Murakami Munetaka (23, Yakult Swallows) expressed his motivation, saying, “I want to stand on top of the world as the number 4 hitter for the Japanese national team.”
Japan’s Daily Sports said on the 7th, “Munetaka publicly expressed his desire to play as the number 4 hitter and his desire to recapture the top of the WBC after the selection of the Japanese national team for the 2023 World Baseball Classic (WBC) was confirmed.”
On the 6th, Japanese baseball team coach Hideki Kuriyama announced 12 out of 30 players who will participate in the 2023 WBC.
Murakami was called last out of 12.
Big leaguers such as Shohei Ohtani (Los Angeles Angels), Yu Darvish (San Diego Padres), Seiya Suzuki (Chicago Cubs), and players representing Japan’s professional baseball, such as ‘perfect pitcher’ Roki Sasaki (Chiba Lotte Marines), led the national team with Murakami. I was put on the list of presentations.
Murakami said, “I grew up dreaming of becoming a baseball player while watching the WBC. I am happy to stand on a stage where world-class players gather.” 안전놀이터
Coach Kuriyama also picks Murakami as the number one candidate for the fourth hitter.
Murakami achieved a batting average of 0.318, 56 home runs, and 134 RBIs, achieving the 2022 Nippon Professional Baseball Central League Triple Crown (#1 in batting average, home runs, and RBIs).
In particular, in the home run category, he set a new record for the most home runs in a single season for Japanese people.
Daily Sports picked the match against Mexico held in March 2019 as Murakami’s ‘Samurai Japan debut’.
However, Murakami’s first official international competition was the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
At that time, Murakami played as the 8th hitter of the Samurai Japan (nickname of the Japanese baseball team) and went 5 hits in 15 at-bats (0.333 batting average), 1 home run and 3 RBIs. He even hit a solo home run in the final against the United States.
Murakami started as the 4th hitter in 3 out of 4 matches during the Japanese national team’s strengthening training last November, and posted a terrifying record of 5 hits in 11 at-bats (0.455 batting average), 4 homers, and 6 RBIs.
Murakami is also on alert for Korea, which will be fighting Japan in the 2nd round of Group B in the 1st round of the WBC at Tokyo Dome on March 10th at 7pm.
Murakami recently signed a three-year, 1.8 billion yen (approximately 17.2 billion won) contract with Yakult and revealed his plan to enter the major leagues after the end of the 2025 season.
This WBC, where he will play with Japanese big leaguers and face off against big leaguers from other countries, can be a great motivation for Murakami.
Murakami said, “I want to play with Ohtani, Darvish, and Suzuki, feel the life of the big leagues, and ask questions.”