Sunday, March 13, 2016

English NPB media predicts the Seibu Lions for 2016


Japan Baseball Weekly released their Podcast episode previewing the Pacific League for the 2016 season on Sunday (in USA time). You can listen to the full episode here.

John E. Gibson of the Japan News, One World Sports and Yomiuri Shimbun, Jim Allen of Kyodo News, Claudio Rodriguez of Béisbol Japonés and Jason Coskrey of the Japan Times discussed everything regarding the Pacific League with projections in the standings.

Where did they have the Lions?  We'll show you where they have them finishing in the Pacific League with a few notes of what they said. (Full prediction articles from Gibson and Coskrey will come soon.)

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John E. Gibson (@JBWPodcast): 5th

-Solid rotation, but not high on Yusei Kikuchi

-Drafting 8 pitchers tells him that they don't have good pitchers in the system

-Strengths: Power hitting and Shogo Akiyama

-Weaknesses: Poor defense, strikes out too much, lack of speed, low quality outfield arms

-Team has a bunch of designated hitters leading to bad defense

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Jim Allen (@JballAllen): 4th

-Lions should have Tomoya Mori play in the outfield just so his bat is in the lineup.

-Likes the hiring of Hideki Hashigami as a tactics/strategy coach.

-Confirms our theory that Tetsuya Shiozaki is in line to be the next manager after Norio Tanabe in 2017. Shiozaki was promoted from ni-gun manager to being the head coach (MLB equivalent of bench coach in Japan).

-Lions farm team is a "pitcher's graveyard".

-Very close to being in third place. (He has the Marines finishing in 3rd)

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Jason Coskrey (@JCoskrey): 3rd

"If the Lions can hit as far as hitting home runs / extra base hits, they're gonna be fine. In games where the balls [aren't] finding holes or over the fence, they're not going to be able to manufacture runs because they're slow. They might have a tough time in that area, but I think their offense is going to be fine."

"Their pitching staff is a worry a little bit for me, [Takayuki] Kishi is solid. I have always liked Kikuchi. I think he really started to show a little bit more last year."

-Reports say Kikuchi is adding a changeup to his arsenal this year.

-Kona Takahashi is going to get a "trial by fire" for 2016. It will be a be a test to see how he does with a full workload.

-Has issues with Ken Togame, due to not having two consecutive seasons of being productive. (Togame has been up and down and not pitched two seasons of 100+ innings).

-Nogami is not particularly great, flawed back end rotation, bullpen is not impressive. Thinks they'll lose a lot of close games.

-Has the Lions finishing 3rd because he believes the rest of the Pacific League is weaker.

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Claudio Rodriguez (@BeisbolJapones): 5th

-Unsure about the new foreign pitchers in C.C. Lee and Andy Van Hekken

-Likes the Lions' offense

-Not convinced with the team's rotation

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Other Predictions: 

Michael Westbay (Data / behind the scenes for JBW Podcast, Founder of Japanese Baseball): 6th

Wayne Graczyk (Japan Times Columnist): 3rd

Patrick Newman (@npbtracker): 3rd

@NPB_Reddit: 6th

Kenichi Yazawa (Former Chunichi Dragons player, TV analyst): 2nd

Norihiro Akahoshi (Former Hanshin Tigers player, TV analyst): 4th

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