Wednesday, November 21, 2007

More NPB Awards - Best Nine, ROY, and MVPs

2007 Pacific League Awards (Japanese):

MVP: Yu Darvish (Fighters, 15-5, 1.82, 210 K) photo
ROY: Masahiro Tanaka (Eagles, 11-7, 3.82, 196 K) photo

Neither of these comes as any huge surprise. Darvish won by a comfortable margin over the second-place person, teammate Atsunori Inaba. And there was absolutely no contest for Ma-kun getting the PL ROY award -- he was pretty much destined to get it from the moment the Eagles won the lottery for his services in the draft last year. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating, but he really kicked ass this year (and he just turned 19 three weeks ago!)

PL Best Nine:
P Yu Darvish, Fighters
C Tomoya Satozaki, Marines
1B Alex Cabrera, Lions
2B Kensuke Tanaka, Fighters
3B Greg LaRocca, Buffaloes
SS Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Marines
OF Atsunori Inaba, Fighters
OF Hichori Morimoto, Fighters
OF Naoyuki Ohmura, Hawks
DH Takeshi Yamasaki, Eagles

A few things to note here: one, EVERY TEAM IS REPRESENTED. That's really nice. Second, this is actually Takeshi's second Best Nine award, except last time was in 1996 and he was an outfielder for the Chunichi Dragons.

2007 Central League Awards (Japanese):

MVP: Michihiro Ogasawara (Fighters Giants, .313/.363/.539, 31 HR, 88 RBI) photo
ROY: Keiji Uezono (Tigers, 8-5, 2.42, 83 K / 85.2 IP) photo

ARRRRRRGGGHH. This is like insult to injury in some ways. First he defects from the Fighters to the Giants, then he wins another MVP award. Ogasawara's clean-shaven doppleganger is only the second player in Japanese baseball history to win MVP awards in both leagues (the first was pitcher Yutaka Enatsu, who won his first one with the Carp and second with the Fighters).

It bugs me though, I'd rather have seen Yoshinobu Takahashi get the MVP award, but he actually finished third in the voting, sandwiched between teammates Uehara and the other Takahashi.

I don't have any comment on the ROY voting. I didn't think there was a clear-cut winner in the CL this year, but Uezono's a decent pick; if it had gone to runner-up Norihito Kaneto I wouldn't have particularly whined about it either.

CL Best Nine:
P Hisanori Takahashi, Giants
C Shinnosuke Abe, Giants
1B Tyrone Woods, Dragons
2B Hiroyasu Tanaka, Swallows
3B Michihiro Ogasawara, Giants
SS Hirokazu Ibata, Dragons
OF Norichika Aoki, Swallows
OF Alex Ramirez, Swallows
OF Yoshinobu Takahashi, Giants


Heh, I'm totally kidding, I have no real problem with that. Araki came pretty close, but I think a majority of voters appreciated that Hiroyasu is a better hitting second baseman by far. I think the best part is that the Swallows had three players in the Best Nine, yet they finished Dead Last. At least they had a kickass draft this year (Yoshinori Satoh in the HS portion, and Mikinori Katoh in the college part? That's about as good as it gets, although they're going to need a LOT of help next year, that's for sure.)

But if you look at the list of teams the Best Nine came from, it's from the 1st place team, the 2nd place team that won the Japan Series, and the last place team. That's sort of odd, I think.

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