More on: Tokyo Yakult Swallows

The Tokyo Yakult Swallows have long been in the shadows of the city's other big club - the Yomiuri Giants - but were the center of attention when they won the Central League crown in the 2015 season. A surprising feat coming off a last place finish in 2014.

The team used to be owned by the Japan National Railway - they ran express trains called the "Tsubame (Swallow)", a nicknamed they have kept after change of ownership.

Tsubakuro, the team mascot

sells more merchandise than the players

Yasuhiro "Ryan" Ogawa, the ace

11-8 with 3.11 ERA in 2015.

Shohei Tateyama, has had three surgeries, but keep on coming back

Tetsuto Yamada (Second Baseman)

Yamada, only 23, stole the headlines in the 2015 season by achieving the "Triple Three" - 38HRs, 34 stolen bases and a .329 average. No question one of the best batters in the Japanese leagues right now.


Wladamir Valentin (Left Fielder)

The Curacao Island native broke the Japanese record for most HRs in a season when he hit 60 back in 2013. Injuries limited him to just 1 HR in 15 games for the 2015 season. In the last year of his contract, could he have another big year?

Logan Ondrusek, at 2m03cm one of tallest players in Japan. Closer for team.

Kazuhiro Hatakeyama, 1st Baseman

105RBIs in 2015, top in Central League.

Shingo Kawabata, 3rd Baseman

Led league with 195 hits and a .336 BA.