Yomiuri Giants right-hander Hirokazu Sawamura and Seibu Lions right-hander Kazuhisa Makita on Wednesday were named Rookie of the Year in the Central and Pacific leagues, respectively.
It was the fourth consecutive year that a player from the Giants has been selected as the top rookie — a first for Japanese baseball.
The Rookie of the Year is decided by the nation’s baseball writers in a vote ahead of the Japan Series.
Sawamura, 23, received 235 of the 250 eligible votes in the CL, while Makita collected 150 of 214 votes cast in the PL.
“This is a once in a lifetime award. I feel honored,” Sawamura said. “I wanted to prove the scouts were right by standing out in the crowd. I told myself that people are looking for something different from me.”
Makita was the first from Seibu to win the accolade since Daisuke Matsuzaka, now with the Boston Red Sox, in 1999.
“I’m so happy I’m at a loss for words,” said Makita. “I was able to focus my attention without being concerned about what people think. I plan to be part of the starting rotation going forward.”