Kazuma Okamoto, 27, the No. 4 hitter for the Yomiuri Giants, hit nine home runs in six games from last week to early this week. It’s a record that even the world’s home run king, Sadaharu Oh (Wang Chung-current chairman of the SoftBank Hawks), hasn’t accomplished. He hit his 28th, 29th, and 30th home runs of the season against the Hiroshima Carp on April 6. It’s the sixth straight year he’s hit over 30 home runs. As of Dec. 12, he leads the Central League in home runs with 31.
Yakult Swallows’ “monster” Munetaka Murakami (23) started the chase with a home run in three straight games, but he has 22. Okamoto has a comfortable lead of nine.
Okamoto led the league in home runs and RBIs for the second straight year in 2020 and 2021. He hit 31 homers and 97 RBIs in 2020 and 39 homers and 113 RBIs in 2021. Last season, he was overwhelmed by the momentum of Murakami, who won the batting title, but this year is a different story. For the first time in two years, he is looking to return to the home run and RBI crowns.
However, the overwhelming home run leader, Okamoto, is not the RBI leader. If you lead the league in home runs, you should be leading in RBIs, but there’s a dark horse. It’s Yokohama BayStars No. 4 hitter Shugo Maki (25).
Maki batted fourth and second against Yomiuri at the Tokyo Dome on Dec. 12. His first two at-bats were against Yomiuri left-hander Iori Yamasaki. He led off the second and fourth innings and struck out in consecutive at-bats.
His third at-bat in the seventh inning was different. With the bases loaded, he stepped up to a fastball and pulled a 138-kilometer-per-hour forkball down in the strike zone, sending it into the stands in left field of the Tokyo Dome. It was his 20th home run of the season, coming from 0-3. Yokohama, which managed just three hits, fell to 1-5. Maki’s home run saved them from a shutout.
It was Maki’s 73rd RBI of the season. He passed Okamoto, who has 72, for the top spot on the RBI list. The previous day (Nov. 11) against Yomiuri, Maki took advantage of a fastball for his 19th two-run homer of the season.
Before Okamoto’s home run surge, Maki led the team in RBIs. He has 11 fewer home runs than Okamoto, but one more RBI. He was strong enough in scoring chances to offset his lack of home runs.
Maki was 34-for-96 with runners in scoring position this season, going 3-for-5. That’s more than six points higher than his season average of 2-for-9. Okamoto, on the other hand, is just 21-for-93, 2.2-for-6.
He consistently capitalized on scoring opportunities. He has a six-game hitting streak dating back to Aug. 6 against the Hanshin Tigers. He has 11 RBI in that span.
Maki, a second-round draft pick out of Chuo University, made his debut in 2021. August 22, 2021
Home runs, and 24 in 2022. He became the sixth player in Nippon Professional Baseball history to hit over 20 home runs in three consecutive seasons. He’s on pace to reach 30 this year.바카라사이트
Maki was the starting second baseman for Japan’s World Baseball Classic (WBC) team. With Yakult’s veteran second baseman, Tetsuto Yamada, 31, suffering from a severe batting slump, he naturally took over the role.