Munetaka Murakami, 23, of the Yakurut Swallows, became the youngest player in history to win three batting titles last year, but this year he’s been “irrelevant. Instead, he’s become an unwanted “error king” on defense.
Murakami plans to take “defense lessons” in the offseason from Hiroshima Toyokafu’s “defense master” Ryosuke Kikuchi (33) to reduce his errors.
“Murakami will become a student of Hiroshima’s Ryosuke Kikuchi, a 10-time Golden Glove winner, in the offseason to improve his defense at third base, where he made a league-high 22 errors,” Japanese media outlet Shokan Fuji reported on Wednesday. Kikuchi is Hiroshima’s second baseman and is often referred to as a defensive wizard.
Murakami played with Kikuchi on Team Japan at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and has been asking him to teach him defense during the season. In January of next year, they decided to do a voluntary training session together in Shizuoka Prefecture, where Kikuchi trains.
“It will be about three or four days, but I want to hear everything,” Murakami said. “You can only learn from other teams during the training period. I want to learn and absorb it thoroughly.” 월카지노
Kikuchi’s voluntary training sessions have previously included infielders from other clubs, such as Taiki Mitsumata (Yakult) and Takahiro Kumagai (Hanshin), but this is Murakami’s first time. “I’m hoping that we can receive feedback together, exchange opinions from there, and work out (improvements),” Murakami said.
Murakami batted .301 with 56 home runs and 134 RBIs last year, setting a new record for most home runs in a season by a Japanese player and becoming the youngest player ever to win the Triple Crown.
This year, however, he has struggled. In 140 games this season, he’s batting just 25-for-66 with 31 homers, 84 RBIs, and an OPS of .875. He was second in the Central League in home runs and fourth in RBIs, but his home run and RBI numbers are down from last year. He led both leagues in errors with 22.
Murakami’s contract with Yakult allows him to reach the major leagues by posting after the 2025 season. Murakami plans to work on his third base defense to reduce his errors and prepare himself for success in the major leagues.