Category: NPB


Tomohisa Otani: Did You Know


September 21 vs Seibu at MetLife Dome – Otani became the twenty-six player in NPB history to record 100 holds.

Source: Sponichi 9/22/2017


[9/21/2017] Orix Buffaloes checked on talent in the US in August

The Orix Buffaloes sent scouts to the US for about a month in August to check on talent (with a focus on pitchers) at the MLB and Triple-A levels.

Stefen RomeroChris Marrero, and Brandon Dickson will be returning next year. The Buffaloes like Gonzalez Germen, but it is uncertain where he will end up next year. Phil Coke and Matt West struggled with injuries this year and are currently at Ni-gun.

Source: Sanspo 9/21/2017


[9/21/2017] Dragons to offer Daisuke Yamai a contract for 2018

In addition to Hitoki Iwase and Masahiro Araki, the Chunichi Dragons are planning to offer thirty-nine-year-old Daisuke Yamai a new contract for the 2018 season. Yamai is in the final year of a three-year contract. He did not get any playing time during the first-half of the season and made his first start in two years on August 31. He is currently 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA in two starts over twelve innings of work.

Source: Sports Hochi 9/21/2017

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[9/21/2017] Masahiko Morino to retire after the season

The Chunichi Dragons announced today that thirty-nine-year-old Masahiko Morino will be retiring at the end of the season. A retirement ceremony is set for September 24 (vs Hiroshima).

Morino hurt his right leg during a Hiroshima game on July 2 and was taken off the active roster on the following day. He has been at Ni-gun ever since.

Morino was selected by the Dragons in the second round of the 1996 draft. He settled into an everyday job at third in 2006. He recorded his first full season in 2009 and hit forty-two doubles and drove in 109 RBIs in the same year. Morino helped the team win a pennant in 2010 with a .327 batting average, forty-five doubles, and twenty-two home runs.

Morino won a Best Nine at third in 2010 and a Golden Glove at first in 2014. He made it to the All-Star in 2007 and 2010.

Source: Sponichi 9/21/2017, Daily Sports 9/21/2017, ZakZak 9/21/2017, Nikkan Sports 9/21/2017

[UPDATE 9/23 @ 2:06am]

The Dragons posted an announcement about Morino’s decision to retire on September 21. They also announced that his retirement ceremony will take place on September 24 at Nagoya Dome (vs Hiroshima).

Chunichi is expected  offer Morino a job as coach.

Source: Chunichi 9/21/2017, Nikkan Sports 9/22/2017Daily Sports 9/22/2017


[9/21/2017] Shintaro Fujinami walks four in four innings

Shintaro Fujinami pitched in a Ni-gun game against Chunichi at Nagoya Stadium earlier today. He took the mound in the third inning and gave up two runs on five hits and four walks over four innings of work. He threw ninety-six pitches.

Fujinami gave up both runs in the fourth inning after he loaded the bases with a double and two walks and no out.

Source: Nikkan Sports 9/21/2017


[9/20/2017] NPB teams to discuss posting system proposals

The media learned on September 20 that representatives from each of the twelve NPB teams are scheduled to meet on September 22 to discuss posting system proposals.

Source: Sanspo 9/20/2017

[UPDATE 9/23 @ 1:54am]

The NPB and representatives from all twelve NPB teams met in Tokyo on September 22 to discuss the posting system. A number of issues still need to be clarified. They are planning to make a final decision during an executive committee meeting on October 2.

Source: Nikkan Sports 9/22/2017, Sanspo 9/22/2017

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[9/20/2017] Rakuten Eagles set new attendance record

The Rakuten Eagles announced today that they set a new single-season attendance record for Ichi-gun home games.

Year Games Attendance Avg/Game
2005 68 977,104 14,369
2006 68 951,723 13,996
2007 72 1,117,369 15,519
2008 72 1,149,061 15,959
2009 72 1,203,169 16,711
2010 72 1,141,640 15,856
2011 72 1,168,188 16,225
2012 72 1,177,793 16,358
2013 72 1,281,087 17,793
2014 72 1,450,233 20,142
2015 71 1,524,149 21,467
2016 72 1,620,961 22,513
2017 65* 1,621,448 24,945

* as of September 20, 2017
Attendance totals include home games played at stadiums other than Kobo Park Miyagi

Source: Rakuten 9/20/2017


[9/20/2017] Yakult Swallows planning to sit down with Wladimir Balentien

According to Sanspo, the Yakult Swallows are planning to sit down with Wladimir Balentien to talk about the 2018 season. Balentien is in the final year of a three-year contract that is worth an estimated three million US dollars this year. If the Swallows offer Balentien a new contract, it will most likely be a one-year deal.

The Swallows realize it is not easy to find a player on the foreign market that can hit thirty home runs a year. They are also short on players and losing him could create a big hole. However, nothing is set in stone with a new manager joining the fray and the Swallows continually checking the overseas market for new talent.

Source: Sanspo 9/20/2017

[UPDATE 9/23 @ 1:58am]

Balentien likes the Swallows and considered them his second home. He would like to return next year if possible. He is even open to finishing his career with the team.

Source: Sanspo 9/22/2017


[9/20/2017] Junichi Fukura will stay on as manager in 2018

Buffaloes’ President Hiroaki Nishina told reporters today that Junichi Fukura will remain manager of the team in 2018 (they will most likely agree to a one-year contract). Fukura took over as an interim manager during the 2015 season. He became the official manager in 2016. Team officials are not fully satisfied with the team’s performance this year, but like the general direction the team is currently heading. They are not expecting a championship next year, but rather continued improvement (so at least a ticket to the Climax Series).

Source: Sports Hochi 9/20/2017, Daily Sports 9/20/2017, Nikkan Sports 9/20/2017


[9/20/2017] Hitoki Iwase expected to return for twentieth season

The media learned on September 20 that the Chunichi Dragons are planning to offer forty-two-year-old Hitoki Iwase a contract for the 2018 season. They still feel he can make useful contributions to the team.

Iwase picked up an MVP of the Month Award in June after he went 1-0 with a save, ten holds, and a 0.00 ERA over fourteen games. Through September 19, he was 3-6 with two saves, twenty-six holds, and a 4.79 ERA in fifty games.

Source: Sports Hochi 9/20/2017, Nikkan Sports 9/20/2017, Tokyo Sports 9/20/2017

NPB Standings [Full]
Hiroshima 138 85 49 4
Hanshin 133 72 58 3
Yokohama 133 66 63 4
Yomiuri 135 67 65 3
Chunichi 134 57 72 5
Yakult 135 44 89 2
Softbank 134 90 44 0
Seibu 135 75 57 3
Rakuten 128 70 56 2
Orix 131 61 69 1
Nippon Ham 131 51 80 0
Lotte 133 48 84 1
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