News and Standings from across the wide world of baseball (THIS IS A BIG POST SO THERE IS A JUMP AFTER THE FIRST FEW PARAGRAPHS):
In Asia, baseball season is now in full swing, with Japan, Korea and Taiwan all in motion.
In Japan, home of Nippon Pro Baseball, the standings currently look like this (from Yakyu Baka):
As you can see, the teams have already started to spread out a bit, forming into de-facto groups of great, good and bad. The cream of the crop in the NPB, once again, seems to be the Yomiuri Giants, who have 14 wins, 4 losses, and two ties (there are ties in NPB). Only two teams are within five games of them. The Giants, winners of 22 Japan Series and the current defending champions, have several names that would be familiar to baseball fans in North America. Shinnosuke Abe, the team’s captain, is a long-time mainstay of the Japanese national team at the WBC, and former Major Leaguers like John Bowker, Jose Lopez, D.J. Houlton and Scott Mathieson have played for the Giants this season as well. Hayato Sakamoto (another member of the 2013 WBC team) and Shuichi Murata are among the Central League’s HR leaders.
It’s a bit closer over in the Pacific League, but like in the Central League, one team has clearly gotten off to a very good start: The Seibu Lions. Based out of Torozawa, the Lions are being paced at the plate by former MLBer Esteban German, 22-year-olds Hideto Asamura and Yuji Kaneko, and outfielder Takumi Kuriyama. The pitching has also been excellent, and features 2013 WBC pitcher Hideaki Wakui and a young lefty named Yusei Kikuchi, who is 2-1 with a 1.03 ERA in 4 starts.
Also, some interesting news: NPB will open the 2014 season with games in the LA area.
(JUMP FOR MORE)
Meanwhile, in Korea, and the Korean Baseball Organization, the standings (from MyKBO) look like this:
Unlike in Japan, the early going in Korea has been far closer, with first and fifth place separated by only two games. However, some of the bottom teams have been really, really bad. The Hanwha Eagles, for example, started 0-13. Also, an early surprise is how far the Lotte Giants have seemingly fallen. Traditionally one of the most popular and successful teams in Korea, they currently are in 7th place and aren’t drawing well as a result.
Meanwhile, in Taiwan, home of the CPBL, Manny Ramirez mania continues. A blog has been created entirely about how he’s doing in Taiwan, so feel free to check that out. Sadly, it’s still really hard to find standings and English-language news from the CPBL outside of the occasional Manny update, so if you know of any, let me know.
The Mexican League is going, and the standings look like this currently:
Among the players doing well so far this season in Mexico include Luis Terrero of Mexico City, who is taking advantage of the thin air to have a league-leading 11 home runs, and Juan Miranda of Laguna, who is behind only Terrero in OPS. On the mound, Monterrey’s Jonathan Castellanos leads the league in wins with 5, and Ken Ray of Yucatan leads the league in Ks with 34.
In Europe, the baseball seasons there have started. Here’s how the standings in the Hoofdklasse Honkbal of the Netherlands looks, for example:
Continuum Global News is posted every weekend.