The season starts this Friday – Hamu @ Lotte in a sold-out Q, Wakui vs Otani (the Younger), all teams with a clean slate. Yup, time for some predictions!
Everybody’s calling Softbank to win it all for the third year in a row, everybody’s also calling Rakuten to be terrible again. Of course we are biased at We Love Marines, but who do we got?
Daiei Hawks (Or Vodafone, or whatever they are called these days)
Oh suuuuure Steve, go with the trendy pick. But it’s hard to see how Daiei finishes out of the top two, and that’s being generous to the rest of the PL.
You say “HOMER!!!” but I say “Yes, indeed, but I am not crazy here.”
The position players are more of a question mark, but that’s mostly due to youth – the talent is there. The middle of the lineup could be very special should the newcomers pan out. We get a healthy, well-rested Despa in the heart of the order, an outfield all in their peak years, a very talented second baseman with great range and a bat full of promise, a young first baseman who looks ready to do some damage at the plate (and is greatly improved in the field), and a young catcher who’s making a name as Someone You Do NOT Run On.
Plenty of question marks for sure, but loads of potential if things go the right way. I think they will.
Hamu is competitive year in, year out these days, and they’ve got plenty of star power to finish in the top 3 in the PL. I would be very surprised if they did not, honestly.
Kuriyama-kantoku always seems to get more out of his squad than it seems should be possible. It’s hard for me to see how they won’t be highly competitive in the PL this season.
I like Orix, I think they have a lot of really really good players but not enough to push into A-class.
Nishino showed really strong promise before getting injured last year, and rookie Oda put on a bit of a show in limited OF time. Lots of good players in Osaka.
Am I anti-Seibu? You betcha. But even Objective Steve can’t find much on the Saitama roster to recommend that they will finish higher than 5th in the standings.
Kikuchi and Kona Takahashi are two great young starters, while Kishi + Togame are still quite decent starters. I like Makita a lot.
There’s a reason this team is the universal pick to land in the PL cellar.
Rakuten picked up our hero Imae in the offseason – he’s pretty much the best position player on the team. Shima’s a quality catcher, Fujita’s defense is sublime. Okoye is a really exciting, young talent.
That’s my list, feel free to disagree in the comments!
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