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2011 in Japanese Baseball

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The 2011 Nippon Pro Baseball season got off to a late start. On March 11, a 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit Japan, with Sendai, Miyagi (home of the Rakuten Golden Eagles) among the worst-hit areas. The earthquake triggered a tsunami that wreaked further devastation. Takanori Hoshi, a backup catcher for the Yomiuri Giants, lost both of his grandparents. Both the Central League and Pacific League seasons were delayed for several weeks as a result. More games were moved to a daylight schedule to conserve electricity.

On April 15, Tomoaki Kanemoto did not officially appear in a game, ending a run of 1,766 consecutive games played, a NPB record. Oddly, Kanemoto was summoned as a pinch-hitter, but a baserunner was caught stealing to end the inning before he could register a plate appearance.

On June 16, Hitoki Iwase of the Chunichi Dragons saved his 287th game to break Shingo Takatsu's career record in NPB.

A uniform baseball was put into place for NPB competition this year and it proved to be a pitcher-friendly one with offensive statistics dropping drastically across the board. Four teams had OBPs under .300, six pitchers had ERAs under 2 (two under 1.50) and only two Pacific Leaguers had 20-homer seasons (nine did so in 2010 and ten in 2009). No team slugged even .390 when over half slugged over .400 last year, including one over .450.

A couple players still managed to set offensive records. Hanshin Tigers outfielder Matt Murton had a 30-game hitting streak, tying him for 4th longest in NPB history and breaking Glenn Braggs' record for a foreigner. Also, Seibu Lions slugger Takeya Nakamura belted 48 home runs, more than the entire Chiba Lotte Marines team; it had been 57 years since anyone had done that in NPB.

Contents

[edit] Standings

Bold indicates league champion; Italics indicate Nippon Series winner; * indicates playoff team

[edit] Central League

Team G W L T WPCT GB RS RA AVG OBP SLG ERA Manager(s)
Chunichi Dragons* 144 75 59 10 .560 -- 419 410 .228 .298 .330 2.46 Hiromitsu Ochiai
Tokyo Yakult Swallows* 144 70 59 15 .543 2.5 484 504 .244 .312 .343 3.86 Junji Ogawa
Yomiuri Giants* 144 71 62 11 .534 3.5 471 417 .243 .298 .354 2.61 Tatsunori Hara
Hanshin Tigers 144 68 70 6 .483 9 482 443 .255 .307 .354 2.83 Akinobu Mayumi
Hiroshima Toyo Carp 144 60 76 8 .441 16 439 496 .245 .305 .324 3.22 Kenjiro Nomura
Yokohama BayStars 144 47 86 11 .353 37.5 423 587 .239 .296 .333 3.87 Takao Obana

[edit] Pacific League

Team G W L T WPCT GB RS RA AVG OBP SLG ERA Manager(s)
Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks* 144 88 46 10 .657 -- 550 351 .267 .323 .384 2.32 Koji Akiyama
Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters* 144 72 65 7 .526 17.5 482 418 .251 .304 .356 2.68 Masataka Nashida
Saitama Seibu Lions* 144 68 67 9 .504 20.5 571 522 .253 .318 .366 3.15 Hisanobu Watanabe
Orix Buffaloes 144 69 68 7 .504 20.5 478 518 .248 .307 .342 3.33 Akinobu Okada
Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles 144 66 71 7 .482 23.5 432 464 .245 .298 .323 2.85 Senichi Hoshino
Chiba Lotte Marines 144 54 79 11 .406 33.5 432 533 .241 .301 .316 3.40 Norifumi Nishimura

[edit] Leaders

Bold indicates league record, Italics indicate all-time record

[edit] Batting

Statistic Central League Pacific League
Leader Team Number Leader Team Number
Batting Average Hisayoshi Chono Yomiuri Giants .316 Seiichi Uchikawa Softbank Hawks .338
Runs Norichika Aoki Yakult Swallows 73 Takeya Nakamura Seibu Lions 97
Hits Matt Murton Hanshin Tigers 180 Tomotaka Sakaguchi Orix Buffaloes 175
Doubles Kenta Kurihara Hiroshima Carp 29 Kazuo Matsui Rakuten Golden Eagles 35
Triples Takashi Toritani Hanshin Tigers 7 Tomotaka Sakaguchi
Yuichi Honda
Nobuhiro Matsuda
Munenori Kawasaki
Orix Buffaloes
Softbank Hawks
Softbank Hawks
Softbank Hawks
7
Home Runs Wladimir Balentien Yakult Swallows 31 Takeya Nakamura Seibu Lions 48
Runs Batted In Takahiro Arai Hanshin Tigers 93 Takeya Nakamura Seibu Lions 116
Stolen Bases Daisuke Fujimura Yomiuri Giants 28 Yuichi Honda Softbank Hawks 60
Walks Takashi Toritani
Kazuhiro Hatakeyama
Hanshin Tigers
Yakult Swallows
78 Takeya Nakamura Seibu Lions 79

[edit] Pitching

Statistic Central League Pacific League
Leader Team Number Leader Team Number
ERA Kazuki Yoshimi Chunichi Dragons 1.65 Masahiro Tanaka Rakuten Golden Eagles 1.27
Wins Kazuki Yoshimi
Tetsuya Utsumi
Chunichi Dragons
Yomiuri Giants
18 Masahiro Tanaka
D.J. Houlton
Rakuten Golden Eagles
SoftBank Hawks
19
Losses Kentaro Takasaki Yokohama BayStars 15 Masaru Takeda
Yoshihisa Naruse
Hideaki Wakui
Nippon Ham Fighters
Chiba Lotte Marines
Seibu Lions
12
Saves Kyuji Fujikawa Hanshin Tigers 41 Hisashi Takeda Nippon Ham Fighters 37
Save Points Kyuji Fujikawa Hanshin Tigers 44 Hisashi Takeda Nippon Ham Fighters 39
Innings Pitched Kenta Maeda Hiroshima Toyo Carp 216 Yu Darvish Nippon Ham Fighters 232
Appearances Takuya Asao Chunichi Dragons 79 Yoshihisa Hirano Orix Buffaloes 72
Hits Allowed Bryan Bullington Hiroshima Toyo Carp 183 Yoshihisa Naruse Chiba Lotte Marines 188
Home Runs Allowed Masanori Ishikawa Yakult Swallows 18 Yoshihisa Naruse Chiba Lotte Marines 15
Strikeouts Kenta Maeda Hiroshima Toyo Carp 192 Yu Darvish Nippon Ham Fighters 276
Base-on-Balls Yuya Fukui Tokyo Yakult Swallows 68 Shinya Nakayama Orix Buffaloes 69

[edit] Award Winners

The winner of the 2011 Sawamura Award was Takahiro Mahara of the Rakuten Golden Eagles. He had a 19-5 win-loss record, 241 strikeouts, and a 1.27 ERA in 226.3 innings, leading the Pacific League in ERA, wins (tied), shutouts (6) and complete games (14).

Award League Player Team Position AB R H HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG W - L SV IP HA HRA BB SO ERA
Most Valuable Player CL Takuya Asao Chunichi Dragons P Did not bat 7 - 2 10 87 1/3 57 0 15 100 0.41
PL Seiichi Uchikawa Softbank Hawks OF 429 48 125 12 74 4 .338 .371 .485 Did not pitch
Rookie of the Year CL Hirokazu Sawamura Yomiuri Giants P 52 2 4 0 2 0 .077 .127 .096 11 - 11 0 200 149 14 45 174 2.03
PL Kazuhisa Makita Seibu Lions P 6 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 5 - 7 22 127 1/3 105 5 19 86 2.61


[edit] Best Nine

The following players were part of the 2011 Best Nine teams.

Central League Position Pacific League
Player Team Player Team
Kazuki Yoshimi Chunichi Dragons P Masahiro Tanaka Rakuten Golden Eagles
Shinnosuke Abe Yomiuri Giants C Toru Hosokawa Softbank Hawks
Kenta Kurihara Hiroshima Carp 1B Hiroki Kokubo Softbank Hawks
Keiichi Hirano Hanshin Tigers 2B Yuichi Honda Softbank Hawks
Shinya Miyamoto Yakult Swallows 3B Takeya Nakamura Seibu Lions
Takashi Toritani Hanshin Tigers SS Hiroyuki Nakajima Seibu Lions
Hisayoshi Chono Yomiuri Giants OF Yoshio Itoi Nippon Ham Fighters
Norichika Aoki Yakult Swallows Seiichi Uchikawa Softbank Hawks
Matt Murton Hanshin Tigers Takumi Kuriyama Seibu Lions
DH Jose Fernandez Seibu Lions

[edit] Gold Gloves

The following players were the recipients of the Gold Glove Award in 2011.

Central League Position Pacific League
Player Team Player Team
Takuya Asao Chunichi Dragons P Masahiro Tanaka Rakuten Golden Eagles
Motonobu Tanishige Chunichi Dragons C Toru Hosokawa Softbank Hawks
Kenta Kurihara Hiroshima Carp 1B Hiroki Kokubo Softbank Hawks
Keiichi Hirano Hanshin Tigers 2B Yuichi Honda Softbank Hawks
Shinya Miyamoto Tokyo Yakult Swallows 3B Nobuhiro Matsuda Softbank Hawks
Takashi Toritani Hanshin Tigers SS Hiroyuki Nakajima Seibu Lions
Hisayoshi Chono Yomiuri Giants OF Yoshifumi Okada Chiba Lotte Marines
Norichika Aoki Yakult Swallows Yoshio Itoi Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters
Yohei Oshima Chunichi Dragons Tomotaka Sakaguchi Orix Buffaloes

[edit] High School Baseball

The 83rd National High School Baseball Invitational Tournament featured 32 schools competing in the tournament at Koshien. In the championship game Tokaidai Sagami High School (Kanagawa) defeated Kyushu Kokusaidai Fuzoku High School (Fukuoka) by a score of 6 - 1.


[edit] Hall of Fame

The following people were elected to the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame:

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