2021 in Japanese Baseball

From BR Bullpen

After a reduced schedule in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Japan returned to a regular schedule for 2021. It was worst-to-first as the 2020 last-place teams, the Yakult Swallows and Orix Buffaloes, each finished first in the regular season; both teams made it to the 2021 Japan Series like in the 1991 World Series. Meanwhile, the Softbank Hawks failed to make the playoffs after winning the four prior Japan Series and six of the prior seven (they still had the best run differential in the Pacific League).

Standings[edit]

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

Central League[edit]

Team G W L T WPCT GB RS RA AVG OBP SLG ERA Manager(s)
Yakult Swallows* 142 73 51 10 .589 -- 618 522 .254 .333 .397 3.44 Shingo Takatsu
Hanshin Tigers* 143 77 56 10 .579 .5 541 508 .247 .311 .379 3.30 Akihiro Yano
Yomiuri Giants* 143 61 62 20 .496 11.5 552 541 .242 .310 .399 3.63 Tatsunori Hara
Hiroshima Toyo Carp 142 62 68 12 .477 14 548 582 .263 .323 .387 3.80 Shinji Sasaoka
Chunichi Dragons 142 55 71 15 .437 19 405 478 .237 .291 .331 3.22 Tsuyoshi Yoda
Yokohama DeNA BayStars 143 54 73 16 .425 20.5 559 624 .266 .325 .416 3.78 Daisuke Miura

Pacific League[edit]

Team G W L T WPCT GB RS RA AVG OBP SLG ERA Manager(s)
Orix Buffaloes* 143 70 55 18 .560 -- 551 500 .247 .312 .378 3.31 Satoshi Nakajima
Chiba Lotte Marines* 143 67 57 19 .540 3.5 584 570 .239 .320 .379 3.67 Tadahito Iguchi
Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles* 143 66 62 15 .516 5.5 532 507 .243 .329 .363 3.40 Kazuhisa Ishii
Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks 143 60 62 21 .492 8.5 564 493 .247 .314 .385 3.25 Kimiyasu Kudoh
Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters 143 55 68 20 .447 14 454 515 .231 .301 .336 3.32 Hideki Kuriyama
Saitama Seibu Lions 143 55 70 15 .440 15 521 589 .239 .310 .363 3.94 Hatsuhiko Tsuji

Leaders[edit]

Bold indicates league record, Italics indicate all-time record

Batting[edit]

Statistic Central League Pacific League
Leader Team Number Leader Team Number
Batting Average Seiya Suzuki Hiroshima Carp .317 Masataka Yoshida Orix Buffaloes .339
Runs Koji Chikamoto Hanshin Tigers 91 Yuki Yanagita SoftBank Hawks 95
Hits Koji Chikamoto Hanshin Tigers 178 Takashi Ogino Chiba Lotte Marines 169
Doubles Masayuki Kuwahara Yokohama BayStars 39 Kensuke Kondo Nippon Ham Fighters 37
Triples Yasutaka Shiomi Yakult Swallows 7 Sosuke Genda
Yuma Mune
Seibu Lions
Orix Buffaloes
7
Home Runs Kazuma Okamoto
Munetaka Murakami
Yomiuri Giants
Yakult Swallows
39 Yutaro Sugimoto Orix Buffaloes 32
Runs Batted In Kazuma Okamoto Yomiuri Giants 113 Hiroaki Shimauchi Rakuten Golden Eagles 96
Stolen Bases Takumu Nakano Hanshin Tigers 30 Sosuke Genda
Haruki Nishikawa
Takashi Ogino
Koshiro Wada
Seibu Lions
Nippon Ham Fighters
Chiba Lotte Marines
Chiba Lotte Marines
24
Walks Munetaka Murakami Yakult Swallows 106 Hideto Asamura Rakuten Golden Eagles 101

Pitching[edit]

Statistic Central League Pacific League
Leader Team Number Leader Team Number
ERA Yuya Yanagi Chunichi Dragons 2.20 Yoshinobu Yamamoto Orix Buffaloes 1.39
Wins Koyo Aoyagi
Aren Kuri
Hanshin Tigers
Hiroshima Carp
13 Yoshinobu Yamamoto Orix Buffaloes 18
Losses Yudai Ono Chunichi Dragons 11 Takahide Ikeda
Takayuki Kishi
Sachiya Yamasaki
Nippon Ham Fighters
Rakuten Golden Eagles
Rakuten Golden Eagles
10
Saves Robert Suárez Hanshin Tigers 42 Naoya Masuda Chiba Lotte Marines 38
Innings Pitched Yuya Yanagi Chunichi Dragons 172 Yoshinobu Yamamoto Orix Buffaloes 193 2/3
Appearances Noboru Shimizu Yakult Swallows 72 Naoya Masuda Chiba Lotte Marines 67
Hits Allowed Aren Krui Hiroshima Carp 150 Kona Takahashi Seibu Lions 157
Home Runs Allowed Shosei Togo Yomiuri Giants 19 Kota Futaki Chiba Lotte Marines 24
Strikeouts Yuya Yanagi Chunichi Dragons 168 Yoshinobu Yamamoto Orix Buffaloes 206
Base-on-Balls Yuki Takahashi Yomirui Giants 61 Tatsuya Imai Seibu Lions 99

Awards[edit]

The winner of the 2021 Sawamura Award was Yoshinobu Yamamoto of the Orix Buffaloes. He had a 18-5 win-loss record, 206 strikeouts, and a 1.39 ERA in 193 2/3 innings, leading the PL in ERA, wins, innings, strikeouts, complete games (6) and shutouts (4).

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 Munetaka Murakami Yakult Swallows 3B 500 82 139 39 112 12 .278 .408 .566 Did not pitch
PL Yoshinobu Yamamoto Orix Buffaloes P 3 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 18-5 0 193 2/3 124 7 40 206 1.39
Rookie of the Year CL Ryoji Kuribayashi Hiroshima Carp P Did not bat 0-1 37 52 1/3 23 1 28 81 0.86
PL Hiroya Miyagi Orix Buffaloes P 6 0 1 0 0 0 .167 .167 .167 13-4 0 147 118 9 39 131 2.51

Best Nine[edit]

The following players were part of the 2021 Best Nine teams.

Central League Position Pacific League
Player Team Player Team
Yuya Yanagi Chunichi Dragons P Yoshinobu Yamamoto Orix Buffaloes
Yuhei Nakamura Yakult Swallows C Tomoya Mori Seibu Lions
Jefry Marté Chunichi Dragons 1B Brandon Laird Chiba Lotte Marines
Tetsuto Yamada Yakult Swallows 2B Shogo Nakamura Chiba Lotte Marines
Munetaka Murakami Yakult Swallows 3B Yuma Mune Orix Buffaloes
Hayato Sakamoto Yomiuri Giants SS Sosuke Genda Seibu Lions
Koji Chikamoto Hanshin Tigers OF Yuki Yanagita Softbank Hawks
Seiya Suzuki Hiroshima Carp Yutaro Sugimoto Orix Buffaloes
Yasutaka Shiomi Yakult Swallows Masataka Yoshida Orix Buffaloes
DH Kensuke Kondo Nippon Ham Fighters


Gold Gloves[edit]

The following players were the recipients of the Gold Glove Award in 2021.

Central League Position Pacific League
Player Team Player Team
Yuya Yanagi Chunichi Dragons| P Yoshinobu Yamamoto Orix Buffaloes
Yuhei Nakamura Yakult Swallows C Takuya Kai Softbank Hawks
Dayán Viciedo Chunichi Dragons 1B Akira Nakamura Softbank Hawks
Ryosuke Kikuchi Hiroshima Carp 2B Shogo Nakamura Chiba Lotte Marines
Kazuma Okamoto Yomiuri Giants 3B Yuma Mune Orix Buffaloes
Hayato Sakamoto Yomiuri Giants SS Sosuke Genda Seibu Lions
Yohei Oshima Chunichi Dragons OF Yuki Yanagita Softbank Hawks
Koji Chikamoto Hanshin Tigers Takashi Ogino Chiba Lotte Marines
Seiya Suzuki Hiroshima Carp Ryosuke Tatsumi Rakuten Golden Eagles

International Baseball[edit]

Japan won Gold in the 2020 Olympics (held in 2021, but retaining the 2020 name; they had been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic).

Hall of Fame[edit]

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

Japanese Baseball Seasons

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2020 · 2021 · 2022