Tag Archive > Shinnosuke Abe

2014 NPB Payrolls

» 25 February 2014 » In npb » 18 Comments

Alright, here we go, it’s time for the always popular post on Japanese team payrolls.

This data comes from the February 3, 2014 edition of Shukan Baseball via their handy iOS appSasuga, Shu-be.

These payroll figures are a little different from MLB numbers in that each team’s payroll covers its entire 70-man shihaika roster. This includes minor leaguers, but not players on the ikusei roster. So the average per player is a bit lower than if it were narrowed down to the top 25 or 40 players. NPB is also a little more egalitarian in the sense that minor leaguers earn a livable wage off.

My US dollar figures are based on an exchange rate of JPY102.5/$1, which was the market rate at the of writing. The Yen has weakened against the US Dollar by about 10 percent over the last year, so take the conversions with a grain of salt.

And aside from that, I’ll let the data speak for itself:

Team League Payroll JPY Payroll USD Average Per Player
Yomiuri Central ¥4,659,100,000 $45.45m 63 players, avg ¥73.95m/$721k
Softbank Pacific ¥4,000,300,000 $39m 65 players, avg ¥61.54/$600k
Hanshin Central ¥3,235,500,000 $31.56m 66 players, avg ¥49.05m/$478k
Rakuten Pacific ¥2,789,800,000 $27.22m 62 players, avg ¥45m/$439k
Chunichi Central ¥2,633,000,000 $25.69m 68 players, avg ¥38.36m/$374k
Lotte Pacific 2,491,450,000 $24.3m 64 players, avg ¥38.93m/$380k
Nippon Ham Pacific ¥2,410,500,000 $23.5m 67 players, avg ¥35.84m/$349k
Orix Pacific ¥2,397,250,000 $23.38m 67 players, avg ¥35.78m/$349k
Yakult Central ¥2,386,200,000 $23.28m 66 players avg ¥36.15m/$353k
Seibu Pacific ¥2,242,600,000 $21.88m 65 players avg ¥34.50m/$340k
Hiroshima Central ¥2,061,170,000 $20.1m 66 players, avg ¥31.23m/$305k
DeNA Central ¥1,9270,000,000 $18.8m 65 players, avg ¥29.65m/$290k

To add context, here are some interesting facts about NPB salaries:

  • 91 NPB players make JPY100m (about $1m) or above. 65 are Japanese, 26 are foreign.
  • Japan’s highest-paid player is Yomiuri catcher Shinnosuke Abe at JPY600m ($6m). He actually turned down a higher salary for Yomiuri, because he felt he was not ready to surpass the JPY610m that Hideki Matsui made in his final season with the Giants.
  • The highest paid foreign player is Rakuten’s Andruw Jones, at JPY400m. I believe he’s being paid in dollars, in the amount of $3.8m. To get a better idea of how foreign players are paid, read this post.
  • The lowest paid shihaika roster player is Rakuten rookie pitcher Ryuta Konno, at JPY4.4m ($44k).

I’ll delve into why Japanese baseball salaries aren’t higher in a later article.

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My Team Japan

» 08 May 2011 » In npb » 27 Comments

Last week, I got a pretty good question Twitter — who would my Japanese national team be today?

It’s a good question, and a nice change of pace from the Darvish questions I frequently get, so I decided to write up a post about it. Coincidentally back when I was teaching English at the now-defuct NOVA, I used to do a lesson like this with my baseball fan students, and it was always a fun one.

I’m picking my team as if they would have to compete at the highest level, so as cool as I think the World Port Tournament is, I’m following the WBC roster rules. In summary, I get a maximum of 28 players, with a minimum of two catchers and 13 pitchers.

Outfield

No reason to deviate from the 2009 WBC starting outfield of Ichiro, Kosuke Fukudome, and Norichika Aoki. For my fourth outfielder I’ll go with the gap power, strike zone judgement, and defensive prowess of Nippon Ham CF Yoshio Itoi.

Infield

There’s one easy call for me in the infield: Hiroyuki Nakajima at shortstop. At second base, I’ll start Tsuyoshi Nishioka, without regard to his current injury.

The corners are a little trickier. At third base, I like Takeya “Okawari-kun” Nakamura’s bat and Eiichi Koyano’s glove, with Takahiro Arai striking a balance between the two. Choices are a bit limited on other side of the diamond, and Sho Nakata might be the best choice by the end of the year, but for now I prefer the contact bat of Seiichi Uchikawa.

This group of four gives me some flexibility. I can play the stronger defensive group with Koyano at third, Arai at first, and Okawari-kun DH’ing, or I can for the better offensive lineup and have Arai at third, Okawari-kun at first, and one of my other candidates batting DH. The presence of Uchikawa gives me the option of playing the hot hand as well.

On the bench, I’ll stash Yasuyuki Kataoka and Munenori Kawasaki, both of whom can pinch run, steal bases, get bunts down and play good defense all over the infield.

Designated Hitters

Nakamura would DH for my team when he’s not playing in the field. Hideki Matsui never participates in these things, but dammit,this is my dream team, so he’s in.

Catchers

Catcher is an easy call. Kenji Johjima starts, Shinnosuke Abe backs up.

Starting Pitchers

The first three starters are easy choices: Yu Darvish, Hisashi Iwakuma and Hiroki Kuroda. The next three are pretty easy too: Masahiro Tanaka, Hideaki Wakui, Kenta Maeda. Hang on, no lefties in there, so I’ll call on Tsuyoshi Wada, Toshiya Sugiuchi, and Masaru Takeda.

That’s nine starters, so some of these guys are are going to relieve. In particular, I like Tanaka as a power arm out of the bullpen, and Takeda as a lefty specialist.

Relief Pitchers

I’m rounding out my 13-man pitching staff with four full-time relievers for my squad: Kyuji Fujikawa, Takuya Asao, Hitoki Iwase and Tetsuya Yamaguchi.

Those last two are kind of risky picks, given Iwase’s struggles in the 2008 Olympics, and the fact that Yamaguchi got lit up for 10 home runs last year. But Iwase is a good pitcher, and I like Yamaguchi’s ability to get lefthanded batters out.

Notable absences

The last name I deleted off my list of candidates was Chihiro Kaneko (ignoring the fact that he’s been out injured all season). It was either him or Koyano, and I went with Koyano for his third base defense and gap bat. Kaneko’s righty starter skillset is already well-represented.

I would love to have another power bat on this team, but the only other guy I really thought about was Shuichi Murata. A few years ago, his inclusion would have been a no-brainer, but I prioritized defense, and his down numbers last season concern me. Nobuhiko Matsunaka would have been a great inclusion, but he is a shadow of his former self.

I gave some consideration to Koji Uehara and Takashi Saito, but they are too injury-prone to displace either Fujikawa or Asao, and too righthanded to bump Iwase or Yamaguchi.

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Offseason Changes: Yomiuri Giants

» 27 January 2011 » In npb » 6 Comments

Coming: Brian Bannister, Hideki Sunaga, Toshimasa Konta, Jonathan Albaladejo, Carlos Torres, Rusty Ryal, Adam Bright

Going: Masahide Kobayashi, Seung-Yeop Lee, Wirfin Obispo, Marc Kroon, Edgar Gonzalez, Toru Murata, Noriyoshi Ohmichi, Soichi Fujita, Noel Urena

Staying: Seth Greisinger, Dicky Gonzalez

Summary: The top three teams in the Central League (Chunichi, Hanshin, and Yomiuri) all finished the 2010 season within one game of each other in the standings. While the order of finish might be different, it doesn’t look like any of the three will falter and miss the post-season party in 2011.

While the Giants failed in their quest for a fourth straight pennant last season, there were many positives. Owners of NPB’s most powerful lineup, only the Tigers were able to outpace the Giants’ 711 runs scored. Yomiuri’s stars like Alex Ramirez and Michihiro Ogasawara aren’t getting any younger, but both still put up terrific numbers. Ogasawara defies the laws of nature each season, staying remarkably consistent at the plate. Shinnosuke Abe set career highs with 44 home runs and 303 total bases. Hisayoshi Chono and Hayato Sakamoto have emerged as superb young hitters, offsetting a potential future offensive decline.

Once heralded but now out of favor, management decided that Seung-Yeop Lee’s time as a Giant would end this off-season. Since joining the team five years earlier, both Lee’s numbers and playing time steadily decreased each season. Edgar Gonzalez was not retained; the infielder hit .263 with 12 home runs in 2010.

The plan right now seems to be one of replacing the holes that were created by off-season departures. Rusty Ryal spent 2010 with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He’ll battle with for time at third base, as it looks like Tatsunori Hara will slide Ogasawara over to first base. Taishi Ohta and Yoshiyuki Kamei will undoubtedly be squeezed for playing time at ichi-gun if Ryal sticks; the latter is transitioning to the infield this season.

On the pitching side, closer Marc Kroon and Masahide Kobayahi departed.  I expect former New York Yankee Jonathan Albaladejo to fill Kroon’s spot as the 9th inning man. He might have some competition from Tetsuya Yamaguchi or Daisuke Ochi, but I believe Albaladejo will win the role barring injury or severe early underperformance.

As for the rotation, Shun Tohno and Tetsuya Utsumi are set, then the Giants brass has to figure out how to cobble together a winning rotation from Shugo Fujii and a gaggle of foreigners. New arrival Brian Bannister should be part of the rotation, and Seth Greisinger will also get a look after an abbreviated 2010 campaign. Dicky Gonzalez (5-13, 5.29 ERA), who couldn’t come remotely close to his 2009 performance (15-2, 2.11 ERA), was also invited back and is an option. The odds are longer for hurlers such as Chih-Lung Huang or Carlos Torres to win a regular rotation spot, but hopes are high for 2010 top draft pick Hirokazu Sawamura.

Of note, Hideki Sunaga and Toshimasa Konta arrived in a trade with Nippon Ham, as Wirfin Obispo was sent to Hokkaido in exchange. Toru Murata departed for the American minor leagues, but the aforementioned Greisinger took a harsh pay cut to stay with the Giants.

The positional battles, newcomers, and high-powered offense should be fun to watch this spring. We’ll see if it all goes according to plan for the Kyojin when the games count in a few months.

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Gyro-Cutter

» 24 July 2010 » In mlb prospects, npb » 6 Comments

I normally don’t pay much attention to the All-Star Game, but this caught my attention.

Yu Darvish unveiled a new pitch called the “gyro-cutter” in his All-Star appearance this year. According to the linked article, he had just shown it in practice on the 21st. Said Darvish: “it’s the first time I used it in a game. It’s one type of cut fastball. Just the trajectory is different from what we’ve had until now.”

Here’s a YouTube clip I found of Darvish throwing the pitch against Giants catcher Shinnosuke Abe. The pitches shown in this video are numbers 13-22 of Darvish’s appearance, if you’d like to check out his velocity chart for the game. The pitches show up at cut fastballs in the data I collected.

Abe had this to say about the at-bat, which resulted in an RBI double: “it’s like a rising pitch from a submariner. I tried with all my might to outlast it with foul balls.”

So what’s “gyro” about this cut fastball? The spin. The Gyroball is supposed to spin sideways toward the plate, rather than rotating top over bottom. I think the best example of the pitch’s grip and trajectory can be seen at about 0:40 of the video. I own a copy of Gyroball originator Kazushi Tezuka’s book, but I haven’t read it, so take what I’m saying here with an appropriate measure of salt. In any event, Abe had a good at-bat and looked capable of fighting the pitch off.

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NPB Bullet Points: Home Runs

» 26 June 2010 » In npb » 1 Comment

Alright, time for another edition of NPB Bullet Points. Today we’ll look at some notable home runs that have been hit over the last week or so.

  • Craig Brazell had a six-game home run streak end on June 23rd against Hirohima. Sadaharu Oh and Randy Bass jointly hold the home run streak record at seven games. Brazell had been leading the Central League (and Japan) in dingers until…
  • Shinnosuke Abe got hot. Abe hit his 10th home run in June on the 23rd, marking the third time in his career he’s reached double digit home runs in a month. Abe commented, “right now in my at bats, in a good way I’m thinking ‘I’m a foreign hitter. I have awesome power’.” He then went out and hit two more bombs on the 26th to take over the league lead from Brazell. Abe is capable of hitting home runs in bunches; back in 2004 he opened the season with 20 homers in 33 games.
  • When Abe’s Giants teammate Alex Ramirez went deep for the 20th time this season on the 22nd, he become the second foreign player to hit 20 homers in each of his first ten seasons in Japan. The first? Tuffy Rhodes, of course. Ramirez had this to say: “I hit my first home run in Japan in a Yakult uniform at Jingu Stadium, so I’m glad I was able to achieve this in this ballpark.”
  • This happened a few hours after the original publication of this post, but Hanshin veteran Tomoaki Kanemoto hit his 450th career home run on the 27th. Kanemoto is just the 13th NPB player to reach that mark, and the first since Rhodes last year.

In unrelated news, the San Francisco Giants retired the number of Hall of Fame outfielder and African-American pioneer Monte Irvin today. It’s a bit overdue but definitely a feel-good story.

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Awards Announced

» 18 November 2009 » In npb » 1 Comment

The 2009 season is in the books, and the MVPs go to Yu Darvish in the Pacific League, with Alex Ramirez receiving the honor for the Central League. Darvish earns the award for the second time in his career and Ramirez obtains the award for the second straight season.

The Rookie of the Year award is received by Tokyo Yomiuri Giants outfielder Testuya Matsumoto, the first time in 51 years that two players from the same team received the RoY in consecutive years (Giants reliever Tetsuya Yamaguchi took the prize last year). The Pacific League award goes to reliever Tadashi Settsu of the Softbank Hawks.

The Best Nine Awards have also been announced and the winners are as follows:

Central Pacific
P Dicky Gonzalez Yu Darvish
CA Shinnosuke Abe Hidenori Tanoue
1B Tony Blanco Shinji Takahashi
2B Akihiro Higashide Kensuke Tanaka
3B Michihiro Ogasawara Takeya Nakamura
SS Hayato Sakamoto Hiroyuki Nakajima
OF Seiichi Uchikawa Teppei
OF Norichika Aoki Yoshio Itoi
OF Alex Ramirez Atsunori Inaba
DH Takeshi Yamazaki

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The List of Free Agents

» 27 October 2009 » In international baseball, mlb prospects, nichibei » 2 Comments

It’s that time of the year again when each team starts to look forward to the offseason stove league, aside from the Giants and Fighters who are set to do battle for this year’s big prize. The main talks of the off-season will be centering around the movement of the free agents and today the list of qualifying players was released.

Potential candidates that might consider a move overseas are starting to buzz  around the rumor mill and Ryota Igarashi and Naoyuki Shimizu are two of  the bigger names in the news at this point. Toshihisa Nishi is another guy who wants to play in MLB, but he’s 38 and looking at MLB as a swansong. The situation might change once the offseason begins, but there have been no talks about big names being posted and it might be a relatively quiet offseason for new Japanese players coming to the States for a new challenge.

DOMESTIC

  • Fighters: Shugo Fujii (LHP), Hichori Morimoto (OF)
  • Golden Eagles: Yosuke Takasu (INF), Akihito Fujii (CA)
  • Lions: Yoshihito Ishii (INF)
  • Marines: Hiroyuki Kobayashi (RHP), Tadahito Iguchi (INF, under a three-year contract)
  • Buffaloes: Tsuyoshi Kikuchihara (LHP), Osamu Hamanaka (OF), Alex Cabrera (INF)
  • Giants: Shinnosuke Abe (CA)
  • Dragons: Hidenori (OF)
  • Tigers: Atsushi Fujimoto (INF), Norihiro Akahoshi (OF)
  • Carp: Ryuji Yokoyama (RHP), Yoshikazu Kura (CA)
  • Baystars: Atsushi Kizuka (RHP)

INTERNATIONAL

  • Fighters: Tomochika Tsuboi (OF), Yoshinori Tateyama (RHP)
  • Hawks: Hitoshi Tamura (OF, staying put)
  • Marines: Tasuku Hashimoto (CA), Naoyuki Shimizu (RHP), Shingo Ono (RHP),
  • Buffaloes: Hidetaka Kawagoe (RHP, has been released and will move on)
  • Giants: Hisanori Takahashi (LHP), Shigeyuki Furuki (INF), Alex Ramirez (OF), Kiyoshi Toyoda (RHP)
  • Dragons: Masahiko Morino (INF, under a multi-year contract), Motonobu Tanishige (CA)
  • Swallows: Ryota Igarashi (RHP), Kazuki Fukuchi (OF), Masao Kida (RHP, will move on)
  • Baystars: Shigeru Morikasa (OF), Toshihisa Nishi (INF, has been released and is looking to play in the States in ’10)

Note that the player’s status, where known, appears in brackets beside his name. We’ll update this page as the offseason progresses.

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First Pitch from Space

» 20 April 2009 » In npb » 3 Comments

The ceremonial first pitch for the first game between the Yomiuri Giants and Hanshin Tigers was thrown from a great distance. Koichi Wakata, an astronaut on a long-term mission at the International Space Station, filmed the first pitch wearing a Giants uniform (supplied by manager Tatsunori Hara) inside the station, and was shown on the scoreboard prior to the game at the Tokyo Dome.

The ball used for the ceremonial first pitch was a speciality made ball, the “School Lunch Ball.” Inside the ball was a message-filled ribbon signed by Giants captain Shinnosuke Abe and nine students selected from the School Lunch program that the Giants participate in. The “School Lunch” program involves players interacting with students and eating lunch together in school classrooms.

Wakata commented, “If I practice more, maybe I will be able to throw a pitch that is impossible to imitate in Earth. I will hope to continue reporting news of dreams and hope from space.”

A new gyro ball in the works, perhaps from outer space. Stay tuned.

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It Starts with Abe

» 05 April 2009 » In npb » Comments Off

And the silly season begins! Yomiuri Giants catcher Shinnosuke Abe has met the service time requirements for domestic free agency. MLB fans, don’t get too excited — Abe can only move to other NPB teams. The Giants have a policy of not negotiating with players who have declared free agency, so we’ll see what happens with him. My guess is that he doesn’t go anywhere.

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Japan-Korea Bullet Points

» 18 March 2009 » In international baseball » Comments Off

It took a while to find a way to actually watch the game here in the States, but I finally did.

About the game…

  • Jung Bong shut Japan down again, indicating that his round one performance was no fluke.
  • Yu Darvish was better than the final line makes him look. He was done in in the first (from what I saw of the highlights) by a couple of a couple of booted infield grounders and a weak throw from Norichika Aoki.
  • After the first inning, Korea didn’t do much of anything until the eighth, when they let Japan’s pitchers beat themselves with walks.
  • Japan got runners on base and generally made contact, but they didn’t get any extra-base hits and didn’t really play the small-ball game. I think that’s what cost them the win more than anything.
  • Akinori Iwamura looked like he had no chance against Chang Yang Lim in the last at-bat of the game.
  • I wasn’t crazy about Korea planting their flag on the mound at the end. They didn’t win the tournament.

Hindsight is 20/20…

  • Tatsunori Hara had the infield positioned for a play at the plate when Korea had the bases loaded in the first. If they had been a double-play depth they would have gotten at least one out on Jin-young Lee’s grounder went for a two-run single.
  • I would rather start Munenori Kawasaki than Yasuyuki Kataoka if Hiroyuki Nakajima can’t play, especially since Kataoka is out of position at shortstop.
  • What was the point of putting Yoshiyuki Ishihara in for Kenji Johjima, just to pinch hit for him with Shinnosuke Abe after an inning? Johjima got ejected — shame on me for watching with the sound off.
  • Minoru Iwata didn’t look sharp — and leaving him in to face the righty looked really bad when Masahiro Tanaka came in and blew the next guy away.

On the live chat…

  • The chat thing was a spur-of-the-moment idea, so I didn’t give much notice. If I try this again, I’ll give more notice and hopefully I’ll get to chat with a few of the regulars.
  • The chat was pretty well-trafficed, mostly because it wound up near the top of the Google rankings for several variations on “wbc japan korea live”. A lot of people found this site for the first time because of that, and I hope some of them will stick around.
  • It took some time to find a good video feed, but I think at least a couple people were able to follow along.
  • Some of the comments I got on the chat tested my patience — though the people causing the problems clearly weren’t frequent visitors to this site. I hope everyone will be cool next time we do this.
  • I think it was insane for ESPN to show the NIT tournament instead of this.

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