Six 2010 Season Storylines

» 18 March 2010 » In npb »

The Pacific League opener is nearly upon us. Here are a couple of storylines I’ll have my eye on this year:

  • Have the Yokohama BayStars done enough to contend for a playoff spot this year? — Yokohama added 12 new players this offseason, most of whom are veterans intended to help the 2010 club. Will it be enough to compete for a third place finish? My gut feeling is that Yokohama’s pitching is still a little lacking, but if they get a bunch of career years… you never know.
  • Shane Spencer… Lew Ford… Kevin Mench… Matt Murton? Have the Hanshin Tigers gotten it right this year?
  • Are the Rakuten Golden Eagles Pacific League title contenders this year? The Eagles finished second last year despite predictable regression from Hisashi Iwakuma, a mediocre bullpen and some major lineup gaps. Have they plugged enough holes to win the Pacific this year?
  • Can either Hanshin or Chunichi unseat Yomiuri as the Central League champion? The Kyojin-gun has a three-year stranglehold on the Se-League. Is this a new dynasty or do the Tigers or Dragons have enough to knock ‘em back? Or even Yakult?
  • What will Yu Darvish do this year? Will he mundanely post a fourth straight sub-2.00 era, sub-1.00 whip season? Will he throw a no-hitter?
  • How much of Yusei Kikuchi will we see at the top level this year? He’s already been penciled in to the ni-gun rotation to start the season.

The Pacific League opens on March 20. I’ll try to do some kind of live chat, so stay tuned for details.

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