Aoki’s dismal May numbers

While D’Antona and Guiel have been scapegoated by the team, on-air commentators, and media as the main reason why the birds weren’t winning, I had a creeping suspicion that others in the lineup were equally deserving of criticism.

And even though I had no numbers to back up my suspicions, I couldn’t help but notice that Aoki wasn’t getting on base as often as he did in April.

After some simple addition and division, I discovered that my intuitions were correct–Aoki did very little at the plate during the month of May.

Exhibit A: Aoki’s batting average after the game April 30th against Yokohama was .351, but after today’s loss to the Orix Buffaloes, it’s down to .297.

Tokyo’s center fielder had 79 official at-bats in May and managed only 17 hits for a one month batting average of .215, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Add in his nine walks (one intentional) and the two times he was hit by a pitch (28 times on base in 90 plate appearances), and an OBP of only .311 is revealed.

And Aoki didn’t impress in the power department either. His 14 singles, two doubles, and one home run (solo) give him a .278 slugging percentage. Ouch.

So while the Tokyo Swallows continue to loudly discuss plans to bring in another non-Japanese bat, the numbers just provided show that even the team’s best hitter had an off month. An OBP of .311 is pedestrian for most players and absolutely horrible by Aoki’s standards.

Aoki's May numbers were reminiscent of the beginning of last season.

If the first third of the lineup isn’t getting on base very often (and Fukuchi definitely deserves some criticism here as well), then there’s probably a fair chance that D’Antona and Guiel won’t be seeing many good pitches to swing at–especially when you look at the fact that the post-cleanup threesome of Miyamoto, Fujimoto and Aikawa didn’t exactly strike fear into the hearts of opposing pitchers this past month either.

In the end, the whole team stunk it up at the plate in May. The funk from the locker room (for which Takada was partly to blame) followed the players onto the field, and nearly everyone was affected by it.

Now that the management has changed, hopefully the guys can start fresh and get up into 4th place by the end of July.

That, of course, will be greatly aided by more complete and consistent contributions from all of the hitters in the lineup.

About Christopher Pellegrini

Christopher is a budding sabermetrician and long-time supporter of Tokyo's more lovable team, the Swallows. He has publicly volunteered, several times, that he plans to buy the team at some point in the future. When he finally runs the joint, it is likely that he will fine any player who swings at the first pitch or sac bunts (unless it's a pitcher, of course). Follow him on Twitter: @chrispellegrini