Yakult Swallows Murakami Munetaka, 23, has suffered the humiliation of being ranked near the bottom of the All-Star midterm poll.
Japanese media outlet SporNichi Annex reported on April 22, “The first interim announcement of the All-Star Game fan vote was made. Hanshin had a Central League-high five players on the first team, but three clubs – Yakult, Junichi and Rakuten – did not have a single player in the starting lineup.”
Yakult, which won the Central League title last season, did not receive a single first-place vote in the midterm poll. It’s especially shocking that Murakami, who won the Triple Crown last season after batting .301 (155-for-487) with 56 home runs, 134 RBIs and a 1.168 OPS in 141 games, broke the record for most home runs by a Japanese player.
Murakami is just 2-for-7 (30-for-145) with seven home runs, 24 RBIs and a .734 OPS in 41 games this season. He struggled in April, batting 1-for-52 (12-for-79) with one home run, 10 RBI, and a .541 OPS in 24 games. While he has gradually improved in May, his All-Star balloting reflects his April slump.
“Murakami, last year’s third-place finisher, also struggled in April, batting just 2-for-7, and finished fourth among third basemen with 9316 votes. He finished behind Toshiro Miyazaki (Yokohama), Teruaki Sato (Hanshin), and Kazuma Okamoto (Yomiuri).”
On the other hand, Roki Sasaki (Chiba Lotte), who pitched a perfect game last season and emerged as the league’s top ace, topped the Central League starting pitching list. Sasaki is 3-0 with a 0.84 ERA in five games (32 innings) this season 먹튀검증.