• Baseball

Hanshin Tigers Hurler Shoki Murakami Is surprise Central League MVP; Yoshinobu Yamamoto Wins 3rd Straight In Pacific

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Central League MVP Shoki Murakami, left, of the Hanshin Tigers and Pacific League MVP Yoshinobu Yamamoto of the Orix Buffaloes

Hanshin Tigers hurler Shoki Murakami collected both the MVP and Rookie of the Year honors in the Central League at the Nippon Professional Baseball Awards event on Tuesday night in Tokyo.

The 25-year-old is the third player to win both honors in the same year and the first in the CL. Right-hander Hideo Nomo of the Kintetsu Buffaloes was the last player to do it, taking both awards in the Pacific League in 1990.

In the PL, Orix Buffaloes right-handed ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto, 25, was named the MVP for the third consecutive year, while teammate and fellow right-hander Shumpeita Yamashita, 21, earned the award as the top rookie.

Murakami, a third-year right-hander, posted a league-leading ERA of 1.75, and was a major contributor as Hanshin captured its first CL title in 18 years.

“I figured I had a bit of a chance to win the Rookie of the Year award, but I thought another guy would be the MVP, so wow, I’m totally shocked,” Murakami said.

“I’m very honored.”