Murakami Munetaka (23, Yakult Swallows), who set a new record of 56 home runs in a single season for Japanese last year, is sluggish in the regular season of the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) following the World Baseball Classic (WBC).
Murakami played in the game against the Hanshin Tigers held at Koshien Stadium in Japan on the 10th and went 0-4 at bat. The season’s batting average fell to 0.193. It is the lowest in batting among 30 players who have filled the Central League regulation plate. The 29th place in the batting category is Hiroshima Toyo Carp foreign hitter Matt Davidson (0.200), and Murakami is the only one with a batting average of 10%.
Murakami created a sensation on the Japanese stage last year, five years after joining the club. He added home runs at an incredible pace, eventually setting a Japanese record of 56 home runs in a single season. He led his team Yakult to the Central League championship by winning the youngest triple crown in Japanese professional baseball (batting average, RBI, home run 1st place). He became the youngest player to hit 100 and 150 home runs in the NPB, and even hit five home runs in a row last year. He was undeservedly selected as the unanimous Most Valuable Player (MVP).
With great expectations, he was selected for the 2023 WBC national team. However, he played sluggishly as the No. 4 hitter for ‘Samurai Japan’. He eventually gave up the batting order to No. 4 to Masataka Yoshida (Boston Red Sox), and fell to No. 5 or 6. He had a batting average of just 0.231 in seven games in the contest, with only one home run.
Murakami’s slump is even more extreme after the opening of the Japanese professional baseball league.
Murakami recorded a batting average of 10% for the season for three weeks from April 16th to the last 8th, during the opening half-week period. His batting average even dropped to the 1/4 range. On the 9th, he scored 1 hit in 3 at-bats against Hanshin, raising his batting average to 0.200, but fell to the 10% level again after a day.안전놀이터
Murakami also had good long-running power last year, but he also had his contact ability to the extent that he ranked first in batting average (0.318).
He only had 4 homers and 18 RBIs in 31 games this season. His slugging percentage dropped from 0.710 last year to 0.349 this year, and his on-base percentage plummeted from 0.458 to 0.346.
Last year’s winning team, Yakult, also finished 4th in the Central League with 15 wins and 16 losses and an odds ratio of 0.484 (0.576 last year) amid sluggish central hitters.