Seiya Suzuki and Yoshinobu Yamamoto highlight the winners of the Golden Glove


MLB hopefuls Seiya Suzuki was honored again for his defensive skills in the Central League, while Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Yuma Mune ended the Orix Buffaloes drought in the Pacific League when this year’s Mitsui Golden Glove Award winners were announced on Thursday afternoon.

This is the 50th edition of the Mitsui Golden Glove Award, which honors Japan’s best defensive players.

Suzuki, an all-star outfielder for the Hiroshima Carp, won for the third straight time and fifth overall.

“Defense, baserunning and hitting are all very important, so I am honored to win a great award like the Golden Glove Award,” he said in a comment from the team.

Suzuki hopes to make room for someone else next year. The Carp star is aiming for an MLB contract for the 2022 season after Hiroshima approved his application for release late last month – despite the MLB ban that went into effect Thursday morning at 12:01 a.m. its negotiations with the teams will hinder.

The Carp’s Ryosuke Kikuchi has made it 9-for-9 on second base since winning the award for the first time in 2013. The dynamic infielder won easily by 173 votes, while runner-up Tetsuto Yamada received 81 from the Tokyo Yakult Swallows.

Kikuchi parted ways with the former Seibu Lions infielder and the club’s current manager Hatsuhiko Tsuji for the most Golden Gloves on the position in both leagues.

“I’ll do my best to chase the ball so I can win it again next year,” he said.

The Chunichi Dragons led all CL teams with three Golden Glove selections, with outfielder Yohei Oshima leading the way with his fourth straight and ninth place overall.

First baseman Dayan Viciedo earned his second Golden Glove in as many seasons to become the first foreign Dragons player to repeat as a winner in any position.

Yuya Yanagi, meanwhile, is the first chunichi pitcher to win since reliever Takuya Asao in 2011.

Shortstop Hayato Sakamoto and third baseman Kazuma Okamoto represented the Yomiuri Giants. Sakamoto won for the third year in a row and for the fifth time overall, while Okamoto was one of the top three CL winners.

The other newcomers were Yanagi and Hanshin Tiger’s outfielder Koji Chikamoto.

Swallow catcher Yuhei Nakamura was the only member of the CL and Japan Series champions to be honored. Nakamura, MVP of the recently concluded Japan Series, won for the first time since 2015.

The DeNA BayStars had not named anyone for the second season in a row.

Since outfielder Yoshio Itoi in 2016, the Buffaloes have had four seasons without a Golden Glove winner in the PL. That drought ended this year with Yamamoto winning the pitcher and Mune taking home the prize on third base.

“I’m very honored to have been selected for an award that everyone wants to win and that I’ve known since middle school,” said Yamamoto in a team comment.

Both players are winners for the first time, along with Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles outfielder Ryosuke Tatsumi.

Mune ended an even longer drought for Orix and became the franchise’s first Golden Glove third baseman since Toshifumi Baba won Orix BlueWave in 1996.

“I am honored to win a special award with such a long history,” said Mune. “I know my skills are still missing, so I want to improve defensively and win again next year.

The Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks led with three selections in the Pa. League when catcher Takuya Kai extended his reign for a fifth straight season. Kai was behind the record in all 143 games and ended the season with a .999 field appearance.

Hawks first baseman Akira Nakamura and outfielder Yuki Yanagita each won their second episode. Yanagita has won a total of six.

The Chiba Lotte Marines had two winning pairs with outfielder Takashi Ogino, who won for the second time, and second baseman Shogo Nakamura, who also won for the second time.

Seibu Lions shortstop Sosuke Genda won his position for the fourth time in a row.

No players were selected for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters.

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