Changes for 2012: Yokohama DeNA Baystars

» 28 January 2012 » In npb »

It’s time again for this series of posts.I was hoping to get these in before camps open on February 1, but alas, sometimes real life intervenes. This year we’ll go in the reverse order of the final 2011 standings, Central League first. 

Coming: Alex Ramirez, Masaaki Koike, Shugo Fujii, Gio Alvarado, Kazunari Tsuruoka, Masanori Hayashi, Kazumasa Kikuchi, Taketoshi Goto, DeNA ownership, manager Kiyoshi Nakahata, new uniforms

Going: Shuichi Murata, Termel Sledge, Brett Harper, Shingo Takeyama, Naoto Inada, Tomo Ohka, Daisuke Hayakawa

Staying: Clayton Hamilton, Brandon Mann

2011 was another year in the cellar for Yokohama. The Baystars finished last in the Central for the eighth time in ten years, including the last four consecutively with sub-.360 winning percentages. Better news came following the season though, when the previous ownership group TBS finally found a buyer, mobile gaming company DeNA. The combination of new ownership and charismatic new manager Kiyoshi Nakahata has generated a level of buzz around the team unseen since Kazuhiro Sasaki’s return.

Despite 2011’s last place finish, there were a few bright spots: Kentaro Takasaki emerged as a solid starter, slugger prospect Yoshitomo Tsutsugo performed well in his late-season trial, 2009 ikusei draftee Yuki Kuniyoshi emerged as a prospect, and lefty Brandon Mann put up good numbers in limited work.  The obvious rub is that of the four guys mentioned, only Takasaki made a contribution that lasted the entire season.

The Baystars’ 2012 roster changes aren’t going to vault the team into contention, but they aren’t going to hurt either. Yomiuri refugee Alex Ramirez and the emerging Tsutsugo should cancel out the losses of Termel Sledge and Shuichi Murata, and perhaps the departure of Brett Harper will lead to a few at-bats for prospect Atsushi Kita. Ramirez will be a defensive liability, and Tsutsugo probably will be as well, but then again, Sledge and Murata weren’t exactly gold glovers.

The bigger issue for Yokohama over the last several seasons has been run prevention. Last year, Yokohama had only two pitchers through 100 or more innings, Kentaro Takasaki and NPB Tracker favorite Daisuke Miura. To that end, if newcomers Gio Alvarado and Shugo Fujii can contribute 100-120 IP of league average or slightly better ball, the dual benefit of giving the younger pitchers some breathing room and making the more competitive will be realized.

The Baystars seem destined for another last-place finish in the Central this year, but for the first time in quite a while it feels like there’s a little competitive light visible at the end of the tunnel.

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  1. Patrick
    29/01/2012 at 8:06 pm Permalink

    what kind of upside does yuki kuniyoshi have?

  2. Patrick
    Chris Jackson
    30/01/2012 at 1:09 pm Permalink

    I am assuming the BayStars dumped Brent Leach before the season ended. His stats weren’t very good, and I know he didn’t exactly endear himself to the team when he initially refused to return after the earthquake.

    He was part of an excellent comedy duo here in Albuquerque with fellow Southerner Tim Corcoran during the 2010 season. Since the Dodgers just re-signed Corky, maybe Leach will come back as well. Or hit the road to replace Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy.

  3. Patrick
    30/01/2012 at 2:13 pm Permalink

    new2npb — I actually don’t know. I didn’t see any of his appearances in 2011. He kind of came out of nowhere — a late-round draft pick with big body that developed quickly.

    Chris — I totally forgot about Leach. He did have a pretty forgettable season, and, as you point out, didn’t show up in Japan until August. Stephan Randolph also spent time with the BayStars last year.

  4. Patrick
    30/01/2012 at 4:25 pm Permalink


    Are you sure this post is not recycled from last year (or the year before that or the year before that or the year before that or…)? Except for the “DeNA” part, I don’t see much difference. Every Yokohama preview for years says the same thing, (paraphrasing) “gonna suck again this season but the future is looking brighter.”

  5. Patrick
    30/01/2012 at 4:47 pm Permalink

    I was less optimistic last year:

    I mostly liked the moves they made going into 2010 though:

  6. Patrick
    30/01/2012 at 5:12 pm Permalink

    Maybe you should write the 2013 preview ( “gonna suck again this season but the future is looking brighter…”) right now just to get it out of the way so you won’t be so busy next year.

  7. Patrick
    30/01/2012 at 6:17 pm Permalink

    Or I might invite you to do a guest post for next year.

  8. Patrick
    30/01/2012 at 10:11 pm Permalink

    Would you like to write up that 2013 BayStars preview right now?

  9. Patrick
    02/02/2012 at 7:47 am Permalink

    First off, lol. I think that while Yokohama will probably end in last place, they may be at least watchable. The rotation should be somewhat stabilized by steady, if not overly impressive additions like Alvarado and Fujii. Kikuchi may still have a bit of upside, and Ramirez should add OK production, and offer a little protection in the heart of the lineup.