Saturday, July 4, 2015

2015 NPB All-Star Home run Derby: The Candidates

The Home run derby nominations were announced for the NPB All-star home run derby on July 2. The rules are simple, with two players from both the Central and Pacific League who will duke it out to have the title.

Here, we will list the candidates nominated on both sides, showing who takes my vote and who could be a dark horse. We will show their HR totals and slugging percentage. Stats are based on games completed through July 3.

Central League:

C/1B Shinnosuke Abe (Yomiuri): 4 HR, .376 SLG

OF Yoshihiro Maru (Hiroshima): 11 HR, .432 SLG

3B Hector Luna (Chunichi): 5 HR, .447 SLG

1B Jose Lopez (Yokohama): 13 HR, .496 SLG

OF Yoshitomo Tsutsugo (Yokohama): 12 HR, .537 SLG

OF Takayuki Kajitani (Yokohama): 4 HR, .444 SLG

2B Tetsuto Yamada (Yakult): 17 HR, .546 SLG

OF Yuhei Takai (Yakult): 4 HR, .350 SLG

Verdict: Yoshitomo Tsutsugo and Jose Lopez
Dark Horse: None

It's clear cut that Yamada should be in this competition having the most home runs of the bunch, but does he have the endurance for it? Not so sure. Kazuhiro Hatakeyama would have been the better candidate among Yakult players. Lopez and Tsutsugo seem like the more safe players for this competition. While Hector Luna appears to have the pop, he doesn't look built for just home runs. 


Pacific League: 

3B Nobuhiro Matsuda (Fukuoka): 21 HR, .575 SLG
OF Yuki Yanagita (Fukuoka): 17 HR, .633 SLG
OF Yoshio Itoi (Orix): 7 HR, .361 SLG
1B Sho Nakata (Hokkaido): 21 HR, .533 SLG 
2B Luis Cruz (Chiba): 13 HR, .483 SLG
OF Ikuhiro Kiyota (Chiba): 9 HR, .536 SLG
3B Takeya "Okawari-kun" Nakamura (Seibu): 23 HR, .584 SLG
2B Hideto Asamura (Seibu): 9 HR, .451 SLG
OF Shogo Akiyama (Seibu): 7 HR, .533 SLG
DH/C/OF Tomoya Mori (Seibu): 13 HR, .517 SLG
OF Kazuo Matsui (Rakuten): 8 HR, .395 SLG

Verdict: Sho Nakata and Okawari-kun
Dark Horse: Luis Cruz 

The Pacific League is very clear cut on who to vote for. While Matsuda has the same number of home runs as Nakata, the latter is built for a derby. Okawari-kun being the home run leader in all of NPB should make him an automatic lock if he wants to participate in it. 

Luis Cruz could be an interesting candidate, mostly known for his defense he quietly has shown some pop this year. It wouldn't hurt to see him get a crack in the home run derby. Tomoya Mori would also be interesting as a fresh face to NPB, but is still too raw.


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