NPB news: Sept. 5, 2022

As usual, there were no games on Monday, but there was some news involving a new draft, COVID measures and a look at Tuesday’s starting pitching matchups of interest.

NPB to hold “Active Player Draft”

In early December, NPB teams will share lists of players that are willing to leave their current team and who can be had for the asking in its new active player draft.

What we know so far is that each team will be required to nominate two players willing to move, and must select at least one player from another team. The union has been fighting for this for some time, although it will likely be a competition among the 12 teams to identify the absolutely least valuable players on their roster.

I wrote about how this exercise in the worst kind of cynicism could be a really good thing for Japanese baseball for all the wrong reasons.

COVID 23 measures

In addition to that draft, NPB announced Monday, that its annual new player draft will be held behind closed doors this year, and that teams will still be allowed to have 31-man active rosters with up to five imported players.

The lack of fans at the draft is no big surprise, since NPB has opened up its games in virtually every way it can to increase revenue such as lifting attendance caps, while those things that don’t put money in the kitty, such as singing at the stadium and reporters being allowed to talk freely to players, have not moved an inch since play began in the pandemic in the summer of 2020.

If it makes money, it’s important. If not, the owners believe it’s an unnecessary risk.

Tuesday’s starting pitchers

There are a few real fun matchups tomorrow, starting with the Buffaloes at Nippon Ham. Naoyuki Uwasawa has been inconsistent this year, but he gives you the hope he can be lights out, while Taisuke Yamaoka is often dynamite.

That last description also fits Kona Takahashi, while it’s always interesting to see what Japan’s two oldest starters, 42-year-old Masanori Ishikawa and 41-year-old Tsuyoshi Wada can come up with.

Tomoyuki Sugano hasn’t been anywhere near his best this year, but he’ll be facing Shota Imanaga, who’s coming off a 5-0 August, while Koyo Aoyagi will pitch for Hanshin as he goes for his 13th win and Munetaka Murakami continues his quest for power-hitting perfection.

Fighters vs Buffaloes: Sapporo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Naoyuki Uwasawa (6-7, 3.17) vs Taisuke Yamaoka (6-6, 1.98)

Lions vs Marines: Seibu Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Kona Takahashi (9-7, 2.33) vs Ayumu Ishikawa (7-5, 2.40)

Hawks vs Eagles: Fukuoka Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Tsuyoshi Wada (4-4, 2.95) vs Ryota Takinaka (2-7, 3.99)

Giants vs BayStars: Tokyo Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Tomoyuki Sugano (7-6, 3.30) vs Shota Imanaga (9-3, 2.38)

Dragons vs Carp: Nagoya Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Yuya Yanagi (8-9, 3.48) vs Allen Kuri (5-8, 3.33)

Tigers vs Swallows: Koshien Stadium 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Koyo Aoyagi (12-3, 1.61) vs Masanori Ishikawa (5-3, 3.90)

Active roster moves 9/5/2022

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 9/15

Central League


SwallowsP40Yuta Ichikawa
TigersP16Yuki Nishi
CarpP36Atsuya Horie

Pacific League


BuffaloesIF4Breyvic Valera
EaglesP71Kazuki Yoshikawa
HawksP39Shuto Ogata
HawksIF33Shu Masuda
HawksOF30Naoki Sato
LionsP19Shunsuke Sato

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