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Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Seiya Hosokawa's Remarkable Year

While the season still isn't over yet, Seiya Hosokowa has already broken into a group of auspicious Dragons hitters with his power hitting prowess. 

Since arriving in Nagoya from Yokohama through the active player draft, Hosokawa has been a revelation in the heart of the Dragons line-up. For all the ills of the team, Hosokawa along with Yuki Okabayashi and Takaya Ishikawa have been lights through a very dark season. Hosokawa in particular has blossomed with the Dragons from someone who forever had potential with the Baystars, to someone who has the ability to be one of the Central League's premier hitters. 

I won't go into a lot of detail in this post, but I did want to bring attention to a few records that Hosokawa has achieved. I contextualise this with the caveat that these are all major achievements for a Dragons hitter in the uniform ball era that started in 2012. This, perhaps serendipitously, is the start of the period of power-hitting ills for the Dragons. 

1. Hosokawa is the first Dragon to hit 20+ homeruns in a season since Dayan Viciedo in 2018. 

Yes, it has been 5 years since we last saw a Dragons hitter pop more than 20 homers. It's a little sad when you think about it. Even our iconic first baseman has had trouble hitting more than 15 homers a year but has achieved the 20 homer mark in 2 of his 7 seasons. This year has been pretty bad by Viciedo's standards, and Hosokawa has truly taken over the mantle. The only other hitters to reach the mark in the last 10 years have been Alex Guerrero (35HR, 2017) and Matt Clark (25HR, 2013). 

2. Hosokawa is the first Japanese Dragons' slugger to hit 20+ homers since 2010. 

This is perhaps the biggest issue the Dragons have had in the past 13 years. There has been no Japanese hitter that has shown elite power. Shuhei Takahashi was supposedly meant to be and Ryosuke Hirata similarly seemed to have the potential, but neither of them reached these heights with the former in particular perhaps never really having that level of power to draw on. Nobumasa Fukuda was the closest in recent memory as he had a glorious run down the stretch in 2018 and ended the season with 18 homers. Hosokawa has however become the first Japanese Dragon since current batting coaches, Kazuhiro Wada (37HR, 2010) and Masahiko Morino (21HR, 2010) to send 20 balls over the fence.

3. Hosokawa is only the 4th Dragons hitter in the uniform ball period to log 20+ homers

Right? In 2012 the uniform ball was introduced. Before then, each team supplied their own ball for home games. This seems to have had a disastrous impact on the Dragons. However Hosokawa has stemmed the tide of this trend. As mentioned previously, only Dayan Viciedo, Alex Guerrero and Matt Clark have popped 20 homers in a Dragons shirt in the uniform ball era. Hosokawa becomes the first Japanese-born player to do so. Hopefully more can follow in his footsteps. 

4. Hosokawa is only the second Dragons hitter in the uniform ball era to hit 10+ homers at Vantelin dome

Here's where it really gets crazy. Vantelin Dome (formerly Nagoya Dome) has been one of the most pitcher friendly parks in NPB history. But, for a while, this didn't seem to stop hitters like Tyrone Woods, Kosuke Fukudome or Kazuhiro Wada from going ham on the ball. The uniform ball era seems to have heavily affected homerun numbers in the dome, but somehow Hosokawa has managed to hit 11 homers (so far!) in the cavernous home ground of the Dragons. This puts him second on the list since 2012. The first? You guessed it, Da...Alex Guerrero. Yep. Mr "El Solo Jonrón" whacked 17 of his 35 homers in Nagoya. That actually puts him equal third on the all-time list for single-season homers at the dome. Hosokawa, is safely number two on this list since 2012. Where does he however figure on the all-time list? Let's have a quick look:

1Tyrone Woods212006
2Kosuke Fukudome182003
3Tyrone Woods172005
-Alex Guerrero172017
4Tyrone Woods162008
-Tony Blanco162009
5Kazuhiro Wada142010
-Tony Blanco142010
6Tyrone Woods132007
-Leo Gomez131999
7Takeshi Yamasaki121998
8Kazuhiro Wada112009
-Kosuke Fukudome112004
-Seiya Hosokawa112023
9Leo Gomez101998
-Motonobu Tanishige102002
-Kosuke Fukudome102002

If the season finished today, Hosokawa would be equal 8th in single-season homeruns at the Vantelin Dome. Quite an achievement for someone who is essentially a rookie. Feel free to have a look over this list, but it's Fukudome and Woods' power that I am in awe of when I look at this. The most random of names to appears here is probably Tanishige, who had a couple of good years offensively but was by no means ever considered a power hitter. 

There is still time left for Hosokawa to leave a further imprint on some important Dragons records. He has had a prodigious first season in Chunichi blue, and has been bright light in what has otherwise been a very sullen year. Looking forward to the future however, he, Ishikawa and Okabayashi in particular make for a very interesting core to build around in the middle of the line-up. If a successful international signing can be made in the off-season to support them, the top-half at least of the Dragons line-up could be very potent next year. 


  1. He has been one of the few bright spots in the lineup. I attended the game at the Dome on his birthday last month in which he hit two home runs and drove in 6 runs, which was quite cool.

    He added another to his total in yesterday's game too (which of course the Dragons lost).

    At this point in the season I've gotten so frustrated with the team that I've stopped watching games in person or on TV and basically just check the news to see "how much they lost by today" every once in a while.

    I tend to agree with your last line - they need to sign somebody that can hit home runs to put in the middle of the lineup with Hosokawa and Ishikawa. The offence this year has just been an embarrassment (despite decent seasons by a few guys like Okabayashi too).

    1. Yes, his birthday game was great. That was a game of a great player.

      I just honestly watch a game a week at this rate based on the starters. It's not overly fun getting bulldozed or bored. Hoping for some reinforcements.

  2. AYYYOOOO. I hope so. His last few games in 1-gun haven't been great but he's been solid on the farm so far. He can play all the outfield positions, which is great, hit-tool just needs to be a bit more consistent. I think he probably has more staying power than Ukai to be honest, who I like as well.