There aren’t many topics that baseball teams agree on, except not to pay a lot of money to junior leaguers. The only thing 29 teams share is a massive amount of regret they didn’t convince Shuhei Ohtani to come and join they The franchise after the end of the 2017 season (well, 28 teams since the Orioles oddly Refusal to make an offer on philosophical grounds, but I bet the current front office wouldn’t work the same way!) In any case, the major league teams and regular fans coveted the biggest stars in NPB (Nippon Professional Baseball), and a small but steady stream of talent is coming into the US and Canada from abroad. So I wanted to take a look at two Japanese players who might not be next one NPB stars who come to MLB due to the fluctuations of the serving system are the most exciting young players in the league at the moment: Tokyo Yakult Swallows third baseman Munetaka Murakami, and Chiba Lotte Marines righty Roki Sasaki.
It would be hard to overstate how dominant Murakami is at 22, but I will do my best to do so. Called for a cup of coffee at the age of 18 in 2018, he quickly became one of Japan’s top hitters, hitting 36 circuit racers at age 19 and subtracting OPS numbers at 1.012 and .974 in the next two years. Like MLB, NPB is in a relatively low offensive environment these days, although the underlying causes are unlikely to be the same. The Central League – pretty much the last bastion if you want to see bowlers hit – scores just 3.64 points per game, its lowest since 2015. That didn’t stop Murakami from finding other gear in 2022, but enough gears The extra seems to have emptied a bike shop.
Murakami, who is 52, is not only at the top of the rankings. he is he is arrangement. Only one player in Japan, Hotaka Yamakawa, has half the total points (38). Only two players are within 300 of his 1.229 OPS: Yamakawa (.988) and Masataka Yoshida (.952), while using their generous board appearance requirement (250 PA). In recent weeks, Murakami also set an NPB record by hitting his home turf. Five consecutive appearances of the board.
NPB 2022 OPS Leaders
|What is Nakata||33||310||18||.290||.356||.515||.871|
This kind of home domination is rare, and Aaron Judge He might be the first hitter in nearly a century to outpace the runners-up by as wide as Murakami’s current one. OPS dominance to this degree is rare, even using the same liberal appearance of the 250 board as the official board 3.1 appearance for each team game, with Babe Ruth And the Barry Bonds Matching the current Murakami edge.
MLB Home Run Leader Domination
After translating Murakami’s 2020 and 21 into relatively normal triple slashes (.273/.355/.574 with a 45 Homer. This isn’t his baseline, but makes a perfectly hot ZiPS drop:
ZIPS Show – Photographer Murakami
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As an offensive player, the best ZIPS companies in Murakami are Harland CliftAnd the Robin VenturaAnd the Aramis RamirezAnd the Evan LongoriaAnd the Ken Keltner, among other things. I imagine most MLB teams would be happy to sign any of these players – I mean, in theory; Ventura is 55 years old, and Clift just celebrated his 110th birthday.
Sasaki is achieving similar success this year in his first full season in the Premier League. He didn’t turn 21 as of November, but he dominates the hitters in Japan so much that he’s healthy Jacob Degrom He does here. A well-built pitcher of 6-foot-3 and about 200 pounds, Sasaki hit 162 hitters in 118 1/3 innings for 20 walks, which is good for a 2.05 ERA. Only Yoshinobu Yamamoto, another player who might come to MLB at some point, had more hits (172), but needed another 45 rounds to get that extra 10 whiff.
Back in April, Sasaki delivered a perfect game, a first in the NPB major since 1994, hitting 19 hitters all the way. And then he could have done it repeatedly, throwing eight full runs into the next game and hitting 14 before being pulled in the ninth. I imagine that pulling the bowler out in the ninth game to try a perfect second in a row could lead to an actual revolution here! Here is a fun video of all 19 of his accomplishments.
Oh, did I mention that Sasaki can hit 102 mph with his Fastball? It throws an occasional curve or slider, but the usual accompaniment is, depending on your opinion, either a rolling splitter or a hard fork ball (in fact, these pitches are on a spectrum more to each other than completely different pitches). It even has an already powerful nickname: “The Beast of the Reiwa Era,” referring to the name of the current era in Japan since the coronation of a new emperor in 2019. (Seungwan ohThe Final Boss, is still my favorite in this regard.)
Overall, ZiPS translates Sasaki’s 2022 quality easily into MLB, with an ERA/FIP around 3.00 and over halftime per round. Projection is not so far Optimistic, but that’s largely because he’s still a very young player without much experience, which adds to the uncertainty no matter how good you are.
ZiPS Show – Roki Sasaki
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In the United States, Sasaki would easily be the best baseball player. As with Murakami, if he expresses a desire to play here sooner than his free agency, and his franchise is open to the idea, then all 30 teams should have a keen interest in spending a significant amount of money to get his services.
It will likely be several years until there is a chance of seeing Murakami or Sasaki in the majors. But our loss is Japan’s gain, and any serious baseball fan should keep track of the exploits of these two NPB players.