Taiwan Born Wu Leads Lions Surge in NPB

Myworld is looking at who’s hot in the NPB. One hitter who is hot is the Seibu Lions Nien-Ting Wu. He was born in Taiwan but went to high school in Japan. His dad played baseball in the Japanese Industrial League. As a high school player Wu was eligible for the draft and was picked in the seventh round. He does not count against the quota of foreign players.

The seventh round is near the last pick in the NPB draft. This is Wu’s fifth season with the Lions. In his first four seasons the most plate appearances he had was in his first year when he stepped to the plate 142 times. Last year he played in a career high 52 games, but that only resulted in 52 plate appearances. His best batting average was in 2017 when he hit .232. He had yet to hit any homeruns coming into the 2021 season.

Wu started the 2021 season in the minors. He is now earning his plate appearances now that he is with the big league club. In 17 at bats he is hitting .462 with a 1.077 slugging percentage. Most starters in the NPB have accumulated 40 at bats this early in the season. Wu has hit two homeruns and two doubles. What is even more impressive is he has driven in 9 runs. That is two off his career high, but more importantly, it is more RBIs than any other Lion player.

If you look at the leaders in the Pacific League, Wu is only one shy of Hisanori Yasuda for the RBI lead. Yasuda drove in nine of his 10 runs in two games over the weekend and we wrote a blog on his two games. Shogo Nakamura is leading the Pacific League in batting with a .433 average and is second in RBIs with 9, but he has 40 at bats, more than twice as many as Wu.

The Lions have been playing Wu at first base after they called him up on March 31 because of injuries. He hit a solo homerun in Sunday’s game to lead the Lions over the Hawks 4-2. In the game on Saturday Wu drove in five runs in the Lions 7-4 win over the Hawks, winning the MVP for the game. He strung together three hits and a walk in five at bats. He has driven in at least one run in the four games he has played.

The Lions swept the Hawks in three games they played over the weekend and are now 6-1-1, atop the Pacific League standings. They will need to find a permanent spot for Wu in the lineup to keep that streak going.

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