• Kyodo


Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters two-way talent Shohei Otani earned the 2015 baseball player of the year award as the World Baseball Softball Confederation on Sunday announced its winners for both sports for the four-year period from 2014 to 2017.

Otani, who is expected to move to the majors via the posting system in the offseason, was among the six Japanese winners who were recognized at the WBSC Congress Gala held in the Gaborone International Convention Center in Botswana.

Otani posted a 0.00 ERA in two starts in the inaugural Premier 12 championship held in Taiwan and Japan in November 2015. The 23-year-old, who could become the most sought-after international player once on the market, underwent right ankle surgery last week.

Ayami Sato was honored as the women’s baseball player of the year and Yukiko Ueno as the softball player of the year, both for 2014, while Koichi Okura and Reika Utsugi were named 2014 baseball and softball national team coach of the year, respectively.

Also, Hideko Okano won the 2014 softball umpire of the year award.

Japan led with six WBSC awards, while the United States picked up five, Canada four, and Cuba and New Zealand three each.

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