Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Seibu Lions sweep monthly March/April Pacific League MVP Awards

The Saitama Seibu Lions won both the Pacific League hitter and pitcher of the month awards for March/April of the 2018 NPB season.

Hotaka Yamakawa was named the hitter in a landslide, where he hit .337 having 28 hits, 11 home runs, 33 RBIs. He also had a slugging average of .831. This is the third time he has won a monthly award in his career and it's the third consecutive time in a row after taking it for August and September/October of 2017.

"I was aiming for this award, Yamakawa said in a statement. "I planned to win it. I was conscious of my batting average with men in scoring position and my walks total."

To begin the year, Yamakawa had 22 walks and a .560 average with runners in scoring position. Last year, he had a poor April which led to his deactivation, but was called up and had a strong second half. The Lions used this as leverage to force a lower wage for the 2018 season. If he stays at the ichi-gun, he will get a payday. 

Tawata won his award for the first time in his career. He had a 5-0 record in 35 innings with one complete game, a 2.06 ERA and 22 strikeouts. In 2015, he was the Lions first round draft pick out of Fuji University.

"I'm happy to win this award because it is difficult to get it in baseball while pitching," Tawata said. "In addition, I revealed that my first child will be born in September later this year. I want to work hard first, I want to leave a good result and good content."

Tawata was married last offseason. 

Yamakawa and Tawata were both teammates at the high school level in Okinawa and college level in Iwate  before being reunited again on the Lions in 2016. Both of them played at Fuji University for two seasons together (2012-2013). 


Central League awards:

SS Hayato Sakamoto (Yomiuri Giants): .369 average, 38 hits, 2 HRs, 20 RBIs. 

P Randy Messenger (Hanshin Tigers): 4-1, 1.82 ERA, 28 strikeouts in 29.2 innings. 


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