Saturday, June 27, 2015

NPB All Star Series: Central League Reaction

The NPB All-star Votes were in on Friday 6/26. Here we will react to the fan votes and see who got into the All-Star Series for 2015 with commentary on each position. For comparison, you can check my votes here.

Stats are based on games completed through June 27.  

For pitchers, we will have a slashline of ERA/FIP/WHIP

For batters, we will have a slashline of (Wins - Losses), Batting Average/OBP/SLG 


Starting Pitcher: Hiroki Kuroda (Hiroshima) (6-2), 2.74/3.01/1.185

Relief Pitcher: Tetsuya Yamaguchi (Yomiuri) (2-4), 3.38/4.16/1.33 (12 Holds, 1 Save)

Closer: Yasuaki Yamasaki (Yokohama) (1-2), 1.91/1.16/0.765 (6 Holds, 20 Saves)

Voters definitely gave Kuroda a big welcome back to Japan by voting him into his first NPB All-Star game since 2007. Initially, he looked like an above average pitcher but has had an impressive run to make him All-Star worthy. I don't have him as the best starting pitcher but am fine with him participating in this event. Personally thought Kenta Maeda would be the best starter among Central League pitchers. 

Yamaguchi is a decent setup man for the Giants even though my vote went to Kenjiro Tanaka of DeNA. Of course his FIP shows he is vulnerable at times. Yamasaki was the consensus among fans and I don't have a problem with that. For a first-round pick out of last October's draft he has been an impressive rookie to just step in and become the team's closer. He should be in the hunt for Rookie of the Year.


Tsubawa Aizawa (Hiroshima) .264/.348/.389

Aizawa beat out Shinnosuke Abe in the vote for catcher which isn't a bad thing knowing the latter has been playing 1B at times. Aizawa doesn't have the most impressive stat-line offensively, but enough for All-Star consideration. I'm going to assume his defense is amazing behind the plate. 



1B Takahiro Arai (Hiroshima) .311/.394/.433

2B Ryosuke Kikuchi (Hiroshima) .271/.300/.383

3B: Shingo Kawabata (Yakult) .327/.365/.401

SS: Takashi Toritani (Hanshin) .257/.350/.346

Carp fans stuffed the ballot box all over the Central League. Arai is having a solid year, but wasn't my first vote. CL home run leader Kazuhiro Hatakeyama and Jose Lopez were better candidates for their pop over hitting for average at the 1B position. Kikuchi has a much better glove than every 2B, but his hitting is nowhere close to what Tetsuto Yamada has done.

Kawabata has been decent and Hector Luna of Chunichi should also get in, but he's good enough to warrant votes. Toritiani got in based on name recognition and isn't close to what Kosuke Tanaka and Hayato Sakamoto are, this choice is a little insulting.



Yoshihiro Maru (Hiroshima) .252/.349/.421

Takayuki Kajitani (Yokohama) .295/.362/.436

Yoshitomo Tsutsugo (Yokohama) .326/.395/.541

Voters got it right on both Baystars in Kajitani and Tsutsugo with the latter being an exciting player. I do have issues with Maru getting in based on his name. This is not the 2014 All-Star game and a player like Ryosuke Hirata is having a much better season. Maru has some pop, but is too inconsistent for the All-Star game.



There's two players in Maru and Toritani I disagree with as they got in on name recognition, but I expect Yutaka Wada, the Hanshin Tigers skipper to add the players who weren't voted in.  Getting nine out of 11 players right isn't too shabby, but I prefer being correct on this year alone, not basing votes off previous history prior to 2015. 


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