Yesterday myworld listed the best offensive players, the aces and the top foreign players for each team in the Pacific League. Today we will go through the Central League, mired in mediocrity with only nine games separating the first and last place teams.
Yakult Swallows (49-46-1)
Top Offensive Player - Their top player is probably Wladimir Balentien, but he has been injured much of the year. Kazuhiro Hatakeyama (.283, 21, 75) leads the Central League in RBIs but the most consistent hitter is Tetsuto Yamada (.330, 24, 64). His 82 runs scored also leads the Central League. Combined, those two are making up for the loss of Balentien.
Ace - Tough to find an ace here. Yasuhiro Ogawa (6-6, 3.50) leads the team in innings pitched (100) and is tied for the team lead in wins. His 82 whiffs is also tops on the team.
Best Foreign Player - A three headed bullpen that controls the game after the sixth inning. Logan Ondrusek (4-2, 2.77, 19 holds) and Orlando Roman (2-1, 1.67, 21 holds) builds the bridge to closer Tony Barnette (1-0, 0.64, 27 saves).
Yomiuri Giants (50-47-1)
Top Offensive player - Last year Hisayoshi Chono (.245, 11, 35) but he has struggled this year. Shinnosuke Abe (.244, 9, 25) has seen age catch up to him. Hayato Sakamoto (.283, 8, 47) is having the best year of Giant hitters, leading the team in RBIs. No real superstar on this team identified as the Yankees of major league baseball.
Ace - Tomoyuki Sugano (8-6, 1.58) leads the Central League in ERA, giving him the edge over foreign pitchers Miles Mikolas (7-3, 2.10) and Aaron Poreda (6-5, 3.20).
Best Foreign Player - Miles Mikolas. Scott Mathieson (3-5, 2.21, 19 holds) has been a successful setup man for a number of years but a starter is more valuable.
Hanshin Tigers (48-46-1)
Top Offensive Player - Mauro Gomez (.278, 12, 48) and Matt Murton (.273, 5, 39) are having down years compared to their previous years. Takashi Toritani (.270, 4, 26) plays every day. The top player who is finally living up to his multi year contract is Kosuke Fukudome (.269, 15, 49). He has been the most productive this year.
Ace - Shintaro Fujinami (8-5, 2.79) has the best stuff on this staff, but the veteran Randy Messenger (7-8, 3.00) is the veteran presence. Fujinami (135) and Messenger (122) are 1/2 in strikeouts in the Central League.
Best Foreign Player - Randy Messenger.
Hiroshima Carp (43-48-1)
Top Offensive Player - No real dominating player. Yoshihiro Maru (.249, 12, 44) is the most productive hitter with 60 walks showing off his patience.
Ace - The major leagues ignored the free agency of Kenta Maeda (8-7, 2.42) but the Carp are glad to have him.
Best Foreign Player - Khris Johnson (8-5, 2.20) has better numbers than Maeda, but does not yet have the swag.
DeNA Yokohama Bay Stars (45-51-1)
Top Offensive Player - Yulieski Gouriel chose to stay in Cuba because of injury rather than honor his contract with the Bay Star team. Yoshitomo Tsutsugo (.321, 15, 63) leads the team in RBIs.
Ace -The Tigers lack an ace but Shoichi Ino (4-7, 3.15) is the only pitcher above 100 innings pitched (114.1)
Best Foreign Player - The Giants did not have any room for him so when he was released the Tigers signed him to a contract. Jose Lopez (.284, 16, 44) has become their best foreign player.
Chunichi Dragons (40-54-2)
Top Offensive Player - Hector Luna (.305, 7, 45) is struggling giving the nod to Yoshitomo Tsutsugo (.321, 15, 63).
Ace - Yudai Ono (9-6, 144.2) leads in innings pitched (144.2) and it is always impressive to have more wins than losses when playing for a last place team.
Best Foreign Player - Luna