Tag Archives: Kazuhiro Sasaki

Saves in Japan

On Friday, Shingo Takatsu became the third closer to be elected to the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame, following Tsunemi Tsuda and Kazuhiro Sasaki. Takatsu was, for a time, Japan’s career saves leader, and is now second with 286 behind future Hall of Famer Hitoki Iwase’s 407.

Takatsu’s support has been slowly building over the years, unlike Sasaki, is third all-time and who shot in with relative ease. I mentioned Tsuda, but his selection was a sentimental one, owing more to his tragic death at the age of 32 than the quality of his career.

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Japan and the save

We tend to think of Major League Baseball and even Nippon Professional Baseball to some degree as being organized, but sometimes the state of disorganization and simple failure to check work is astounding. And so it was with NPB’s save rule.

This is a story of how teams change roles and tactics to align with changes in scoring rules. How the game is scored doesn’t actually change the game, but teams responses to the new scoring rules does impact how the game is played.

It’s also a story of how I cost a player the NPB saves record in 2007, but I’ll get to that later.

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