Tag Archives: Katsuya Nomura

NPB news: Feb. 11, 2023

There is a ton of catching up to do today.

One former player died Friday, while another was remembered Saturday. Daisuke Matsuzaka proved he’s got a sense of humor, some Buffaloes pitchers are working out things ahead of the WBC, a company makes a proposal in its bid to start one of NPB’s new minor league franchises, and a pitcher who backed out of having Tommy John surgery is back on the mound.

Better get started.

Continue reading NPB news: Feb. 11, 2023

Best in a long time

Munetaka Murakami did not set a home run record this season, but the 22-year-old phenomenon’s season was, by one measure, the best offensive year of any player in the history of Japanese pro baseball, and NPB’s best season since Hall of Fame pitcher Kazuhisa Inao’s astonishing 1961 campaign for the Nishitetsu Lions.

Bill James’ Win Shares credited Murakami with contributing 16 wins to the Swallows’ ledger for a total of 48 win shares, surpassing ever so slightly the previous high, catcher Katsuya Nomura’s 1965 season.

NPB’s top-20 seasons

The top 20 individual seasons in NPB history, given by position, Offensive Win Shares, Fielding Win Shares, Pitching Win Shares, and Total Win Shares. The list is dominated by pitchers from japan’s dead-ball era, particularly two-way star and Hall of Famer Jiro Noguchi.

An excel file download of the win share values for every player from the 1936 autumn season to the present is available to paid subscribers.

SeasonLeagueTeamName RName JPosOff WSFld WSP WSWS Float
19421LTaiyoJiro Noguchi野口 二郎13.40.958.863.1
19391LSenatorsJiro Noguchi野口 二郎17.91.04654.8
19401LTsubasaJiro Noguchi野口 二郎110.10.94253.1
19421LAsahiYasuo Hayashi林 安夫14.10.046.750.8
1961PLLionsKazuhisa Inao稲尾 和久10.00.049.949.9
1959PLHawksTadashi Sugiura杉浦 忠10.
1954CLDragonsShigeru Sugishita杉下 茂11.30.047.849.1
1950CLRobinsJyuzo Sanada真田 重男15.70.04348.7
19461LSenatorsGiichiro Shiraki白木 義一郎16.50.541.248.2
2022CLSwallowsMunetaka Murakami村上 宗隆544.
1965PLHawksKatsuya Nomura野村 克也242.
1965CLGiantsSadaharu Oh王 貞治345.
1973CLGiantsSadaharu Oh王 貞治345.
1958CLSwallowsMasaichi Kaneda金田 正一10.00.046.346.3
19401LKyojinViktor Starffin須田 博12.
1958PLLionsKazuhisa Inao稲尾 和久12.20.043.445.6
1961CLGiantsShigeo Nagashima長嶋 茂雄540.
1961CLDragonsHiroshi Gondo権藤 博10.0045.245.2
1959PLLionsKazuhisa Inao稲尾 和久10.1044.945.0
1962CLTigersMinoru Maruyama村山 実10.0044.944.9

Sadaharu Oh had two 47 win share seasons in 1965 and 1973, but according to these calculations, Murakami’s was the best total by a position player ever.

But because seasons have varied so much in length, the record for win production per game by a position player probably goes to Yomiuri’s Taiwan-born outfielder Shosei Go, who produced 34 win shares in an 84-game 1943 season. Japan’s original two-way star, the Tigers’ Masaru Kageura, also might be No. 1, although his value was evenly split in the spring of 1937 between the outfield and the mound.

Prorating it by season length, Murakami’s 2022 season comes out ninth best in history and is the best since Oh’s 1974 season.

Today’s game is different, however. Pitchers are no longer able to throw as much or as often. A look at the best 20 seasons, ranked by win shares per team game, shows 20 position players.

Continue reading Best in a long time