2011 in Japanese Baseball
From BR Bullpen
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.
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.
- Bold indicates league champion; Italics indicate Nippon Series winner; * indicates playoff team
 Central League
|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|
 Pacific League
|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|
- Bold indicates league record, Italics indicate all-time record
|Statistic||Central League||Pacific League|
|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
| Orix Buffaloes
|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
| Hanshin Tigers
|78||Takeya Nakamura||Seibu Lions||79|
 Award Winners
The winner of the 2011 Sawamura Award was Masahiro Tanaka 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|
 Best Nine
The following players were part of the 2011 Best Nine teams.
 Gold Gloves
The following players were the recipients of the Gold Glove Award in 2011.
 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.
 Hall of Fame
The following people were elected to the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame:
|Japanese Baseball Seasons