Yeah, I have lots of free time today. Continuing the Japanese baseball introduction, here’s a guide to the stars of Hanshin Tigers, 2008!

Mr.T doesn’t play for the Hanshin Tigers.

Top Players

Hanshin have a reputation for being dependent on their defensive game, and their pitchers play an important part in this. Star trio “JFK” make up the first-choice pitching line up.

The J is Jeff Williams ジェフウイリアムス
The F is Kyuji Fujikawa 藤川
The K is Tomoyuki Kubota 久保田

So far Kubota and Fujikawa have shared most of the pitching, pitching 13 and 11 innings respectively, with Watanabe close behind on 7. Jeff Williams is currently out injured, and has only pitched in one.

Top fielders include short-stop Toritani 鳥谷, and outfielder Kanemoto 金本, who is also scoring heavily this season with a 0.324 and four ”manrui”s, or home runs.

First choice catcher is Akihiro Yano 矢野

Offensively weak, Hanshin made the move to bolster their offense in the close season by swooping for Hiroshima star Takahiro Arai 新井. He is currently 0.299, and yesterday got his first homer of the season against Chunichi.

Many thanks to teachers at Seishi for patiently explaining the many stats associated with baseball- I still don’t get half of it, and it’s difficult enough when you watch the American leagues, let alone translating the kanji to English and then trying to understand it. People expect a certain levelof yakyu knowledge over here, and are always surprised when I tell them no baseball is played back home in good old Igirisu.

For stats (all in Japanese) see here

For a guide in English see here