Saturday, June 27, 2015

NPB All-Star Series: Pacific League Reaction

Here is our reaction to the Pacific League All-Stars voted in.  For the Central League All-Stars, click here.

Stats are based on games completed through June 27.  

For batters we will show a slashline of Batting Average/OBP/SLG 

For pitcher we will show a slashline of (Wins - Losses), ERA/FIP/WHIP 


Starting Pitcher: Shohei Otani (Hokkaido) (9-1), 1.47/1.15/0.791

Relief Pitcher: Edison Barrios (Fukuoka) (0-2), 3.38/2.46/1.602 (20 Holds, 1 Save)

Closer: Yuki Matsui (Rakuten) (1-0), 0.51/1.80/0.943 (5 Holds, 18 Saves)

Shohei Otani is the most clear-cut choice among starting pitchers and his vote was reaffirmed with a complete game shutout on Tuesday. Barrios has been a consistent setup man for Fukuoka and Matsui has the lowest ERA among closers.

While as Lions fans we'd prefer Tomoni Takahashi at closer, Matsui's ERA and WHIP are much lower and it's understandable to vote the former top draft pick of 2013 into this All-Star Game.



Motohiro Shima (Rakuten) .226/.250/.317

Shima is the more well-rounded catcher among the Pacific League. However, he is battling an injury and it's uncertain if he will be able to play in July or not. We're hoping Kensuke Kondo of Hokkaido becomes the replacement, unless defense is valued so highly in NPB that Ginjiro Sumitani becomes the catcher. 



1B: Sho Nakata (Hokkaido) .259/.351/.544

2B: Hideto Asamura (Saitama) .322/.410/.469

3B: Takeya "Okawari-kun" Nakamura (Saitama) .287/.357/.592

SS: Kenta Imamiya (Fukuoka) .200/.247/.279

Nakata, Asamura and Okawari-kun are clear cut picks for their respective positions. Nakata and Okawari-kun lead the Pacific League in home runs while Asamura is currently best hitting 2B in NPB. 

However, there is a large disagreement with Imamiya making the All-Star game when he is hitting .200, exactly at the Mendoza Line level. Regardless of how great his defense is, I feel there he has to hit his own weight in order to qualify for the All-Star game. Gold glove caliber or not, there can't be a one dimensional person for defense only. We would prefer the speedy Takuya Nakashima to make the All-star game if we had a choice. 



Yuki Yanagita (Fukuoka) .377/.468/.626

Shogo Akiyama (Saitama) .382/.424/.541

Yoshio Itoi (Orix) .233/.336/.366

Yanagita and Akiyama are the two top batting leaders in NPB and there's no debating they are locks as All-Stars. Itoi was voted in on name recognition and his batting title accomplishments from 2014, which I would disagree with. This is the 2015 All-star game, not All-stars of past history. Itoi is having a down season hitting around .230 and isn't even the best hitting outfielder for Orix.

Two outfielders in Chiba should be considered between Ikuhiro Kiyota and Katsuya Kakunaka for the last All-Star spot. Kakunaka has been more consistent over the first three months of the year, which is who we voted for. Both are better than Itoi this year.

Designated Hitter:

Tomoya Mori (Saitama) .293/.351/.525

Mori received the most votes among all All-Stars for the ballot. There was minimal competition among designated hitters and the 19-year old brings a fresh face to NPB. After having a promising second half with the Lions in 2014, he built off of that and provides pop to the lineup. Like his other teammates, this was a clear cut vote with no debate.



The four Lions who were voted into the All-Star game were locks when we wrote about this a few weeks ago. Imamiya and Itoi are the only two voted in players we dislike, but otherwise the Pacific League voters got it right among the remaining 10.

What's more amazing for Lions fans, is how several pitchers in the rotation could be All-Star worthy and none of them are named Takayuki Kishi. This All-Star ballot reflects where the team was supposed to be, having hitting from top to bottom, but the pitching has been just as effective. 


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