Monday, June 20, 2016

2016 NPB All Star Series: Pacific League Ballot

The 2016 All Star Series voting had ended and it's the time to decide who deserves the recognition in my opinion. For the Central League opinions, click here.

Stats are reflective of games that concluded after 6/19.  

For pitchers, I'll show (W-L) / ERA / WHIP

For hitters, the slashline will be BA / OBP / SLG

Starting Pitcher:

Ayumu Ishikawa (Chiba Lotte Marines): (7-2) / 1.30 / 1.072

He doens't have the strikeout numbers that Shohei Otani has, but I'll take his consistency throughout the whole season up to this point as my vote. Hideaki Wakui is the most accomplished pitcher in the Chiba rotation, but this season from Ishikawa proves why he's an ace. Weak contact and a strong WHIP will make me want to vote for this starter, who also leads the league in ERA.


Relief Pitcher: 

Kazuhisa Makita (Saitama Seibu Lions): (6-0) / 1.50 / 0.958 / 11 holds 

Like Ishikawa, Makita doesn't have the strikeout numbers of his competitors among relievers. However, his sample size is much larger with 48 inings pitched, the most among those that qualify. He's made multiple long relief appearances and is a large reason why the Lions are not in the cellar. The change of pace by having him as a reliever has done wonders and it brings a new element of "bullpen ace" to the team.



Dennis Sarfate (Fukuoka Softbank Hawks): (0-4) / 1.54 / 0.629 / 24 saves / 6 holds

Sarfate still averages more than 10 strikeouts per nine innings. Usually WHIP under 1.00 is good, but having it under .700?  Insane. He's continued his strong form since being the closer in Fukuoka and there shouldn't be any doubt in this pick with other closers either struggling or having their share of inconsistency.



Ginjiro Sumitani (Lions): .218/.243/.251

Among the catchers right now, "Gin-chan" has been reliable defensively even with some il-advised throws. Motohiro Shima would be a lock with better hitting, but his injury means it's a smaller sample size and less body of work. Tatsuhiro Tamura of the Chiba Lotte Marines also deserves some votes for his quick release.


First Baseman: 

Ernesto Mejia (Lions): .265/.342/.564

Mejia's production has dipped a little since his hot April, but his power still exists. He currently leads the Pacific League with 22 home runs and has been a large part of the Lions offense. Players with decent pop should always be considered or the all star game. His OPS is still above .900, which should make him a lock.


Second Baseman: 

Masahiro Nishino (Orix Buffaloes): .278/.350/.341

This isn't the most attractive name, but I find Nishino more consistent than how Hideo Asamura has been hitting for the Lions. He's a smarter slap stick hitter while Asamura is streaky. However, it's possible that voters prefer Asamura for his strong month of May.


Third Baseman: 

Brandon Laird (Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters): .280/.339/.588

Laird is tied with Mejia for home runs in the Pacific League with 22. Better yet, his average is respectable and he's finding the gaps. For a second-year player, he's had an impressive sophomore year in Japan avoiding any potential slump.



Takuya Nakashima (Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters): .280/.375/.297

Nakashima isn't the best SS in NPB, but his speed and hitting is better among who is eligible. He has 30-stolen base potential if he was given more opportunities to hit and get on base. Kenta Imamiya of the Softbank Hawks will most likely win the fan vote for his popularity, but he has had a decent run himself with a 20 game hit streak to bump his average above .250, which is solid for a guy that is known primarily for his defense.



Yuki Yanagita (Hawks): .293/.452/.526

Shogo Akiyama (Lions): .315/.421/.440

Katsuya Kakunaka (Marines): .344/.428/.496

Yanagita is the reigning Pacific League MVP and this year, teams are pitching around him as he leads the league in walks. The first 18 games of the year had Yanagita walk at least once. Despite all of this, he still has racked up 10 HRs and 10 stolen bases, putting him in range to be part of th 20-20 club.

Akiyama has regressed (Surprise!) from last year. However, he continues to get on base and not worry about a possible hits record despite his historic season of 2015. OPS is still above .800 and he does everything right for a leadoff hitter.

Kakunaka is one of the best hitting outfielders in the game even though his defense is a question mark. He can find the gap and slap one away to put some runs on the board.

Designated Hitter:

Alfredo Despaigne (Marines): .290/.353/.469

Despaigne is eligible for the first time in his NPB career (he has served international duty in the past, joining the team late) and has no troubles earning my vote among the designate hitters available. Tomoya Mori obviously has no sample size as he spent majority of the first half in ni-gun. Yuya Hasegawa of the Softbank Hawks has decent hitting numbers as well, but I'll take the guy with power numbers if they're close in average.


So in summary, here's my ballot.


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  1. Interesting ballot. Mine is almost the same, honestly, with the exception of'

    Imamiya - I think he's definitely the choice at SS, and Daichi will also get some votes due to his really nice year at the plate - and improvement in the field.

    Tamura is I think the clear choice at catcher, also. Not only is he one of the best defensive catchers in NPB, though Ichikawa actually leads in %runners thrown out, he's batting much better than any other PL catcher mostly due to his ability to get on base. He just OPS'ed .859 in interleague from the bottom of the lineup.

    Anyway, always a fun discussion!

    1. My obsession with speed is just too much. Won't mind if Tamura is in.