Sunday, August 7, 2022

Card Of The Week August 7

On Thursday. Lions third baseman Takeya Nakamura pretty much single handedly beat the Orix Buffaloes.  Nakamura had a two run home run in the fourth inning to start off the scoring.  The Buffaloes tied the game with two runs in the fifth and the game remained tied until the bottom of the ninth when Nakamura came up and did this:

It was the 448th home run of Nakamura's career.  

Nakamura is probably my favorite NPB player and I had identified him some years back as being the NPB player most likely to reach 500 home runs.  Unfortunately I no longer think he's going to make it.  He's having a horrible season this year, hitting under .200 with only six home runs.  He's only played in about two thirds of the team's games - frankly I'm surprised he's played in that many games considering how poor his performance has been.  He'll be 39 on the 15th of this month and he's never been someone who's been in particularly good shape so I wouldn't be surprised if he and the Lions decide this will be his last season.

Munetaka Murakami would seem to be the obvious choice to replace Nakamura as the most likely player to reach 500 home runs in NPB, especially since he's only 22 and already has 143 but there's a problem - he's likely to spend some part of his career in MLB.   I think that the most likely player is probably Murakami's teammate Tetsuto Yamada.  He's got 265 home runs, has just turned 30 and I believe has pretty much decided he's not going to MLB.  If he can stay healthy and keep playing his home games in Jingu, he's probably got the best shot of anyone to be the first 500 home run hitting in NPB since Kazuhiro Kiyohara.  Kazuma Okamoto of the Giants is someone else to keep an eye on - the 26 year old has 157 home runs - as is Hotoka Yamakawa of the Lions.  The big thing with Yamakawa is that while he has 210 home runs, he's actually a year older than Yamada.

Here's a card celebrating Nakamura's 400th career home run back in 2019:

2019 Epoch One #401/SL-049

1 comment:

Sean said...

It would be nice to see him reach 500 but yeah, it does seem like a long shot at this point.