Tag Archives: Tatsunori Hara

NPB wrap 6-30-21

Buffaloes un-cowed

A night after a good fightback to earn a tie in a game we would have expected the old Orix Buffaloes to boot, Daiki Tajima goes seven innings in a shutout win over the Lotte Marines that lifts the Buffaloes back into first place, thanks to the Rakuten Eagles failing to turn a strong outing from Masahiro Tanaka into a win.

Buffaloes 5, Marines 0

At Osaka’s Kyocera Dome, Daiki Tajima (5-4) allowed two walks and three singles while striking out seven over seven innings, and catcher Kenya Wakatsuki hit a three-run home run, his first, off Shota Suzuki (1-4) as Orix beat Lotte.

Fighters 3, Eagles 0

At Sendai’s Rakuten Seimei Park, a walk and two good swings gave Nippon Ham a 1-0 first-inning lead against Rakuten’s Masahiro Tanaka (3-5, 3.18), and Kensuke Kondo helped snuff out a seventh-inning rally with a diving catch in right for the second out with the potential tying run on second.

The Fighters didn’t make much good contact against Tanaka, who had one of his better starts. Chusei Mannami’s seventh-inning leadoff double was their best-struck ball off him, but he was gunned down trying to score from third on a one-out fly to medium-deep center.

Rookie right-hander Kazuaki Tateno (1-0) dodged four walks and three hits over five innings to earn his first career win, and Yuki James Nomura singled in two runs in the eighth against the Eagles’ pen.

Hawks 9, Lions 1

At Kitakyushu Municipal Stadium, SoftBank’s Nao Higashihama (2-0) scattered eight hits and a walk to allow just one run over seven innings, while his teammates took advantage of Kitakyushu’s cozy ballpark with three home runs, Nobuhiro Matsuda’s ninth, Ryoya Kurihara’s 10th and Takuya Kai’s eighth. 

Seibu’s Katsunori Hirai (3-3) allowed seven runs, three earned, over four innings.

Carp 1, Giants 0

At Tokyo Dome, Hiroshima’s Takayoshi Noma broke up Shun Yamaguchi‘s bid for s a second career no-hitter with a one-out solo home run in the eighth inning. It was Noma’s first of the year.

Yamaguchi (1-1) went eight, allowing one hit, one walk and hit batsman while striking out 10 for Yomiuri. The Giants tried to steal a run in the first with manager Tatsunori Hara’s beloved delayed two-out delayed double steal with runners on the corners only for it to kill the inning with an out at the plate despite a terrible throw to second.

Allen Kuri (6-5) allowed six hits and three walks over 7-2/3 innings, Kyle Bird escaped a two-on, two-out jam in the eighth, and rookie Ryoji Kuribayashi recorded his 15th save with a 1-2-3 ninth.

Giants-Carp highlights

Tigers 2, Swallows 2

At Koshien Stadium, Jefry Marte earned a tie for the Hanshin Tigers, singling in a first-inning run and tying it in the eighth inning with his 13th home run, off reliever Noboru Shimizu.

Munetaka Murakami regained the Japan home run lead with his 24th, tying the game 1-1 in the fourth against Raul Alcantara, who went 6-1/3 innings. The Swallows, who got six innings from Hirotoshi Takanashi, tied it against Japan Olympic team member Suguru Iwazaki in the eighth on a Jose Osuna single, a sacrifice and a Domingo Santana double.

BayStars 9, Dragons 4

At Tokyo’s Jingu Stadium, Tyler Austin and Neftali Soto each drove in two runs, Soto with a first-inning home run, his 13th, off Koji Fukutani (4-7) who coughed up seven runs over two innings. The win was DeNA’s fifth straight as they moved within two games of fourth-place Chunichi. Dayan Viciedo hit his 11th homer for the Dragons.

Starting pitchers

Pacific League

Eagles vs Fighters: Rakuten Seimei Park Miyagi 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Takayuki Kishi (3-5, 4.19) vs Hiromi Ito (5-4, 2.79)

Hawks vs Lions: PayPay Dome 6 pm, 5 am EDT

Shota Takeda (4-3, 2.45) vs Kona Takahashi (6-3, 3.57)

Central League

Giants vs Carp: Tokyo Dome 5:45 pm, 4:45 am EDT

Tomoyuki Sugano (2-4, 2.72) vs Koya Takahashi (2-3, 4.93)

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

Joe Gunkel (6-0, 2.10) vs Yasunobu Okugawa (3-2, 4.60)

Active roster moves 6/30/2021

Deactivated players can be re-activated from 7/10

Central League


GiantsP54Daisuke Naoe
GiantsIF32Taishi Hirooka
SwallowsP14Hirotoshi Takanashi
SwallowsOF25Domingo Santana


GiantsP45Seishu Hatake
GiantsOF36Shingo Ishikawa
BayStarsC10Yasutaka Tobashira
SwallowsIF3Naomichi Nishiura

Pacific League


LionsP25Katsunori Hirai
LionsP40Ichiro Tamura
FightersP33Kazuaki Tateno


EaglesP41Yoshinao Kamata
BuffaloesP61Tsubasa Sakakibara

Sunday musings 3-28-21

The return of “Super Miya”

I kind of scoffed when Jason Coskrey of the Japan Times began calling him that about five years ago, but the SoftBank Hawks Kenta Imamiya is truly super or he would be if he were the man of steel and impervious from nagging injuries.

In a recent Japan Baseball Weekly Podcast, our PL prediction show, I wondered what was to become of Kenta Imamiya, the PL’s premier shortstop before Sosuke Genda’s ascendence and a number of injuries, now that the SoftBank Hawks have flooded the middle of their infield with a track team, notably stolen base kind Ukyo Shuto.

The Hawks used to do everything better than everyone except steal bases. They had the best starting pitching, best defense, best on-base offense, best power offense, but it ain’t like that anymore. The OBP side of the equation is way down and the steals are way up. The Hawks have finished fifth or sixth in walks the past three seasons.

But Imamiya returned to the lineup after missing most of last season and cracked a two-run homer in his first game back, which reminded me why one would want him playing whenever he’s healthy: He really drives the ball. When healthy, Imamiya’s going to hit 12-15 home runs a year. Last year Imamiya hit 6 HRs in 177. The seven other guys who played at least one game at either second or short for SoftBank last year combined for seven HRs in 1,081 PAs.

On Saturday, Imamiya did it all with his offense and defense, making a huge difference in the Hawks’ Game 2 victory.

Fair compensation

One thing I’ve wanted to do for years but never got around to until this weekend was actually compare the value created by free agents after they moved to their new teams compared to the value of players taken in compensation by the team losing the free agent.

Long train running

I first got interested in this subject back when I was at Yomiuri and became friendly with Yakult outfielder Kazuki Fukuchi. He was a great story. Like a lot of speedy Japanese outfielders, he switched back and forth between the outfield and infield as a young player.

A junior high hurdles champion, Fukuchi turned pro with the Hiroshima Carp, who had no idea what they had when they needed someone to trade for marginal reliever Hayato Aoki.

To the Carp, Aoki was just another defensive replacement reserve outfielder and pinch runner. But in his first regular playing time with the Seibu Lions, Fukuchi proved he could hit for average, and draw enough walks to be a danger on the bases with his speed.

Then the plot thickened, the Lions decided they would be better off with Hiram Bocachica in the outfield. Bocachica is a kind, fascinating guy and a heck of a player, the only one who has ever told me his ambition was to write a children’s book, but the Lions decided Fukuchi was expendable and didn’t put him on the protected list when they signed free agent pitcher Kazuhisa Ishii.

In exchange for a good pitcher on his final legs, the Swallows got an everyday outfielder who could fly and lead the CL in stolen bases for two straight seasons. Fukuchi told me he bought Ishii dinner after that for reviving his career.

So about 12 years ago, I thought, I wonder how often a player received in free agent compensation turns out to be better than the free agent, as Fukuchi easily was – although the Lions won their last pennant the year they signed Ishii, so they can’t be too unhappy how that turned out.

Where’s my second baseman?

On Friday, however, second baseman Shunta Tanaka drove in six runs in his debut for the DeNA BayStars against the team that gave him away as free agent compensation, the Yomiuri Giants.

I like to dump on manager Tatsunori Hara for his inability to settle on a second baseman and joke that he has a smart phone app called “Who’s my second baseman,” so it seemed poetic justice that he let one get away. But to be fair, he’s only averaged using 7.5 different players at the position, his successor for three seasons, Yoshinobu Takahashi takes the cake among modern managers with over 400 games managed with 8-2/3 different second basemen per season.

You’re probably not curious, but in case you are, the champion of second baseman switchers was Yasuji Hondo, who from 1963 to 1965 as manager of the Orions, used 11-2/3 different guys per season as he finished fifth twice and fourth once.

On Saturday, Takayuki Kajitani, the player whose signing sent Tanaka to the BayStars, hit a grand slam, while on Sunday, the player the ‘Stars got in compensation for the Giants signing Shun Yamaguchi – currently with the SF Giants – threw six scoreless innings against his old club.

So after that weekend, I had to finally break down and do the study, using win shares to measure value. The study starts with pitcher Hirofumi Kono going to the Giants from the Nippon Ham Fighters after the 1995 season and Tadayoshi Kawabe going to the Fighters, the first player taken in compensation after two years without a single player being taken and ending with the first transaction with players still active, Kan Otake and Ryuji Ichioka.

The list

Free agents are listed on the top above the compensation player. Values are given using Bill James’ Win Shares total for all the season each player played for their teams after the transaction.

Of the 14 pairs where at least one player produced a minimum of 10 WS after the move, the free agent produced more value 10 times, which is about what I suspected. The Fukuchi-Ishii pair is the most lop-sided pair.

Teams don’t take players as compensation that often because it’s hard to get real value and taking no player means a larger cash package.

  • Hirofumi Kono, Giants: 8
  • Tadayoshi Kawabe, Fighters: 1
  • Yukinaga Maeda, Giants: 15
  • Kazuhiro Hiramatsu, Dragons: 0
  • Shinichi Kato, K. Buffaloes: 5
  • Yuki Tanaka, Orix BW 17
  • Shigeki Noguchi, Giants: 1
  • Kohei Oda, Dragons: 11
  • Kiyoshi Toyoda, Giants: 20
  • Akira Eto, Lions: 7
  • Hiroki Kokubo, Hawks: 73
  • Shintaro Yoshitake, Giants: 2
  • Ken Kadokura, Giants: 1
  • Kimiyasu Kudo, BayStars: 7
  • Takahiro Arai, Tigers: 97
  • Masato Akamatsu, Carp: 38
  • Kazuhiro Wada, Dragons: 159
  • Shinya Okamoto, Lions: 3
  • Kazuhisa Ishii, Lions: 23
  • Kazuki Fukuchi, Swallows: 39
  • Hiroyuki Kobayashi, Tigers: 1
  • Takuya Takahama, Marines: 5
  • Shuichi Murata, Giants: 83
  • Shugo Fujii, BayStars: 9
  • Saburo Omura, Marines: 20
  • Takayuki Taguchi, Giants: 0
  • Hayato Terahara, Hawks: 11
  • Takahiro Mahara, O.Buffaloes: 4
  • Keiichi Hirano, O.Buffaloes: 19
  • Kazuya Takahama, Tigers: 0
  • Yasutomo Kubo, BayStars: 22
  • Kazunari Tsuruoka, Tigers: 6
  • Kan Otake, Giants: 20
  • Ryuji Ichioka, Carp: 24