As expected, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who I didn’t rate as one of the top five players in the Pacific League this year, won without any help from me, one of two voters who didn’t give him a single vote of any color for him.
The big surprise in Tuesday’s complicated Awards Night was that Shoki Murakami, collected not on the CL Rookie of the Year Award in a season during which he was never once referred to as a rookie “shinjinsenshu” by the Japanese media which only refers to first-year pros as rookie, but that the league ERA leader was also was selected MVP.
Murakami wasn’t remotely the best player on the Tigers, let alone the league, where two-thirds of the Best Nine voters picked DeNA BayStars pitcher Katsuki Azuma. I was a little outraged at first, because Japan is no stranger to votes where two guys playing the same position will see their rankings in the polls switch, one getting more for the Best Nine but fewer than the other for the MVP.
But this vote wasn’t really like that. It’s very possible that the two-thirds of the voters who thought Azuma was the CL’s best pitcher in the Best Nine ballot, thought the league’s real MVP was a position player. Murakami, who got 25 percent of the votes for Best Nine, got 27.7 percent of the first-place votes for MVP, which tells me the guys who thought he was the best pitcher also thought he was the league’s best player. I don’t agree with that, but if they thought so, that’s an honest vote.
He won because the two Tigers position players who did the most to propel the team to the championship, Yusuke Oyama and Koji Chikamoto were split pretty evenly, while closer Suguru Iwazaki got a bizarre amount of support.
The REAL stupid vote, is that 204 people thought Shugo Maki was the CL’s most valuable second baseman, by a vote of 204 – 95 over Hanshin’s Takumu Nakano, who got five times as many first-place votes in the MVP ballot.
Orix’s Shumpeita Yamashita won rookie of the year in the Pacific League.