Reply To: Independent Leagues and Ikusei Players



Hello Edwin,

Sorry for the delay.

Salaries for Independent League players are not very high. I’m guessing in that regard, they are similar to the Independent Leagues in the US. To be honest, I’m not really sure what the average salary is, but I’ve heard they can start as low as about 100,000 yen a month. That might be on the extreme low end though.

I don’t think there are any restrictions on the number of foreign players a team can sign. Rules might change depending on the league, but I don’t really remember reading any restriction rules. Of course, the NPB has a four player limit for the active roster.

I can’t really give you any figures for how many players move from the Independent League to the NPB each year. I don’t think they would be very difficult to find. I know that a handful get select through the draft every year. And a few foreign players have signed with NPB teams partway through the regular season.

The ways teams handle Ikusei contracts are starting to change a little. The Giants and Hawks have unofficial third levels (San-gun) and I think a number of teams are thinking about doing something similar, like the Buffaloes and Tigers. Most, if not all, Ikusei players for these teams would fall into the San-gun ranks, unless they were players recovering from injuries that were re-signed to Ikusei contracts while they recovery. Again, there are always a handful of players that move from Ikusei to regular contracts each year. And then again, a handful of players that move from regular to Ikusei during the off-season.

Sorry I couldn’t provide more exact numbers for you. If I had more time, I would try to round them up for you, but I’m afraid the information isn’t readily available.

Hope I was able to at least answer some of your questions.