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The inevitable home run hitter that baseball has created. Yakult’s Munetaka Murakami, an infielder, once again felt the achievement of the Japanese record of 5 home runs in a row.
The first time I saw Murakami was in 2018, my first year as a professional, when I was promoted to the first army in September at the end of the season. Overwhelming swing speed is an essential condition for a home run hitter, and Murakami had it. Of course, at that time, he was still rough on offense and defense, and I thought it might take a little more time to be active in the first army.
However, in the following year, 19 years, he became a regular player and suddenly hit 36 home runs, playing the battle for the home run king. In 2009, he made rapid progress, hitting 39 home runs and sharing the title with infielder Kazuma Okamoto of the Giants.
And this year, it looks like they are stepping up even further and stepping into uncharted territory.
What is Murakami’s peculiarity that even O and Matsui do not see?
Murakami’s greatest feature is, of course, that he can hit a home run with the ground at 90 degrees.
The direction of the 39 home runs this year was 14 to the right including right middle, 9 to the center field, and 16 to the left including the left middle, accounting for 64% of the total. .
This is a type that has not been seen in many Japanese home run hitters in the past, and in terms of home runs in the opposite direction, Hiromitsu Ochiai (former manager of Chunichi) who recorded 50 or more home runs twice during the Lotte era.
However, Mr. Ochiai had a batting style that carried the ball while bending the bat like a whip, whereas Mr. Murakami was more of a type that used overwhelming swing speed as a weapon and hit with strong impact and follow-through. . In terms of hitting, it may be said that he is a hitter similar to former Giants Sadaharu Oh (current SoftBank team chairman and special team advisor) and former Giants Hideki Matsui, who also played for the New York Yankees.
However, Murakami has a peculiarity that neither of them can see. That’s the quality of hitting the ball in the opposite direction.
[next page]If you can’t shoot in the opposite direction…