2008.7.14 Batting and Pitching leaders
Posted by simon c on 2008 July 14日 Monday
High school baseball’s regional qualifying tournaments for the annual Koshien tournament is well under way, but NPB is taking its usual day off on Monday, so let’s take a look.
Batting (based OPS) as of 14 July 2008:
The ageless 40 year old wonder and world record holder for most consecutive innings played, Tomoaki Kanemoto of the Hanshin Tigers, is the NPB OPS leader. His career line sits at around .300/.400/.550 (in healthy seasons), so while his performance is amazing, it is not totally unexpected. He is one of the few players on the batting leaders board who is not on the the Team Japan preliminary roster of 39 players, so his presence on the Tigers during the Olympics will be important in keeping the team’s big lead over its CL opponents.
Norichika Aoki of the Tokyo Yakult Swallows makes an appearance on the leader board after missing some time with injury, he’s been on a tear lately and have continued to display his developing power with .578 SLG even in the expanded Jingu Stadium outfield. With his current hot back Aoki has pretty much cemented his place as the starting CF on Team Japan at Beijing. He will be hugely missed by the young and vulnerable Swallows during the Olympics though.
Yokohama BayStars Seiichi Uchikawa’s breakthough season seems to be the real thing as he’s played in 70 games already and keeps on sticking around the leaderboard. He’s a career .290/.330/.420 hitter though with consistent AVG and OBP while seeing some fluctutations in SLG (.363 – .515), so either he’s altered his swing mechanics or approach at the plate to see some drastic results, or this is quite a fluke season. When I run across some interview with him I guess I’ll know.
Pitching leaders (starters, based FIP) as of 14 July 2008:
Toshiya Sugiuchi of the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks continues to dominate NPB in FIP but just isn’t getting the run support, luck, and defense to rack up the wins like his fellow leaders Iwakuma (Eagles), Lewis (Carp), and Darvish (Fighters). Sugiuchi’s K/BB sits at an astonishing 7.21 (Yup, that’s a 7 there in the first digit!) He’s cranked up his K rate to above 9 (his pre-2005 level) and simultaneously cut down on the number of walks issued.
Masahiro Tanaka’s not getting his due what with his ERA over 3 and the 6-6 record, but he is contributing his share to the Eagles, though not quite at Iwakuma’s level. The Eagles have the second best run differential in the PL with +48 but are currently sitting in 5th place and out of the playoff picture. The team needs to learn how to win close games (or how to keep the lead?)
Of the rest of the leaderboard, only Iwata, Kawakami, and Naruse are Olympic hopefuls while Utsumi, Komatsu, Greisinger, and Shimizu will be staying on the archipelago to give their clubs an edge during the Olympic month.