The other day, NPB held its awards ceremony and announced the winners of this year's MVP, Rookie of the Year, and Best Nine awards. Gen over at Yakyu Baka has transcribed all the winners (MVP/RoY, Best Nines), which saves me the trouble of doing it here. I don't plug Gen often enough, so here's another link - go and look at his site.
I published my picks about a month ago, and amazingly, the NPB voters mostly agreed with me. But there were a few differences.
Pacific League MVP - my pick: Tsuyoshi Nishioka (Lotte SS), winner: Tsuyoshi Wada (Softbank SP)
Wow. I don't think I can disagree with this more strongly. NPB MVP voters have an annoying habit of favoring players from the league winner. That, combined with Wada's one win more than Softbank teammate Toshiya Sugiuchi, was enough to propel him to the award. Nishioka had a historic year in which he drove Lotte's league-leading offense with 206 hits and 121 runs (17% of Lotte's total). Penalizing him because his team finished 2.5 games out of first is both archaic and illogical. Then again, maybe the voters were punishing him because he is a bit of a prima donna, or because he's bolting for MLB.
Pacific Leage RoY - my pick: Keisuke Kattoh (Softbank RP), winner Ryo Sakakibara (Nippon Ham RP)
I didn't realize Sakakibara was eligible; I guess that's why I'm not an official voter. Kattoh finished second, no complaints.
Pacific League Best Nine P - my pick Yu Darvish (Nippon Ham), winner Tsuyoshi Wada (Softbank)
Not much to say here - Darvish was superior to Wada in every category except wins. I would have put Sugiuchi and Chihiro Kaneko ahead of Wada as well, so he would have been my fourth choice for this award.
Pacific League Best Nine 2B - my pick Tadahito Iguchi (Lotte), winner Kensuke Tanaka (Nippon Ham)
I was actually kind of on the fence about this one. In the end I took Iguchi's glove, power and walks over Tanaka's batting average. The voters didn't agree though, and Iguchi finished in third. In second was Softbank's Yuichi Honda who hit .296 and led the PL with 59 steals. Yasuyuki Kataoka would have been my third choice, but he finished a distant fourth despite better overall numbers than Honda.
Pacific League Best Nine OF - my picks Teppei (Rakuten), Yoshio Itoi (Nippon Ham), winners Takumi Kuriyama (Seibu), T-Okada (Orix)
I picked T-Okada as the DH on my Best Nine, so I can live with him winning as an outfielder. I just don't see how Kuriyama beats either Teppei or Itoi though, particularly Itoi, who was superior in slugging, on-base percentage, and base stealing.
Pacific League Best Nine DH - my pick Okada, winner Kazuya Fukuura (Lotte)
Fukuura put up a respectable .295/.354/.475 line, but didn't get enough at-bats to qualify for the batting title.
Remarkably, the voters and I only disagreed on one Central League award:
Central League Best Nine SS - my pick Hayato Sakamoto (Yomiuri), winner Takashi Toritani (Hanshin)
I succumbed to the shiny allure of Sakamoto's 31 home runs on this one. Toritani had a better batting average and on-base percentage, and made fewer errors.