Shogo Akiyama (35), an outfielder for the Hiroshima Carp of the Nippon Professional Baseball, is flying wildly at the beginning of the season. Before the Yakult Swallows on the 16th at Mazda Stadium in Hiroshima, he started 3 times – right field, going 3-for-3. From the first at-bat in the first inning, he hit a heavy hit, a triple to right field, and a hit to right. In the last at-bat in the 7th inning, he intentionally went out with 4 pitches. He went on base in all four at bats and scored two runs.
In the game the previous day (15th), he scored 3 hits and 2 RBIs, including a 2-run home run at the end of the 9th inning. He hit in five consecutive at-bats from the last two at-bats on the 15th to the first three at-bats on the 16th.
Hiroshima, who suffered 4 consecutive losses in the opening game, won 8 out of 9 games. They beat the Yokohama Baystars and the Hanshin Tigers to rise to first place in the Central League. Coach Takahiro Arai (46), a former “legend,” who took the helm of Hiroshima this year, rode a roller coaster at the beginning of the season.
Akiyama has 11 hits in 22 at-bats, a batting average of 50% and 5 RBIs in the last 6 games. It is the driving force behind the rise of Hiroshima.
As of the 17th, batting average of .468 (22 hits in 47 at-bats), 1 home run, 9 RBIs, OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) 1.212. His batting average in scoring position is 50% (4 hits in 8 at-bats). He ranks first in the Central League in batting and hits, third in RBI, and second in OPS. He’s considered one of the best hitters in the league right now. 안전놀이터
However, Akiyama is a player who returned from a disastrous failure in the major leagues in the middle of last year’s season.
After playing for the Seibu Lions, he entered the major leagues in 2020. He signed a three-year, $21 million contract with the Cincinnati Reds. Before moving to the United States, the best hitter in the Japanese professional baseball league, who topped the Pacific League for the most hits for three consecutive years, could not cross the major league wall.
He played in 142 games over two seasons, batting .2 2.4 (71 hits in 317 at-bats), 21 RBIs, and an OPS of 0.594 without a home run. It is a result of ‘eating and running’.
He was left out of the 2022 Opening Day roster. When the batting average stopped at 10% in the demonstration game, the Cincinnati club did not wait any longer. In April of that year he was released as a free agent. He was trying to return to the major leagues in the minor league team under the San Diego Padres, and eventually returned to Japan during last season.
Akiyama is the player who hit 216 hits, the most in a season in the 2015 Nippon Professional Baseball.
His performance in Nippon Professional Baseball and Major League seems to show a clear difference in level between the two leagues. Masataka Yoshida (30, Boston Red Sox) and Seiya Suzuki (29, Chicago Cubs) are playing in the major leagues this season. I took the best in Japanese professional baseball and went out to a bigger stage. The evaluation of the Japanese fielder increased, so he signed a contract on good terms. Yoshida gets 90 million dollars for 5 years, and Suzuki gets 85 million dollars for 5 years.
But the results are not out yet. Yoshida, who has been very active in the World Baseball Classic (WBC), is struggling at the beginning of his debut season. He went 0-for-4 against the Los Angeles Angels on the 18th, dropping his season batting average to 1.8 6. Batter 4 has only one home run. Suzuki, who recorded 2.6 2.2 with 14 home runs last year, is also in the 10.00 range. Tsutsugo Yoshitomo (32), a former Central League home run king, has not been able to return to the major leagues. He plays for a minor league team affiliated with the Texas Rangers.
Most Japanese fielders struggle with the fast pace of major league pitchers. As of last year, the average speed in the major leagues was 93.7 miles (150.8 km), the Japanese professional baseball was 90.8 miles (146.1 km), and the KBO league was 89.6 miles (144.2 km).