Tag Archive > Daiki Enokida

Changes for 2012: Hanshin Tigers

» 04 February 2012 » In npb » 3 Comments

Coming: Hayata Itoh (1st round draft pick), Shingo Matsuzaki, manager Yutaka Wada

Going: Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi, Kodai Sakurai, Ikuro Katsuragi, Keiji Uezono, manager Akinobu Mayumi

Staying: Matt Murton, Craig Brazell, Randy Messenger, Jason Standridge, Takashi Toritani, Kyuji Fujikawa

Hanshin’s biggest change this season is in the dugout, where Yutaka Wada replaces Akinobu Mayumi, who failed to lead the Tigers to a Central League crown or a Japan Series appearance in three years at the helm. Wada is a Hanshin lifer, having spent his entire 16 year playing career with the team, followed by another 10 years in various coaching roles in the Tigers organizatoin. Wada also occupies a special place in Hanshin lore, as the last active player from Hanshin’s legendary 1985 championship team at the time of his retirement in 2001.

Wada inherits a roster that is largely unchanged from 2011, a team finished fourth in the Central League despite outscoring its opponents by 39 runs. In a small league though, run differentials are deceiving, and a big chunk of those 39 runs came from blowing out Yokohama a few times. Rookie outfielder Hayata Itoh figures to get a serious look during spring training, as center field is a hole, and left fielder Tomoaki Kanemoto is on his last legs after a venerable career. Retaining Matt Murton was a big win for Hanshin, as they can count on his steady bat in right.

Hanshin made no significant changes to its pitching staff this offseason. Hiroyuki Kobayashi is working on a move to the rotation after a so-so season in middle relief; I wonder if lefty Daiki Enokida could make a few starts as well. Depth is always a plus, and while Hanshin had four starters pitch 150+ innings with 3.00 or lower ERAs, lefties Minoru Iwata and Atsushi Nohmi both struggled with injuries prior to 2011. On the farm, Taiwanese prospects Ikketsu Sho and Kai-Wen Cheng both put up good numbers at ni-gun last year, and righty Takumi Akiyama has shown promise as well.

Hanshin is beginning to age at some positions, but overall still has a talented veteran roster. That coupled with regression from of last year’s top three should see the Tigers back in playoff position this year.

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The NPB Tracker Post Season Awards

» 01 December 2011 » In npb » 1 Comment

Better run this before ALL the awards are announced… several weeks ago, Randy, Ken and I made our selections for the top performers of 2011. And here they are, with minimal analysis.

Sawamura Award: Masahiro Tanaka (Patrick, Ken), Yu Darvish (Randy)

Ken and I liked Tanaka’s crazy 1.27 ERA, while Randy favored Darvish’s higher innings pitched and strikeout totals. Can’t really go wrong either way.

Apologies to: Kazuki Yoshimi, Tetsuya Utsumi

Pacific League MVP: Tanaka (Patrick, Ken), Darvish (Randy)

The new NPB ball made this a pitcher’s year, and there was general consensus that the performance of Darvish and Tanaka put them ahead of everyone else.

The real winner, Seiichi Uchikawa, finished third on Randy’s ballot and fifth on mine. He would have been my winner if he had missed less time.

Apologies to: Takeya Nakamura, Yoshio Itoi, Hiroyuki Nakajima, Uchikawa

Central League MVP: Hisayoshi Chono (unanimous)

The overall lack of offense around the league meant that Chono’s performance stood out enough to win our votes. The lack of a Tanaka or Darvish type starting pitcher in the CL played a role here as well. Yoshimi and Utsumi were extremely good this year, but not scarily dominant.

The real winner, Takuya Asao, finished fourth on my ballot. You can argue that he put up that Tanaka-level performance in the CL this year, and I guess the voters did, but personally I valued a starting position player over a relief pitcher.

Apologies to: Asao, Yoshimi, Utsumi, Kenta Kurihara, Hirokazu Sawamura

Pacific League Rookie of the Year: Kazuhisa Makita (Patrick, Ken), Shota Ishimine (Randy)

While there were a lot of strong rookies in the PL this year, Makita pitched over 100 innings for Seibu out of the rotation and out of the bullpen, solidifying each when his team needed it. Ishimine stuck in the Lotte outfield throughout the season, got on base at a respectable clip, and swiped 32 bases.

The real voters agreed with Ken and I.

Apologies to: Takahiro Shiomi, Yuki Saito

Central League Rookie of the Year: Sawamura (unanimous)

Probably the most obvious award in quite some time, thanks to Sawamura’s 2.03 ERA over 200 innings pitched. The real voters thought so.

Apologies to: Daiki Enokida

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2011 NPB Trade Review

» 02 August 2011 » In npb » 4 Comments

As usual, the NPB trade/player acquisition deadline passed with a whimper. There were, however, seven trades consummated over the course of the season, with the Seibu Lions and Yomiuri Giants being the most active on the market. Here’s a rundown.

Takuya Takahama to Lotte, from Hanshin as compensation for signing Hiroyuki Kobayashi – There were rumors that Lotte would wind up with a more established player; instead they got infield prospect Takahama. He’s hitting .215 at ni-gun. Verdict: not sure who else was available to Lotte but it appears they wound up with a very ordinary farmhand.

Naotaka Takehara to Orix, cash to Lotte — Orix has, by and large, done a good job at getting useful contributions out of castoffs from other places. Takehara has not been one of those moves, as the Buffaloes gave him just 16 at bats at the top level. Verdict: Lotte wins, cash and a roster spot for a guy they weren’t going to use.

Shinji Takahashi to Yomiuri, cash to Nippon Ham — Takahashi is once-productive contact-hitting catcher/first baseman who fell on hard times in 2010, and apparently found himself without a role in Hokkaido. Yomiuri seems to have acquired him with pinch hitting in mind, but so far that idea hasn’t panned out as Takahashi only has one hit in 13 at bats. He is, however, hitting well at ni-gun, so maybe he has something left. Verdict: nice buy-low opportunity Yomiuri. We’ll see where he fits in next year.

Takanori Hoshi to Seibu, cash to Yomiuri — This one makes some sense. Hoshi’s path to ichi-gun was effectively blocked by the presence of catchers Shinnosuke Abe and Kazunari Tsuruoka, and Yomiuri has pretty good catching depth at ni-gun. Meanwhile, Seibu is down a man, having lost Toru Hosokawa to free agency last offseason. Hoshi still appears to be the low man on Seibu’s catching totem pole, but he’ll have less blockage from the top levels. Perhaps more importantly to the media, it prevents the Hoshi from realizing his “Kyojin no Hoshi” destiny. Verdict: in theory this seems like a good idea for Seibu.

Chikara Onodera to Yakult, Yuji Onizaki to Seibu — Onodera is a righty reliever with a hard fastball who enjoyed several years of success toward the back of Seibu’s bullpen until falling down the depth chart last season, then off the radar completely this year. Perhaps in anticipation of losing shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima this offseason, Seibu took this opportunity to move him into urban Tokyo in exchange for infield farmhand Onizaki. Onodera got lit up and demoted at Yakult, while Onizaki has taken over as Seibu’s ni-gun starting shortstop. Verdict: instinctively I prefer this deal for Seibu, though Onizaki is 28 and I have to wonder how much upside he has left.

Hirotaka Egusa to Seibu, Haruki Kurose to Hanshin — Lefty reliever Egusa was a key cog in Hanshin’s excellent bullpen from 2005-2009, before seeing his effectiveness (and velocity) fade in 2010. Supplanted by newcomers like Daiki Enokida, Hanshin swapped him for utility infielder Kurose, who himself had been made redundant with Seibu’s acquisition of Onizaki. This trade was essentially the other half of the Onodera deal, which took place one day earlier. Seibu has been struggling all season to find regular bullpen contributors, so it made sense for them to take a chance on a guy like Egusa, but so far it hasn’t worked out. Egusa only got eight innings at ichi-gun, where he walked nine batters, though he’s been better at ni-gun. Verdict: can’t fault Seibu for trying.

Saburo Ohmura to Yomiuri, Takahito Kudo to Lotte — And in the only trade of the year involving at least one player capable of starting, Yomiuri grabbed Saburo in exchange for reserve OF Kudo. This one is a bit of a head-scratcher. Clearly Yomiuri wanted to inject some life into its lineup. Saburo was not a bad pickup, but he’s another outfielder on the wrong side of 35. Meanwhile, Lotte gets a player in Kudo who has never established an ability to play a large chunk of the season. Oddly, Lotte started Kudo several games immediately after acquiring him, indicating that the were interested in him as a starter. Verdict: talent for talent, a win for Yomiuri.

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