Four major leaguers joined the Japanese team, which won the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) and solidified its No. 1 spot in the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) rankings.
The Japanese national team has four major leaguers. The main characters are Shohei Ohtani (LA Angels), Masataka Yoshida (Boston Red Sox), Yu Darvish (San Diego Padres), and Las Nutba (St. Louis Cardinals). Among them, considering that Nutba is Japanese-American, there were three pure Japanese big leaguers.
They played their part in karate and defense throughout the tournament, helping Japan reach the top of the WBC for the first time in 14 years since 2009, and returned to their team.
Those who had to lift their bodies about a month earlier than usual due to participating in the WBC did not have enough rest period, so there was concern about whether or not they were experiencing ‘WBC aftereffects’ at the beginning of the opening of the Major League Baseball (MLB).
In the case of Darvish, who skipped his team’s spring camp to participate in the WBC, he delayed the start of the season to adjust his condition.
However, other players are showing good form from the beginning.
Ohtani, who was picked as the starting pitcher for the Angels’ opening game for the second year in a row, pitched 6 innings against the Oakland Athletics on the 31st of last month (Korean time), giving up 2 hits, 3 walks, and 10 strikeouts.
Ohtani, who passed the ball to the bullpen in the top of the 7th inning with a 1-0 lead, met the requirements to be a winning pitcher, but the team ended up losing the match 1-2 and ended in a no-decision, but Ohtani’s pitching was brilliant.
His performance as a hitter is also great. Ohtani, who hit his first home run of the season against Oakland on the 3rd, immediately hit his second home run of the season against the Seattle Mariners on the 4th, recording home runs in two consecutive games.
Last year, Ohtani, who was ranked among the top players in the major leagues with 15 wins and 9 losses as a pitcher with an ERA of 2.35 and a batting average of 0.273 as a hitter with 34 home runs and 95 RBIs, is on the rise as the MVP of the WBC.
Next, he is determined to protect the pride of Japanese baseball with unchanging performance in his team.
Yoshida, who had won the Japan Series with the Orix Buffaloes in Japan last year, entered Japan with a five-year, $90 million (approximately 118.2 billion won) contract with Boston after the season.
Yoshida, who became the RBI kingpin in the WBC with a batting average of 0.409, 2 home runs and 13 RBIs, immediately took over as Boston’s No. 4 hitter and is proving his qualifications himself.
In the opening game against the Baltimore Orioles on the 31st of last month, he recorded 2 hits in 4 at-bats, 1 RBI and 1 run, and in the 3rd game against Baltimore on the 3rd, he contributed to the team’s 9-5 victory with 2 hits in 4 at-bats, 2 runs, 3 RBIs and 1 walk.
In addition to this, in the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on the 4th, he tasted his hand for the first time after advancing to the big leagues with a two-run home run in the first inning.
Yoshida’s outfield defense is considered to be somewhat weak, but if he continues his offensive power as he is now, he is expected to be able to solidify his starting position.
Meanwhile, Kodai Senga,먹튀검증 who left Japan’s Softbank Hawks and wore the New York Mets uniform earlier this year, also stood out in his MLB debut.
Senga left a regret by refusing to participate in the WBC because he wanted to concentrate on preparing for the season with his new team.
In his MLB debut against the Miami Marlins on the 3rd, Senga made a strong impression by winning his debut match after a good fight with 1 run in 5⅓ innings.