Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Kikuchi and Yamakawa win final monthly 2017 MVP award

The final monthly awards for NPB were announced by the league on Tuesday night. From the results, the Saitama Seibu Lions swept the Pacific League as Hotaka Yamakawa and Yusei Kikuchi were named hitter and pitcher of September/October, respectively. 

To end the regular season, Yamakawa hit .326 with 10 HRs, 19 runs, 30 hits, 68 total bases and a .739 slugging average. In 10 of those games, he recorded multiple hits.

Yamakawa won this award for the second consecutive time as he was named the August 2017 recipient last month. He became fourth player in league history to win the monthly award in back to back months. The other three are Doug Jennings (July and August 1995), Ichiro Suzuki (June and July 1998), and Yuki Yanagita (August and September 2015), according to YakyuDB (Gen).

"I made my presence known and I felt a lot of pressure a little being the Lions cleanup hitter," Yamakawa said in a statement. "When I got up to the ichi-gun, at the beginning, I wasn't hitting well and at that time I've been putting pressure on how to do better if I do not hit well today. As the cleanup hitter, I firmly have confidence of going out with absolute results." 

Kikuchi earned his first career monthly MVP award with a 3-0 record, 0.29 ERA, 31 IP, 37 strikeouts and one shutout in four games through September and October. On September 7, he pitched a four-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts.

On September 14, he went into Sendai and earned a win over his senpai and predecessor ace Takayuki Kishi. 

"That game was purely enjoyable," Kikuchi said.

Including this month, the Lions officially earned five monthly MVP honors in 2017. Ken Togame (June 2017) and Shogo Akiyama (July 2017) were previously winners in the summer while Yamakawa won his first award in August.


Central League monthly MVP winners:

OF Ryuhei Matsuyama (Carp)

P Tomoyuki Sugano (Giants)


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