2022 in Japanese Baseball

From BR Bullpen

The 2022 Japanese season featured numerous highlights. Early in the year, Chiba Lotte Marines prodigy Roki Sasaki shattered the NPB record for consecutive strikeouts (13; the old record of 9 had stood for 65 years), becoming the first NPB pitcher to throw a regular season perfect game in 28 years and becoming the youngest to throw a perfect game. He then added 8 perfect innings in his next game to set a record for consecutive batters retired. It was the first of a record four no-hitters; Nao Higashihama, Shota Imanaga and Yoshinobu Yamamoto all threw no-hitters as well. For all of Sasaki's dominance, Yamamoto had an even better season, repeating as a pitching Triple Crown winner, something no one else had ever done in NPB annals.

Also setting a record, on the offensive side, was Yakult Swallows slugger Munetaka Murakami, who went deep 56 times. This broke Sadaharu Oh's 58-year-old record for home runs by a Japanese native (and was the second-highest total in NPB history, following Wladimir Balentien's 60). Murakami also was the first NPB player to homer in five straight at-bats. In the 2022 Japan Series, Yamamoto's Buffaloes met Murakami's Swallows. Yamamoto was roughed up in Game 1 and was injured, sidelining him the rest of the Series, but Orix came back to avenge their 2021 Japan Series loss as their pitchers kept Murakami and Yakult's strong offense in check for the last few games.

Standings[edit]

Bold indicates league champion; Italics indicate Nippon Series winner; * indicates playoff team

Central League[edit]

Team G W L T WPCT GB RS RA AVG OBP SLG ERA Manager(s)
Yakult Swallows 142 80 59 4 .576 -- 619 566 .250 .318 .410 3.52 Shingo Takatsu
Yokohama DeNA BayStars* 143 73 68 2 .518 8 497 534 .251 .308 .378 3.48 Daisuke Miura
Hanshin Tigers* 143 68 71 4 .489 12 489 428 .243 .301 .337 2.67 Akihiro Yano
Yomiuri Giants 143 68 72 3 .486 12.5 548 589 .243 .309 .392 3.69 Tatsunori Hara
Hiroshima Toyo Carp 142 66 74 3 .471 14.5 552 544 .257 .309 .364 3.54 Shinji Sasaoka
Chunichi Dragons 142 66 75 2 .468 15 414 495 .247 .301 .341 3.28 Kazuyoshi Tatsunami

Pacific League[edit]

Team G W L T WPCT GB RS RA AVG OBP SLG ERA Manager(s)
Orix Buffaloes* 143 76 65 2 .539 -- 490 458 .247 .317 .361 2.84 Satoshi Nakajima
Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks* 143 76 65 2 .539 -- 555 471 .255 .320 .377 3.07 Hiroshi Fujimoto
Saitama Seibu Lions 143 72 68 3 .514 3.5 464 448 .229 .298 .358 2.75 Hatsuhiko Tsuji
Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles 143 69 71 3 .493 6.5 533 522 .243 .325 .357 3.47 Kazuhisa Ishii
Chiba Lotte Marines 143 69 73 1 .476 7.5 501 536 .231 .303 .342 3.39 Tadahito Iguchi
Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters 143 59 81 3 .421 16.5 463 534 .234 .292 .356 3.46 Tsuyoshi Shinjo


Leaders[edit]

Bold indicates league record, Italics indicate all-time record

Batting[edit]

Statistic Central League Pacific League
Leader Team Number Leader Team Number
Batting Average Munetaka Murakami Yakult Swallows .318 Go Matsumoto Nippon Ham Fighters .347
Runs Munetaka Murakami Yakult Swallows 114 Hideto Asamura Rakuten Golden Eagles 73
Hits Yuki Okabayashi
Keita Sano
Chunichi Dragons
Yokohama BayStars
161 Hiroaki Shimauchi Rakuten Golden Eagles 161
Doubles Shugo Maki Yokohama BayStars 36 Hiroaki Shimauchi Rakuten Golden Eagles 36
Triples Yuki Okabayashi Yokohama BayStars 10 Keita Nakagawa Orix Buffaloes 9
Home Runs Munetaka Murakami Yakult Swallows 56 Hotaka Yamakawa Seibu Lions 41
Runs Batted In Munetaka Murakami Yakult Swallows 134 Hotaka Yamakawa Seibu Lions 90
Stolen Bases Koji Chikamoto Hanshin Tigers 30 Akito Takabe Chiba Lotte Marines 44
Walks Munetaka Murakami Yakult Swallows 118 Hideto Asamura Rakuten Golden Eagles 92

Pitching[edit]

Statistic Central League Pacific League
Leader Team Number Leader Team Number
ERA Koyo Aoyagi Hanshin Tigers 2.05 Yoshinobu Yamamoto Orix Buffaloes 1.68
Wins Koyo Aoyagi Hanshin Tigers 13 Yoshinobu Yamamoto Orix Buffaloes 15
Losses Yuya Yanagi Chunichi Dragons 11 Masahiro Tanaka Rakuten Golden Eagles 12
Saves Raidel Martínez Chunichi Dragons 39 Yuki Matsui Rakuten Golden Eagles 32
Innings Pitched Masato Morishita Hiroshima Carp 178 2/3 Yoshinobu Yamamoto Orix Buffaloes 193
Appearances Hiromu Ise Yokohama Bay Stars 71 Naoto Nishiguchi
Kaima Taira
Rakuten Golden Eagles
Seibu Lions
61
Hits Allowed Masato Morishita Hiroshima Carp 195 Masahiro Tanaka Rakuten Golden Eagles 160
Home Runs Allowed Daichi Ohsera Hiroshima Carp 18 Takahisa Hayakawa Rakuten Golden Eagles 19
Strikeouts Shosei Togo Yomiuri Giants 154 Yoshinobu Yamamoto Orix Buffaloes 205
Base-on-Balls Aren Kuri Hiroshima Carp 53 Shuta Ishikawa Softbank Hawks 57

Award Winners[edit]

The winner of the 2022 Sawamura Award was Yoshinobu Yamamoto of the Orix Buffaloes. He had a 15-5 win-loss record, 205 strikeouts, and a 1.68 ERA in 193 innings, leading the PL in ERA, wins, innings, strikeouts, complete games (4) and shutouts (2).

Award League Player Team Position AB R H HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG W - L SV IP HA HRA BB SO ERA
Most Valuable Player CL Munetaka Murakami Yakult Swallows 3B 487 114 155 56 134 12 .318 .458 .711 Did not pitch
PL Yoshinobu Yamamoto Orix Buffaloes P 2 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 15-5 0 193 137 6 42 205 1.68
Rookie of the Year CL Taisei Ota Yomiuri Giants P Did not bat 1-3 37 57 38 7 13 60 2.05
PL Yoshinobu Mizukami Seibu Lions P Did not bat 4-4 1 56 34 1 17 40 1.77

Best Nine[edit]

The following players were part of the 2022 Best Nine teams.

Central League Position Pacific League
Player Team Player Team
Koyo Aoyagi Hanshin Tigers P Yoshinobu Yamamoto Orix Buffaloes
Yuhei Nakamura Yakult Swallows C Takuya Kai Softbank Hawks
José Osuna Yakult Swallows 1B Hotaka Yamakawa Seibu Lions
Shugo Maki Yokohama BayStars 2B Hideto Asamura Rakuten Golden Eagles
Munetaka Murakami Yakult Swallows 3B Yuma Mune Orix Buffaloes
Takumu Nakano Hanshin Tigers SS Kenta Imamiya Softbank Hawks
Koji Chikamoto Hanshin Tigers OF Yuki Yanagita Softbank Hawks
Keita Sano Yokohama BayStars Go Matsumoto Nippon Ham Fighters
Yuki Okabayashi Chunichi Dragons Hiroaki Shimauchi Rakuten Golden Eagles
DH Masataka Yoshida Orix Buffaloes

Gold Gloves[edit]

The following players were the recipients of the Gold Glove Award in 2022.

Central League Position Pacific League
Player Team Player Team
Masato Morishita Hiroshima Carp| P Yoshinobu Yamamoto Orix Buffaloes
Yuhei Nakamura Yakult Swallows C Takuya Kai Softbank Hawks
Sho Nakata Yomiuri Giants 1B Akira Nakamura Softbank Hawks
Ryosuke Kikuchi Hiroshima Carp 2B Shuta Tonosaki Seibu Lions
Kazuma Okamoto Yomiuri Giants 3B Yuma Mune Orix Buffaloes
Hideki Nagaoka Yakult Swallows SS Sosuke Genda Seibu Lions
Yuki Okabayashi Chunichi Dragons OF Shuhei Fukuda Orix Buffaloes
Koji Chikamoto Hanshin Tigers Akito Takabe Chiba Lotte Marines
Yasutaka Shiomi Yakult Swallows Ryosuke Tatsumi Rakuten Golden Eagles

Hall of Fame[edit]

The following people were elected to the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame:

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