The Japanese WBC (World Baseball Classic) national team is serious about home runs. Looking at the players expected to be the starting players, a large number of players with long hitting power were selected to fill the 1st to 7th home run hitters.
On the 26th of last month, Japan finalized the 30 members of the WBC team. It is a short-term game with at most 7 games from the first game of the 1st round to the final, and 15 pitchers were selected to give strength to the pitching ability. Manager Hideki Kuriyama draws baseball that relies on pitching power.
On the fielder side, it is noteworthy that a large number of home run hitters were selected.
In Japan, unlike the early and mid-2010s, Japanese players are stronger in home run rankings. Ten of the total of 12 players who tied for 10th place in home runs last year are Japanese. Five of them will compete in the WBC.
The 56 homers are Munetaka Murakami (Yakult), 41 homers Yamakawa Hotaka (Seibu), 30 homers Kazuma Okamoto (Yomiuri), 24 homers Shugo Maki (DeNA), and 23 homers Yamada Tetsuto (Yakult). . In addition, 6 people hit 20 or more home runs, including Masataka Yoshida (Boston) with 21 homers.
Major leaguers also excel at long hitting. Shohei Ohtani (Angels) hit 46 home runs in 2021 and 34 home runs last year. Seiya Suzuki (Cubs) and Lars Nutba (St. Louis) also recorded double-digit home runs last year, and expectations are high that the number of home runs will increase as their careers in the major leagues increase.
Director Kuriyama’s words are meaningful. After announcing the final list of the WBC national team on the 26th of last month, coach Kuriyama was asked at a press conference why he selected a lot of home run hitters, “It’s not because he was a home run hitter, but a player who left good results while playing at each position, and the team won.” I thought of a player who would contribute to the game, so I picked him, and there are more players (home run hitters) like this.” 메이저놀이터
In other words, the home run hitter has acknowledged his contribution to victory. Conversely, the number of contact hitters has decreased. Of last year’s top 15 batting average players, 14 were Japanese, and Yoshida (0.335, 2nd), Murakami (0.318, 3rd) and Maki (0.291, 11th) were only selected for the WBC national team.
By position, except for the shortstop and catcher, all of the expected starting players are 20 home run hitters. With 20 home runs, it is impossible to guarantee a starter. Among the second baseman candidates Yamada and Maki, and first baseman candidates Okamoto and Yamakawa, one each waits on the bench. It seems that the preparation of the Korean pitching staff should also change accordingly.