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Tigers season - batting and fielding

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Featuring Christopher Amano-Langtree (a.k.a. Christopher)

This blog will attempt to report on as many Hanshin Tigers games as possible. Games will be, if possible, reported the day after and on rare occasions the same day.

Tigers season - batting and fielding

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Mizutani proved to be just as ineffective as Kataoka and Tigers batting suffered. Once again poor selection of the foreign power hitter played a part but it was obvious that too much effort was concentrated on Fujii to the detriment of the main batters. Wada and Mizutani were desperate to turn Fujii into a batter to bolster his status as catcher. This was all very well and his batting was much improved but they neglected the real batters. Fujii was always going to be a No. 8 and all the efforts were counter productive as the important batters were neglected. Like the pitching the approach to batting could be said to have been clueless and Mizutani's depature can only be said to be a good thing. Tigers are in negotiations with O'Malley and have managed to bring Kakefu on board so one has hopes things will improve next season (O'Malley had great success with Imaoka in 2005). Of course the dismissal of Wada would also help but we are not that lucky.

0. Yamato Maeda
Av: .273, HR: 0, Runs: 21
Until he was hit on the hand during one of Wada's pointless bunts Yamato was having another excellent season. Once again aggressive with the bat and excellent in the field he was a real asset. He had 19 stolen bases as well and was using his speed nicely. Wada insisted on too many bunts which was wasting his talent.

1. Takeshi Toritani
Av: .282, HR: 10, RBI: 65
An improved season from Toritani. He stil failed to hit with runners on frequently and was a failure at No. 4. One wonders what Wada was thinking employing Toritani in that slot when he was clearly not a No. 4. batter. Despite the improved performance Toritani was still about 20 RBIs below his potential. His fielding was totally secure.

3. Kentaro Sekimoto
Av: .279, HR: 0, RBI: 5
Sekimoto was mainly used as a pinch hitter and suffered from the focus on Fujii. Still he did field third and second on occasion and was sound there. His pinch hitting skills were not impressive and he lacked the ability to make things happen

4. Hiroki Uemoto
Av: .254, HR: 2, RBI: 8
Much the same performance as the previous season but with considerably less games. This does indicate a big improvement but Uemoto is not in the same class as Yamato.

5. Ryo Asai
Av: .220, HR: 1, RBI: 5
Not so much in evidence and has been given his pink slip. This is a big mistake, Asai has the ability to make things happen and would have been an ideal replacement for Hiyama. Once again poor strategic understanding from Wada.

7. Tsuyoshi Nishioka
Av: .290, HR: 4, RBI: 44
Signed as he returned from MLB, Nishioka was a great success. Tigers management may well have expected more from him but his performance was in line with what one would expect from a good lead off. His one weakness was hitting in full base situations and his fielding at second was good. Tigers will probably transfer him to third for 2014 and he should be sound there.

8. Kosuke Fukudome
Av: .198, HR: 6, RBI: 31
Another big signing but one with a big question mark over him. He cannot be said to have quieted the questions. Fukudome spent a lot of the season out with various injuries; so much so that one thought that Tigers had wasted a lot of money. However, when he was fit he had the ability to hit when needed though not often enough. He needs to up his performance significantly next season but one can't see him doing that.

9. Matt Murton
Av: .314, HR: 19, RBI: 85
Murton had a far better season though he was mired in controversy at times. He played the game hard but fair and was a bit hard done by by incompetent umpires at times. Murton wasn't a No. 4, the position he batted at for a big portion of the season but worked hard and always gave 100%. It is possible that he will receive an offer from a MLB club and it will be a big loss for Tigers if he does go.

24. Shinjiro Hiyama
Av: .196, HR: 0, RBI: 13
Japan's premier pinch hitter Hiyama was supreme in the role. He hit when needed but unfortunately decided to call it a day at the end of this season. His retirement game produced Tigers biggest gate of the whole season - a testimony to Hiyama's popularity. A massive loss to the side, one wishes him well in whatever he does.

25. Takahiro Arai
Av: .267, HR: 15, RBI: 70
The question mark over Arai is this. Does the quiet season signify a fading player or an inability to get on with an incompetent batting coach? Wada had said at the beginning of the season that Arai was Tigers natural No. 4 but then Arai never held that position in 2013. Was it pique that caused his poor performance? Strictly speaking he was the only Tigers batter with the ability to occupy the No. 4 position and it wasn't recognised by the management. However, at times his performance was such that no one would put him in at No. 4.

31. Lin Weichu
Av: .000, HR: 0, RBI: 0
Tigers have released Lin and one can only think what a waste. An inability to find a role for him and an inability to use his talents. If ever there was an indictment of the uselessness of Tigers management this is it.

32. Ryota Arai
AV: .238, HR: 14, RBI: 51
A player with power and one that was mishandled. He would have benefited from more coaching and consistency but suffered from the Fujii focus. He hit with power but inconsistently and the inability of Wada to appreciate how to use power meant that he was frequently benched destroying any momentum he might have built up. Still when he hit he hit effectively.

33. Naoto Nishida
Av. .000, HR: 0, RBI: 0
Appeared in one game - didn't do anything.

35. Katsuhiko Saka
Av: ,229, HR: 2, RBI: 20
Saka made a lot of appearances this season and can be said to have done well. He was mainly used as a replacement second and possessed the ability to drive in runs at a useful time. Still Tigers need more than he is able to deliver.

37. Takeshi Hidaka
Av: .289, HR: 2, RBI: 7
Signed from Orix as a potential replacement for Fujii there was a reason that Orix were so happy to let him go. Hidaka was rubbish. Totally out of his depth in all aspects of the game particularly with the relief he was a real shame behind the plate. In fact he made Fujii look good (which is a difficult achievement). Tigers will benefit from keeping him as far away from the first team as possible next season.

38. Haruki Kurose
Av: .231, HR: 0, RBI: 0
Once again used mainly as a pinch runner though with more success this season. Though 15 games does not signify a player vital to Tigers strategy.

39. Shinji Komiyama
Av: .167, HR: 0, RBI: 0
Komiyama did not fit in with Wada's prejudices and was left out of the side. Like Kanoh, Tigers most brilliant catcher was sidelined to be replaced by poor non-entities. Komiyama when he did play showed brilliance and innovation something Tigers coaching could not stomach. Tigers really do need to do something about their catching.

42. Brooks Conrad
Av: .175, HR: 0, RBI: 0
Tigers latest American power hitter he was a complete failure. This according to American observers was predictable and one wonders what level of incompetence was required to sign him. Whatever the level Tigers possessed it in abundance.

45. Takashi Shimizu
Av: .229, HR: 0, RBI: 3
I mentioned him last season as a reserve catcher who didn't play much. This season he was used much more as much so that he wouldn't embarass Hidaka or Fujii with his ability. Shimizu though conventional outshone both. His throwing out of hand really was superior to Fujii's and he handled the relief far better than the abysmal Hidaka. Tigers ideal catching team would be Komiyama and Shimizu.

49. Ryota Imanari
Av: .265, HR: 1, RBI: 17
Despite his 17 RBIs a complete waste of space included because he is an effective brown noser. He made significant and lazy mistakes at right and he batted ahead of Ryota Arai - go figure. Wada seems to like him but his position in the lineup (5 or 6) isn't justified by his ability.

50. Akihito Fujii
Av: .258, HR: 1, RBI: 24
Improved batting which however did not make up for the main batters failing. Behind the plate Fujii was dismal and as a catcher has to be judged a failure. His manufactured fan club was not in evidence this year and against the BayStars he was an embarrassment. Throwing out of hand was ridiculous and calling was wasteful and predictable. This is a second rate catcher for a second rate team but not for a first rate team like the Tigers.

51. Hayata Itoh
Av: .145, HR: 1, RBI: 4
A few more games but no real improvement in his performance.

58. Fumiya Araki
Av: .000, HR: 0, RBI: 0
Used as a pinch runner and scored 4 runs - that is all that there is to be said.

61. Kenichi Tagami
Av: .286, HR: 0, RBI: 0
A good performance and good batting average but no runs. Tagami was used as a pinch runner mostly and would have done well if the other batters had been able to hit.

62. Hisashi Takayama
Av: .250, HR: 2, RBI: 3
Traded for Kawasaki in May, Tigers hoped he would add power. This indeed seemed to be the case in May during the interleague when he hit two home runs but these were more due to luck than design. Takayama faded drastically and disappeared into the place he belonged - ni-gun. It was indeed a pointless trade.

65. Ryosuke Ogata
Av: .000, HR: 0, RBI: 0
Appeared at the end of the season and made no impression.

67. Masahara Nohara
Av: .000, HR: 0, RBI: 0
No impact whatsoever in the eight games he appeared in.

68. Shunsuke Fujikawa
Av: .292, HR: 0, RBI: 9
Shunsuke did well given his limitations (replacement not starting fielder). His perennial issue that of trouble near the boundaries of the ground was much better and he had matured into a respectable outfielder. More work and he could be a good centre.

69. Issei Morita
Av: .211, HR: 0, RBI: 2
Morita didn't really make as much impact as he did last season. That was negligible and the same applied this season.

99 Keisuke Kanoh
Av. .200, HR: 0 RBI: 0
Once again Kanoh made his appearance in the outfield but once again he was totally uncommitted. This is not a good way to treat a player.

00. Kohei Shibata
Av: .229, HR: 1, RBI: 5
Shibata returned late in the season without adding anything to the side.

The following players were let go at the end of the season Outfielders: Ryo Asai (8), Wei-Chu Lin (31), Infielder: Masashi Nohara (67), Catcher: Ryohei Hashimoto (66) Ikusei: Yusuke Kuroda (121), Kosei Fujii (125), Masaki Anada (127),
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