2008 Central League All-Star Voting

The results from the first two stages of All-Star voting have been announced, but how many of Tokyo’s players made the cut?

Well, not many. So far anyway. The first two stages of voting are the usual fan votes, which determine the starters in each position for the opening game, and this year for the first time, player votes. Players from both the top and farm teams get to select another player for each position.

So first let’s have a look at how the fans voted:

Starting Pitcher: Two Tokyo players featured in the top 10. Ishikawa at No.6 with 109,781 votes, and youngster Muranaka at No.10 with 44,107. The No.1 vote-getter was Hiroshima’s Ken Takahashi with 168,136.

Middle Relief: A good showing here, and deservedly so, with Oshimoto coming in at No.2 with 224,184, just behind Hanshin’s Kubota in No.1 with 245,127.

Closer: Lim Chang-Yong came in at No.4 with 159,793 votes. Respectable enough and ahead of Chunichi’s Iwase, but behind Nagakawa (Carp), Kroon (Yomiuri) and No.1 Hanshin’s Fujikawa who scooped 327,710 votes. Fujikawa was way ahead of the other competitors in this category (who all got around the same amount of votes), and deservedly so.

Catcher: Unsuprisingly, there was no Yakult representation in the top 5, won by piggy-faced Yomiuri man Shinnosuke Abe with 284,167 votes from his orange piggy disciples.

1st Base: Again, no Tokyo players here (I mean how could they have overlooked Riggs??!!?) and the category was deservedly won by stolen Carp new Tiger Arai with a hefty 327,681 votes. I’d like to think that if Hatakeyama had been playing since April he may have made the top 3 or 4 at least.

2nd Base: Hiroyasu Tanaka made No.4 with 155,191. No.1 was Hiroshima’s Higashide with 279,873 votes, who has been red-hot this year to be fair.

3rd Base: A bit of a strange one here, with Keizo Kawashima picking up No.4 with 175,376 votes. Pretty good considering he hasn’t really been a regular at that position, but hey, with our gap in this position (before Wilson came along) I guess he was the obvious choice to put on the ballot. I suspect it was a fair few Nippon Ham fans voting for him too, as I believe he was fairly popular with the Hokkaido faithful. This category was won by Yokohama’s Murata who bagged 292,795 votes.

Shortstop: Shinya Miyamoto came in at No.3 with 211,295 votes. But No.1 was Yomiuri youngster Sakamoto with 237,055.

Outfielders: Only one Yakult representative here, but it was the one that matters, Norichika Aoki pulling in a whopping 343,453 votes to take the No.1 position. This was the highest vote haul of any CL player, and in fact the 3rd highest across both leagues, behind Swallows oldboy and current Fighter Atsunori Inaba with 366,636, and Seibu’s GG Sato with 367,837. Of course none of this is surprising as Aoki is the real-deal, and I’d wager, the best Japanese position player currently in the NPB. The No.2 and No.3 picks were Hiroshima’s Maeda and Hanshin’s Kanemoto. I am somewhat surprised that Aoki beat Tigers golden-boy Kanemoto given the sheer infestation of Hanshin fans in Japan, but I guess that just illustrates how popular and well-known Aoki has become.

So, from fan voting, Aoki is the only Tokyo representative in the CL starting nine:

SP: Takahashi (HC)

MR: Kubota (HT)

Clo: Fujikawa (HT)

C: Abe (YG)

1B: Arai (HT)

2B: Higashide (HC)

3B: Murata (YB)

SS: Sakamoto (YG)

OF: Aoki (TYS)

OF:Maeda (HC)

OF:Kanemoto (HT)

This lineup doesn’t look too shabby, especially considering fan voting is notoriously random in its selections (for example, eight of 2007’s twelve PL fan selections were filled by Rakuten players. How many did they get this year? You guessed it – zero). Aoki’s position is justified, and sure, I think Oshimoto should have gotten the nod over Kubota, and Miyamoto over Sakamoto, and two of the three Carp picks are dubious, and why are there no Chunichi players and….and….. and……I’m wasting my breath here – this is fan voting after all.

Now for the player voting, which adds up to another 9 players to the all-star roster (only one space for pitcher for the players). The additional picks are:

P: Lewis (HC)

C: Abe (YG)*
1B: Woods (CD)
2B: Araki (CD)
3B: Murata (YB)*
SS: Ibata (CD)
OF: Kanemoto (HT)* OF: Aoki (TYS)* OF: Ramirez (YG)

As you can see, 4 of the players’ picks had already been selected by the fans (marked with a *), so they only effectively added 5 players to the roster. Good to see Chunichi now represented and if there’s anyone who deserves a place it’s Ramirez given the year he’s having.

The only Swallows players to remotely bother this list were Tanaka, who came in a distant No.2 for 2nd base, and Miyamoto, who came in a slightly less distant No.2 for shortstop. And of course Aoki, but he was already selected by the fans.

So with the first two stages over, all we are waiting for now is for the manager’s picks, which will see the final roster positions filled. This is where sense will prevail and I fully expect to see Miyamoto, Tanaka, Ishikawa and Oshimoto added to the roster. And I hold out hope that Lim may make it too.

Just for the record, my CL All-Star lineup would be something like:

SP: Kawakami (CD)
MR: Oshimoto (TYS)
Clo: Fujikawa (HT)

C: Kawamoto (TYS) – Well, I had to put one blatantly bias pick in there now didn’t I. And Abe’s coming nowhere near my team!

1B: Arai (HT)
2B: Higashide (HC)
3B: Murata (YB)
SS: Miyamoto (TYS)
OF: Aoki (TYS)
OF: Ramirez (YG) (Ouch… That hurt.)
OF: Kanemoto (HT)

Not too different from the fans’ and players’ picks after all. . .
(Post edited to correct my mistake with the players’ picks. They get up to 9 selections, but if the fans had already picked the same player for that position, then the next most popular pick is not selected in their place.

About David Watkins

David is a baseball bothering Brummie who spends a fair portion of his life fretting over the Tokyo Swallows and the WORLD'S GREATEST FOOTBALL TEAM, Aston Villa. He completes the quartet of abusive sporting relationships by being a die hard New York Knicks and Mets fan. You can find him on twitter: @yakulto

  • Spiegel

    Brother, we get it. The Giants are evil. Stop blacking out every Giants item (or go black and white so we can see them or something. (I like the insults, though.)

    Anyway, Hanshin are the bigger pricks. And black and yellow? Yuck. Ugly.

    I find it interesting that no foreigner made the fan list, but three made the player list. 2 won the player vote!

  • Point taken, Spiegel, but trust us, you don’t want to see Abe’s mug clearly. Besides, this is a family site – we want kids to be able to freely roam the site without their parents having to worry.