaloes1-0.70
Yutaro SugimotoBuffaloes10.112
Yurisbel GracialHawks10.39
Brandon LairdMarines1-2.02

Central League


Koyo AoyagiTigers2865.013
Shota ImanagaBayStars24.013
Yasuhiro OgawaSwallows22.59
Taichi IshiyamaSwallows11.25
Scott McGoughSwallows110
Yasuaki YamasakiBayStars114
Atsuki YuasaTigers110
Raidel MartinezDragons116


Yuhei NakamuraSwallows1762.110
Takuya KinoshitaDragons792.112
Takumi OshiroGiants322.613
Ryutaro UmenoTigers100.87
Hiroki MineiBayStars10.05
Shogo SakakuraCarp12.922

First Base

Jose OsunaSwallows1600.216
Keita SanoBayStars412.422
Yusuke OyamaTigers292.618
Sho NakataGiants271.514
Ryan McBroomCarp81.319
Neftali SotoBayStars11.713
Shogo SakakuraCarp12.922

Second Base

Shugo MakiBayStars2714.023
Tetsuto YamadaSwallows174.019
Naoki YoshikawaGiants73.917
Ryosuke KikuchiCarp42.615

Third Base

Munetaka MurakamiSwallows29810.348
Toshiro MiyazakiBayStars11.617


Takumu NakanoTigers2053.413
Hideki NagaokaSwallows881.713
Hayato SakamotoGiants32.913
Kaito KozonoCarp31.712


Koji ChikamotoTigers2084.819
Keita SanoBayStars1812.422
Yuki OkabayashiDragons1416.818
Yasutaka ShiomiSwallows1305.920
Yohei OshimaDragons1070.915
Yoshihiro MaruGiants1013.923
Teruaki SatoTigers93.719
Masayuki KuwaharaBayStars52.815
Kotaro YamasakiSwallows40.29
Ryoma NishikawaCarp43.519
Domingo SantanaSwallows21.68
Takahiro ArakiSwallows1-0.50
Norichika AokiSwallows1-0.56
Yusuke OyamaTigers12.618
Shun TakayamaTigers10
Adam WalkerGiants111

Subscribe to weekly newsletter

writing & research on Japanese baseball