Ryoya Kurihara

From BR Bullpen


Ryoya Kurihara (栗原 陵矢)

  • Bats Left, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 10", Weight 165 lb.

BR register page

Biographical Information[edit]

Ryoya Kurihara was MVP of the 2020 Japan Series.

Kurihara played for Japan when they won Silver in the 2014 U-18 Asian Championship. [1] The Softbank Hawks took him in the second round of the 2014 NPB draft, after taking Yuki Matsumoto in the first round. [2] He played briefly in the minor Western League in 2015 and hit .306/.327/.367 in 19 games there in 2016. He then slipped to .212 with one homer in 33 AB in the Asia Winter Baseball League. [3]

He made his Pacific League debut in 2017, pinch-hitting for Takuya Kai and being retired by Tomoyuki Sugano. He was 0 for 3 but hit a solid .271/.336/.442 in the WL with 15 doubles and 5 triples in 70 games. He tied for 10th in the loop in doubles and tied for fourth in triples. He was the Hawks' #4 catcher in 2018, going 1 for 9; his first NPB hit came off Yuki Karakawa. He was at .243/.321/.400 in the minors.

He split 2019 between the PL (.231/.311/.359 in 45 PA, 32 G) and WL (.323/.362/.564, 9 HR, 6 3B in 55 G). His first NPB homer was off Yasuhiro Tanaka. He tied for 2nd in the WL in triples, was sixth in home runs and had a higher average than any of the qualifiers.

Kurihara became a regular for the Hawks in 2020; with Kai still ensconced at catcher, he was used as a corner outfielder and first baseman. He hit .243/.307/.420 with 17 homers and 73 RBI in 118 games in the COVID-19-shortened campaign. He was 9th in the PL in two-baggers (21), 7th in dingers and tied Hotaka Yamakawa for 4th in RBI. He was 14th in voting for the 2020 Pacific League Most Valuable Player Award. [4] He then starred in the 2020 Japan Series as Softbank swept the Yomiuri Giants. In Game 1, he hit a two-run homer off Sugano for the first runs and added two doubles, two more RBI and a walk without getting out. In Game 2, he was 4 for 5 and won Game MVP. He was hitless in Game 3 and Game 4 but still finished at .500/.588/.857 for the best OPS of the Series, while only Alfredo Despaigne finished with more RBI. He was named Series MVP, a year after having been a bench player and minor leaguer. [5]