Archive > April 2009

2009 NPB Average Salary

» 29 April 2009 » In international baseball, npb, sports business » 3 Comments

Note: the 2014 revision of this post is here.

What great timing — just after we published the 2009 NPB Payroll Ranking, the Japan Professional Baseball Players Association announced their 2009 average salary numbers. The 738 players’ (not including foreign non-union players other than Chen Weiyin from the Chunichi Dragons) average salary for the 2009 season amounts to 3793K yen, which is 4.5 percent higher than the previous season.

The Tokyo Yomiuri Giants lost the top spot after holding the highest average salary for 14 consecutive seasons. The Hanshin Tigers earn the crown for the first time since the numbers began being published in 1988. The reason for Tigers reaching the top is that they have the highest Japanese paid player in Tomoaki Kanemoto and the main players on the roster earning at the 2M range. The runner-up is the Softbank Hawks and, suprisingly, in third place is the Yomiuri Giants. The Hiroshima Toyo Carp are in the last spot for the second year in a row. As most foreign players are not included in these numbers, it’s really the average payroll for the Japanese players on each team.

Rank  Team Average Salary PreviousSeason
1 Hanshin Tigers $58,519 $53,297
2 Softbank Hawks $53,257 $55,045
3 Yomiuri Giants $47,227 $55,651
4 Chiba Lotte Marines $43,682 $34,572
5 Chunichi Dragons $43,541 $51,065
6 Seibu Lions $36,118 $30,563
7 Tokyo Yakult Swallows $33,572 $28,088
8 Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters $33,380 $29,805
9 Yokohama Baystars $33,078 $32,330
10 Orix Buffaloes $27,553 $25,846
11 Rakuten Golden Eagles $27,108 $23,887
12 Hiroshima Toyo Carps $23,210 $19,675

* Note: these figures have been converted to US Dollars on May 3rd.

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Radio Appearance

» 28 April 2009 » In NPB Tracker » 2 Comments

I’ll be appearing Fantasy Focus Baseball with Jeff Erickson tomorrow, April 29 at 9:30 am pdt. You can listen to the show here.

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Toshiya Sugiuchi Pitching Data

» 28 April 2009 » In npb, pitching » Comments Off on Toshiya Sugiuchi Pitching Data

On Sunday I posted pitching data for Tsuyoshi Wada. Today let’s take a look at SoftBank’s other diminutive lefty ace, Toshiya Sugiuchi. This data is taken from his most recent start, a loss to Rakuten.

Here’s the chart:


And the breakdown:

result/pitch Changeup Curveball Fastball Sinker Slider Grand Total
Ball 9 4 17   13 43
Ball (stolen base)       1   1
Double         1 1
Flyball Single     1     1
Flyout         1 1
Foul 9 2 9   3 23
Groundball Hit     2   1 3
Groundout 2 1 2   2 7
Groundout (double play) 1         1
Home Run 1         1
Line Drive Single     1   1 2
Lineout   1       1
Strike Looking 2 8 11   6 27
Strike Swinging 6   6   4 16
Walk     2   1 3
Grand Total 30 16 51 1 33 131

Compared to Wada, Sugiuchi doesn’t rely on his fastball quite as much, and in general mixes it up more. He also has two softer breaking pitches, and based on this data, commands his curveball well.

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NPB Notes: Mench, McClain

» 27 April 2009 » In npb » Comments Off on NPB Notes: Mench, McClain

  • Scott McClain has agreed to terms with the Carp. He gets a one-year contract that will pay him about $200k plus performance bonuses. He’ll wear number 90 for the Carp.
  • Kevin Mench is ready to begin his “rehab assignment” with the Tigers’ farm team. Sanspo quotes him as saying, “it was good to get a rest for three days. I was able to clear my head and relax my body”. Mench will get together with Hanshin farm team manager Katsuo Hirata on the 27th to get together on a plan.

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Irabu Joins Golden League

» 26 April 2009 » In nichibei » 2 Comments

Sanspo and others have the scoop — Hideki Irabu has signed a deal with the Long Beach Armada of the independant Golden League. There’s an official announcement reportedly coming on the 27th.

Irabu is still a name, particularly on this side of the Pacific, and I think he’ll sell a few tickets for the Armada. We’ll see if he has enough left in his right arm to help them on the field.

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Tsuyoshi Wada Pitching Data

» 26 April 2009 » In npb, pitching » 9 Comments

Last week, I asked readers for suggestions on which pitchers to look at in my velocity charts series. Based the responses I got, here’s the order I’m going in:

  1. Tsuyoshi Wada
  2. Toshiya Sugiuchi
  3. Top closers: Kyuji Fujikawa, Takahiko Mahara, Hitoki Iwase
  4. Tetsuya Utsumi
  5. A look at Nippon Ham’s secondary pitchers: Sakamoto, Tadano, and Sweeney

You can see all the velocity charts I’ve done so far here.

So let’s take a look at Wada’s most recent outing, a loss to the Rakuten Eagles in which he was outdueled by Satoshi Nagai. Here’s Wada’s velocity chart:


And a break down of his pitches:

result/pitch Changeup Curveball Fastball Forkball Slider Grand Total
Ball   1 20 11 10 42
Double         1 1
Flyball Hit         1 1
Flyout     4 1 1 6
Foul 1   23 7 4 35
Foul Bunt     1     1
Groundout     1 3 2 6
Home Run     1     1
Line Drive Hit     1 1   2
Lineout         1 1
Sacrifice     1     1
Strike Looking   1 14 2 4 21
Swinging Strike     10 3 1 14
Walk     1     1
Grand Total 1 2 77 28 25 133

I was surprised to see how much Wada relies on his fastball, and how many strikes he gets with it. I didn’t see this game, but I’m inferring that he uses his slider and fork to set up his fastball. He also only threw three off-speed breaking pitches.

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Tuffy Hits #450

» 26 April 2009 » In npb » 2 Comments

Yesterday, Tuffy Rhodes went deep three times, hitting home runs numbers 450, 451, and 452 of his distinguished NPB career. I didn’t think Tuffy had 100 home runs left in him when he signed with Orix during spring training in 2007, but he’s hit 92 since then and shows no signs of slowing down.

Congratulations Tuffy! We’ll see you at 500!

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» 25 April 2009 » In npb » Comments Off on Update

Michael Westbay has given a thorough makeover. If you haven’t been to his site before, now is a great time to check it out.

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A Vote of Confidence for Mench

» 25 April 2009 » In npb » 2 Comments

Kevin Mench’s physical returned “no irregularities” and the outfielder is on his way home to rest for a few days before joining Hanshin’s minor league team. 

In a vote of confidence for Mench, Hanshin owner Shinya Sakai said, “we’re not at all thinking of adding reinforcemts (signing another foreign player)”, before adding “I want Mench to get a good rest and then do his best”.

Patience with foreign players is notoriously short in Japan, but in this case Hanshin’s management appears to be saying the right things. The Tigers brass notably stood behind Jeff Williams when he was named in the Mitchell Report a few years ago as well.

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2009 NPB Team Payroll Ranking

» 25 April 2009 » In international baseball, npb, sports business » 9 Comments

This ranking is based on calculating information from Daily Sports Online, and converting into US dollars at the April 24 dollar-yen exchange rate from Google Finance. The numbers are based on the start of the 2009 season. I hope this will be interesting and insightful for new NPB fans to learn how much Japanese teams pay their players.

Rank Team Payroll Players Under Contract Highest Paid Player
1 Yomiuri Giants $45.30M 78 Seung-Youp Lee, $6.2M
2 Hanshin Tigers $40.49M 74 Tomoaki Kanemoto, $5.6M
3 Softbank Hawks $34.11M 74 Nobuhiko Matsunaka, $5.1M
4 Chunichi Dragons $30.02M 70 Hitoki Iwase, $4.4M
5 Chiba Lotte Marines $27.67M 78 Naoyuki Shimizu, $2.4M
6 Seibu Lions $26.75M 68 Kazuhisa Ishii, $2.8M
7 Orix Buffaloes $26.04M 69 Tuffy Rhodes, $3.3M
8 Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters $24.97M 66 Atsunori Inaba, $3M
9  Tokyo Yakult Swallows $23.77M 71 Norichika Aoki,$ 2.6M
10 Yokohama Baystars $23.03M 68 Shuichi Murata, $2.6M
11 Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles $20.74M 67 Hisashi Iwakuma, $3M
12 Hiroshima Toyo Carp $17.71M 70 Katsuhiro Nagakawa, $1.6M
  • One note is that teams with more than 70 players on contract are from the existence of ikusei (training) players.

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