Murakami Munetaka (23, Yakult Swallows), who wrote a new history of home runs in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) last year, is already unusual.
Japanese local media such as ‘Tokyo Sports’ wrote about Murakami on the 4th. Currently, Murakami is improving his physical condition by training in Okinawa where Team Spring Camp is held. He practiced batting two days in a row, and produced super-sized batting balls in succession.
Murakami showed off his good condition in the batting practice held on the 2nd. He drew attention by hitting an off-the-field ball estimated to be 140m away. A day later, on the 3rd, he did even greater things. He fired a hard ball into the distance and broke the billboard. The impact was so great that a part of the screen fell off. 메이저놀이터
The media said, “Murakami’s powerful ball hit the back screen display board, and part of it was damaged. Yesterday (2nd), he hit the ball outside the field and recorded an overwhelming flight distance.” The cost was 100,000 yen (about 950,000 won),” he wrote.
Yakult coach Shingo Takatsu, who led the training that day, expressed anticipation, saying, “It seems that Murakami has joined the camp swinging the bat properly during the off-season. I think (the pace) will increase because he is not yet in his shape.”
Murakami played in 141 games last year, with a batting average of 0.318 (155 hits in 487 at-bats), 56 homers, 134 RBIs, and an OPS of 1.168. He became the youngest player to record the NPB Triple Crown (batting average, home runs, runs batted in), and completed the record for most home runs by a Japanese batter (previously Sadaharu Oh in 1964 with 55 home runs). After the season, he vomited the spirit of being named league MVP.
Recognized for his outstanding performance, Murakami is set to join the Japanese national team at the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in 2023. Like other players, he is picking up his pace earlier than usual in preparation for the tournament, but he is already showing off his destructive power even before the tournament.
South Korea will face Japan in the second round of the WBC 1st round. Murakami is the opponent’s main gun, so if he shows good condition, it will inevitably be a burden for Korea. This is why Korea is wary of Murakami’s show of strength, and Japan has no choice but to smile.
Meanwhile, Murakami plans to gradually improve his physical condition starting with a practice match against the Yokohama Baystars on the 12th. Since Murakami is the hard hitter that Korea must stop in order to win the game against Japan, much attention is being paid to his strength show.