Returning to the top of the salary list after four years… Class B for the second year in a row, with a win ratio of 4 to 1. Crisis Yomiuri, with a total of 13.5 billion yen and three key hitters missing regulation at-bats.
According to the 2023 salary survey released by the Nippon Professional Baseball Players Association on April 24, the average annual salary of the 714 registered players (excluding foreign players) in both the Central and Pacific Leagues is 44.69 million yen (about $410 million). This is almost three times higher than the average annual salary of KBO players, which is 146.48 million won.
One thing stood out. The Yomiuri Giants returned to the top of the average salary list after a four-year absence. At 680.7 million yen (about $675 million), they dethroned SoftBank, which had held the top spot for three consecutive years.
SoftBank, which has been aggressively investing in top players, fell to 67.63 million yen from 70.02 million yen in 2022.
That was nearly three times more than the Nippon Ham Fighters (23.69 million yen), who finished last among the 12 teams.
The 2022 Japan Series champion Oryx Buffaloes had 34.85 million yen, and the 2021 Japan Series champion and last year’s runner-up Yakult Swallows had 47.97 million yen.
Salaries don’t always translate into results. Just like last year, this year is no different.
As of the 21st, they have 53 wins, 1 tie, and 54 losses, with a winning percentage of 4.095. Yomiuri lost two in a row to Hiroshima Carp on Sept. 19 and 20, sending their odds to 5%. They are in fourth place in the Central League, 1.5 games behind the third-place Yokohama BayStars. They are 12.5 games behind the first-place Hanshin Tigers and 5.5 games behind second-place Hiroshima.
The Orix, who make half the average annual salary of the Yomiuri, are on pace for their third straight Pacific League title. They have 63 wins, three ties, and 40 losses, with a winning percentage of 6.01-1.02.
They have 35 games left. At this rate, they’ll finish in Class B (4th-6th out of 6 teams) for the second year in a row, and fourth-place for the third year in a row. Last season, they won 68 games, drew 72 and lost 4.8 points. They finished fourth, a half-game behind Hanshin, and failed to advance to the best-of-three climactic series.
It will be difficult to rebound if their main hitters and highest-paid players, Hayato Sakamoto (35), Yoshihiro Maru (34), and Sho Nakata (34), are unavailable for the rest of the season.
All three have a history of being sidelined by injury. Not enough plate appearances. In their mid-30s, their presence has diminished due to the effects of injuries.
Sakamoto, a longtime Yomiuri representative, batted .287 (82-for-82) with 14 home runs, 38 RBIs, and a 2.339 slugging percentage in 83 games. He struggled mightily at the start of the season before gradually picking up the pace. Even if it’s better than last year, when he had his worst year since becoming a regular, it’s still below his ceiling.
Sakamoto went 0-for-5 in a three-game series against Hiroshima last weekend. He pinch-hit on the 19th and 20th and struck out in both at-bats.
Sakamoto is the third highest paid player in Nippon Professional Baseball this season, behind Yoshinobu Yamamoto (Orix – 650 million yen) and Yuto Yanagita (Softbank – 120 million yen). It’s the same salary as “Monster” Munetaka Murakami (Yakult).
Maru hit .284 (67-for-67) with 11 home runs and 29 RBIs in 87 games, while Nakata hit .242 (13-for-64) with 13 home runs and 31 RBIs in 82 games. Last year, Maru hit 27 homers and 65 RBIs, while Nakata hit 24 homers and 68 RBIs.온라인바카
Maru is 11th in salary this year, while Nakata is tied for 13th. Nakata re-signed for 150 million yen more than last season.
The player they are being compared to is high school senior Akihiro Yuto (21). In his first professional year in 2021, he appeared in one game.
After appearing in one game in his first year as a pro in 2021, he made the leap to a mainstay in his third year. In 90 games, he is hitting .319 (92-for-319) with 10 home runs and 37 RBIs. His salary this year is 6.39 million yen.