Monday, June 27, 2016

Four Lions earn fan vote to 2016 NPB All Star Series

NPB announced the fan vote all stars for the 2016 NPB Series on Monday evening. Four Saitama Seibu Lions became all stars as a result.

For those unfamiliar, fans get to vote each position for the NPB All-Star series. This includes closer, relief pitchers and starting pitcher, something that MLB doesn't offer. (Though they have the right to vote for all position players).

OF Shogo Akiyama, C Ginjiro Sumitani, RP Kazuhisa Makita and 2B Hideto Asamura were fan votes among the Lions players at their respective positions. In a strange scenario, both Asamura and Makita are injured at the time of receiving their all star status.

Sumitani continues to have solid defense behind the plate, but is still a hole offensively. Asamura had a strong month of May, but there are questions about him being consistent or not.

Akiyama and Makita were shoo-ins the moment the All-star ballot came out. The Lions bullpen wouldn't be good without Makita while Akiyama has remained a solid leadoff hitter with an on-base percentage well above .400.

Interestingly enough, Ernesto Mejia couldn't earn the fan vote as Sho Nakata of the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters got in through name recognition. Brandon Laird also came up short as Nobuhiro Matsuda (Fukuoka Softbank Hawks) was the 3B representative.  Game 1 is on July 15 in Fukuoka and Game 2 is on July 16 in Yokohama.

The full all-star rosters will be announced later and we'll have a full reaction to this when it comes.

Here is the complete list of All-Stars who are in through the fan vote:

Pacific League

SP: Shohei Otani (Fighters)

RP: Kazuhisa Makita (Lions)

CL: Dennis Sarfate (Hawks)

C: Ginjiro Sumitani (Lions)

1B: Sho Nakata (Fighters)

2B: Hideto Asamura (Lions)

3B: Nobuhiro Matsuda (Hawks)

SS: Kenta Imamiya (Hawks)

OF: Yuki Yanagita (Hawks), Shogo Akiyama (Lions), Yoshio Itoi (Orix Buffaloes)

DH: Yuya Hasegawa (Hawks)


Central League

SP: Tomoyuki Sugano (Yomiuri Giants)

RP: Shinji Tajima (Chunichi Dragons)

CL: Yasuaki Yamasaki (Yokohama DeNA Baystars)

C: Yuhei Nakamura (Tokyo Yakult Swallows)

1B: Takahiro Arai (Hiroshima Toyo Carp)

2B: Tetsuto Yamada (Swallows)

3B: Shingo Kawabata (Swallows)

SS: Hayato Sakamoto (Giants)

OF: Yoshitomo Tsutsugo (Baystars), Yoshihiro Maru (Carp), Shun Takayama (Hanshin Tigers)


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  1. I think y'all got a weeeeee bit of homerism saying Makita is a "shoo-in" the moment the ballot came out. Deserving, yeah, but he's not the best middle reliever in the league this year (My guy Uchi leads in every meaningful category - ERA, Holds, K rate, WHIP, BAA).

    Matsuda over Laird is a crime - he's behind Laird in every category other than acting like a clown. Matsuda is no better than the 4th guy on that 3B list (Laird, Okawari-kun, and Hosoya all better by far this year, though Hosoya's mostly been at first lately)

    1. The only homerism I may have on Makita is how he's taken a lot of meaningful long relief innings. They'd be in Orix territory in the standings without him. No one has pitched more IP among the guys than him and still has a decent WHIP. While I wasn't sure about Makita being shoo-in among the fan vote, I knew he'd be considered. Definitely agree Matsuda is a joke of a fan vote, but it is what it is.