2023 in Japanese Baseball

From BR Bullpen

The 2023 Japanese season was a year for Osaka. The Hanshin Tigers finally won their first Central League pennant since 2005, and their rookie ace Shoki Murakami set the NPB record for best WHIP in the two-league era. On the other hand, the PL defending champion Orix Buffaloes and their ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto extended their domination, and Yamamoto won his third triple crown in a row. Two batters also had a chance to chase a triple crown in the middle of the season, but Kazuma Okamoto ended up with only the home run king title, and Kensuke Kondo was .004 shy from robbing the PL batting title from Yuma Tongu (who set a record for lowest average by a PL batting champ).

Yohei Oshima (2,000th hit) and Yoshihisa Hirano (250th save) joined the meikyukai.

Both pennant winners advanced to the 2023 Nippon Series, and they only lost a game combined in the playoffs. This was the second "Kansai Derby" following the one in 1964.

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)
Hanshin Tigers* 143 85 53 5 .616 -- 555 424 .247 .322 .352 2.66 Akinobu Okada
Hiroshima Toyo Carp* 143 74 65 4 .532 11.5 493 509 .246 .304 .357 3.20 Takahiro Arai
Yokohama DeNA BayStars* 143 74 66 3 .529 12 520 496 .247 .305 .369 3.16 Daisuke Miura
Yomiuri Giants 143 71 70 2 .504 15.5 523 508 .252 .308 .402 3.39 Tatsunori Hara
Yakult Swallows 143 57 83 3 .407 29 534 568 .239 .310 .367 3.16 Shingo Takatsu
Chunichi Dragons 143 56 82 5 .406 29 390 498 .234 .285 .326 3.66 Kazuyoshi Tatsunami

Pacific League[edit]

Team G W L T WPCT GB RS RA AVG OBP SLG ERA Manager(s)
Orix Buffaloes 143 86 53 4 .619 -- 508 429 .250 .311 .369 2.73 Satoshi Nakajima
Chiba Lotte Marines 143 70 68 5 .507 15.5 505 525 .239 .311 .354 3.40 Masato Yoshii
Fukuoka Softbank Hawks 143 71 69 3 .507 15.5 536 508 .248 .319 .360 3.27 Hiroshi Fujimoto
Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles 143 70 71 2 .496 17 513 555 .244 .321 .358 3.52 Kazuhisa Ishii
Saitama Seibu Lions 143 65 77 1 .458 22.5 435 466 .233 .296 .340 2.93 Kazuo Matsui
Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 143 60 82 1 .423 27.5 464 496 .231 .297 .344 3.08 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 Toshiro Miyazaki Yokohama BayStars .326 Yuma Tongu Orix Buffaloes .307
Runs Koji Chikamoto
Kazuma Okamoto
Hanshin Tigers
Yomiuri Giants
83 Kensuke Kondoh Fukuoka Softbank Hawks 75
Hits Takumu Nakano
Shugo Maki
Hanshin Tigers
Yokohama BayStars
164 Yuki Yanagita Fukuoka Softbank Hawks 163
Doubles Shugo Maki Yokohama BayStars 39 Kensuke Kondoh
Chusei Mannami
Fukuoka Softbank Hawks
Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters
33
Triples Koji Chikamoto Hanshin Tigers 12 Hiroto Kobukata Rakuten Golden Eagles 6
Home Runs Kazuma Okamoto Yomiuri Giants 41 Kensuke Kondoh
Hideto Asamura
Gregory Polanco
Fukuoka Softbank Hawks
Rakuten Golden Eagles
Chiba Lotte Marines
26
Runs Batted In Shugo Maki Yokohama BayStars 103 Kensuke Kondoh Fukuoka Softbank Hawks 87
Stolen Bases Koji Chikamoto Hanshin Tigers 28 Ukyo Shuto
Hiroto Kobukata
Fukuoka Softbank Hawks
Rakuten Golden Eagles
36
Walks Yusuke Ohyama Hanshin Tigers 99 Kensuke Kondoh Fukuoka Softbank Hawks 109

Pitching[edit]

Statistic Central League Pacific League
Leader Team Number Leader Team Number
ERA Shoki Murakami Hanshin Tigers 1.75 Yoshinobu Yamamoto Orix Buffaloes 1.21
Wins Katsuki Azuma Yokohama BayStars 16 Yoshinobu Yamamoto Orix Buffaloes 16
Winning Percentage Katsuki Azuma Yokohama BayStars .842 Yoshinobu Yamamoto Orix Buffaloes .727
Losses Hideaki Wakui Chunichi Dragons 13 Masahiro Tanaka Rakuten Golden Eagles 11
Saves Suguru Iwazaki Hanshin Tigers 35 Yuki Matsui Rakuten Golden Eagles 39
Innings Pitched Aren Kuri Hiroshima Carp 174 1/3 Naoyuki Uwasawa Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 170
Appearances Sotaro Shimauchi Hiroshima Carp 62 Yuki Matsui Rakuten Golden Eagles 59
Hits Allowed Shinnosuke Ogasawara Chunichi Dragons 153 Takayuki Kato Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters 162
Home Runs Allowed Keiji Takahashi Yakult Swallows 20 Shuta Ishikawa
Masahiro Tanaka
Fukuoka Softbank Hawks
Rakuten Golden Eagles
15
Strikeouts Shota Imanaga Yakult Swallows 174 Yoshinobu Yamamoto Orix Buffaloes 169
Base-on-Balls Hiroto Takahashi Chunichi Dragons 51 Shuta Ishikawa
Tatsuya Imai
Softbank Hawks
Saitama Seibu Lions
61

Award Winners[edit]

The winner of the 2023 Sawamura Award was Yoshinobu Yamamoto of the Orix Buffaloes, the first player to win three in a row since Masaichi Kaneda (1956-1958). He had a 16-6 win-loss record, 169 strikeouts, and a 1.21 ERA in 164 innings, leading the PL in ERA, wins and strikeouts.

Best Nine[edit]

The following players were part of the 2023 Best Nine teams.

Central League Position Pacific League
Player Team Player Team
Katsuki Azuma Yokohama BayStars P Yoshinobu Yamamoto Orix Buffaloes
Takumi Oshiro Yomiuri Giants C Tomoya Mori Orix Buffaloes
Yusuke Ohyama Hanshin Tigers 1B Yuma Tongu Orix Buffaloes
Shugo Maki Yokohama BayStars 2B Hideto Asamura Rakuten Golden Eagles
Toshiro Miyazaki Yokohama BayStars 3B Yuma Mune Orix Buffaloes
Seiya Kinami Hanshin Tigers SS Kotaro Kurebayashi Orix Buffaloes
Koji Chikamoto Hanshin Tigers OF Yuki Yanagita Softbank Hawks
Ryoma Nishikawa Hiroshima Carp Chusei Mannami Nippon Ham Fighters
Yuki Okabayashi Chunichi Dragons Kensuke Kondo Softbank Hawks
DH Gregory Polanco Chiba Lotte Marines


Gold Gloves[edit]

The following players were the recipients of the Gold Glove Award in 2023.

Central League Position Pacific League
Player Team Player Team
Katsuki Azuma Yokohama BayStars P Yoshinobu Yamamoto Orix Buffaloes
Seishiro Sakamoto Hanshin Tigers C Kenya Wakatsuki Orix Buffaloes
Yusuke Ohyama Hanshin Tigers 1B Akira Nakamura Softbank Hawks
Takumu Nakano Hanshin Tigers 2B Shogo Nakamura Chiba Lotte Marines
Toshiro Miyazaki Yokohama BayStars 3B Yuma Mune Orix Buffaloes
Seiya Kinami Hanshin Tigers SS Sosuke Genda Seibu Lions
Yuki Okabayashi Chunichi Dragons OF Chusei Mannami Nippon Ham Fighters
Koji Chikamoto Hanshin Tigers Kensuke Kondoh Softbank Hawks
Masayuki Kuwahara Yokohama BayStars Ryosuke Tatsumi Rakuten Golden Eagles

All-Star Game[edit]

The NPB All-Star Game featured two games and both were won by the Pacific League. The first game was played at Nagoya Dome and was won by the PL, 8 - 1. The second game was played at Mazda Stadium and was won by the PL, 6 - 1.

High School Baseball[edit]

The 105th National High School Baseball Championship featured a total of 3,486 schools competing for 49 spots in the finals at Koshien. In the championship game, Keio High School (Kanagawa) defeated Sendai Ikuei High School (Miyagi) by a score of 8 - 2.

The 95th National High School Baseball Invitational Tournament featured 32 schools competing in the tournament at Koshien. In the championship game, Yamanashi Gakuin High School (Yamanashi) defeated Hotoku Gakuen High School (Hyogo) by a score of 7 - 3.

University Baseball[edit]

All-Japan University Baseball Championship Series[edit]

The 2023 All-Japan University Baseball Championship Series featured 27 schools competing in the tournament at Meiji-Jingu Stadium. In the championship game Aoyama Gakuin University defeated Meiji University by a score of 4 - 0.

Meiji Jingu Baseball Convention[edit]

In the Meiji Jingu Baseball Convention Keio University defeated Aoyama Gakuin University by a score of 2 - 0.

Tokyo Big6 Baseball League[edit]

Season First Second Third Fourth Fifth Sixth
Spring Meiji Hosei Keio Waseda Rikkio Tokyo
Fall Keio Waseda Meiji Hosei Rikkio Tokyo

Tohto University Base Ball League[edit]

Season League First Second Third Fourth Fifth Sixth
Spring 1 Aoyama Gakuin Nihon Asia Kokugakuin Chuo Komazawa
2 Toyo Takushoku Kokushikan Rissho Senshu Tokyo Agriculture
3 Taisho Teikyo Heisei Gakushuin Seikei Juntendo Hitotsubashi
4 Sophia Shibaura Tokyo Tech Tokyo City
Fall 1 Aoyama Gakuin Nihon Chuo Asia Kokugakuin Toyo
2 Komazawa Senshu Kokushikan Takushoku Rissho Taisho
3 Teikyo Heisei Tokyo Agriculture Seikei Juntendo Gakushuin Hitotsubashi
4 Sophia Tokyo City Shibaura Tokyo Tech

Kansai 6 University Baseball League[edit]

Season First Second Third Fourth Fifth Sixth
Spring Kindai Kansai Ritsumeikan Doshisha Kwansei Gakuin Kyoto
Fall Kansai Kindai Ritsumeikan Doshisha Kwansei Gakuin Kyoto

International Baseball[edit]

In the 2023 World Baseball Classic, the Japanese national baseball team won a Gold Medal, defeating the United States in the finals. At the 2022 Asian Games in China, the Japanese national baseball team won a bronze medal. They then won Gold in the 2023 Asian Championship.

Japanese Players in Other Countries[edit]

Italics indicate a Major League appearance

Hall of Fame[edit]

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

Japanese Baseball Seasons

Pre-Professional Era
1800s · 1900s · 1910s
Early Professional Era
1920 · 1921 · 1922 · 1923 · 1924 · 1925 · 1926 · 1927 · 1928 · 1929
1930 · 1931 · 1932 · 1933 · 1934 · 1935
One League Era
1936 · 1937 · 1938 · 1939
1940 · 1941 · 1942 · 1943 · 1944 · 1945 · 1946 · 1947 · 1948 · 1949
Two League Era
1950 · 1951 · 1952 · 1953 · 1954 · 1955 · 1956 · 1957 · 1958 · 1959
1960 · 1961 · 1962 · 1963 · 1964 · 1965 · 1966 · 1967 · 1968 · 1969
1970 · 1971 · 1972 · 1973 · 1974 · 1975 · 1976 · 1977 · 1978 · 1979
1980 · 1981 · 1982 · 1983 · 1984 · 1985 · 1986 · 1987 · 1988 · 1989
1990 · 1991 · 1992 · 1993 · 1994 · 1995 · 1996 · 1997 · 1998 · 1999
2000 · 2001 · 2002 · 2003 · 2004 · 2005 · 2006 · 2007 · 2008 · 2009
2010 · 2011 · 2012 · 2013 · 2014 · 2015 · 2016 · 2017 · 2018 · 2019
2020 · 2021 · 2022 · 2023