After enduring many years of disappointment, things are finally improving for one of the most struggling teams in Japanese baseball history. After winning their first pennant back in 1960, the BayStars (known in the past as the Taiyo Whales) went on a 38 year drought before climbing to the top again in 1998. Their last winning season was back in 2001, and 2015 was another season in the Central League basement. However, the BayStars kept the lead in the Central League going into the All-Star break in mid July before falling out of gas in the second half of the season. They have some good prospects in both the offensive end and with the pitching staff. The lack of depth in the lineup will mean they might not contend for the title, but with no dominant team in the league at the moment, the BayStars have a legitimate shot at a playoff berth, awarded to the top three teams in the standings.
Former BayStar Alex Ramirez becomes the first foreign manager to lead the team. His experience playing with winning teams in Yomiuri and Yakult, as well as his ability to speak English, Spanish and Japanese should give him an advantage in creating a good team chemistry between the Japanese and foreign born players on the team.
2015 Record : 62-80-1 (.437, 6th out of 6 teams), Team ERA 3.80 (6th), Team batting average .249 (3rd), Team HRs 112 (1st)
At age 42, Miura-San has become the oldest player in Japanese proffesional baseball. He had a solid 6-6 record in 17 starts last season, and fans are hoping he has enough power left for 28 more wins to put his career win mark at 200.
Yamasaki has become the idol of local fans after winning Rookie of the Year honors with a 37 save/1.92 ERA season. Stamina is the key as his performance dropped somewhat in September, and he's had some rocky outings when pitching in back-to-back games.
After becoming the youngest NPB player to save 100 games (at age 25), Yamaguchi enters his third season since converting to the starting role. He looks to improve from a poor 2015 season when he went 3-6/4.48 ERA. He is the son of a former sumo wrestler.
He is nicknamed "The Alien" for his tendency to make strange remarks. He's targeting the "Triple Two" this season; 200 innings, two degit victories and an ERA of 2 runs. He put in 134 2/3 innings with a 5-8 and 3.27 ERA last season.
After winning 9 games in 2014, the most for any foreign pitcher in team history, G-Mo was slowed by injuries and won only three games in the '15 season. He is in the final year of his contract and looking to bounce back.
The 26 year old arrives from the St Louis Cardinals organisation for his first season in the NPB. He will be contending for the fourth and final foreign player slot with Cuban-born reliever Yoslan Herrera.
Lopez enters his 4th season in Japan and second with Yokohama. He ranked third in the league with 25 HRs and fifth with a .295 average but it was his high fielding skills at first base that helped bring order to an otherwise very inexperienced infield.
Ishikawa decided to stay in Yokohama despite becoming a free agent, perhaps because of the lack of attention from other teams. His season ended in July due to a foot injury. In the off-season, he had surgery on his right elbow to remove the pain on his throwing arm.
Romak hit .284/27HR/100RBIs in the Triple-A level last season. His batting will be the key to the BayStars climbing from the bottom of the standings. His defensive skills have a big question mark though, and he might spend more time at right field rather than at third.
Tsutsugo, at age 24, is the biggest star on a team laden with young talent. He spent the offseason playing in the Dominican Winter League and also batted fourth for the Japanese Team in the Premier 12 tournament. Hit a league third .317 with 24HR/93 RBIs in 2015.
Kajitani's numbers constantly drop in the hot summer months when he tends to lose weight so he decided to add 10 kgs before the start of this season. He is expected to hit second in the lineup and move from right to center field. Led the league with 39 steals in 2014.
After winning the Golden Glove Award in '12 and '13, injuries have limited him to under 70 games for two consecutive seasons. Health permitting, he is the candidate to bat the leadoff spot, but depending on where Romak plays, he could be finding time on the bench.