Who is Munetaka Murakami? 22-year-old Japanese phenom could be next NPB star to draw MLB attention

MSN -- Aug 24

The crack of the bat when a home run is launched into orbit is a sound like no other. No one has heard that sound more in MLB than Yankees star Aaron Judge. Judge has smacked 47 homers over the wall in just 119 games.

There is another baseball star posting similar numbers across the pond, however. Japanese phenom Munetaka Murakami is the latest NPB batter to drum up MLB interest, crushing 44 dingers in 109 games. That's a pace of 58 homers in a full season. A slight uptick in homers and Murakami can quite easily pass the 60-home run plateau, a mark that has only been hit one other time in NPB history (Wladimir Balentien, 2013).

Munetaka Murakami is a 22-year-old third baseman who plays for the Yakult Swallows in Japan's Central League. Murakami has prodigious power; since being selected in the first round of the 2017 NPB Draft, Murakami has swatted 148 homers in NPB, widely considered the second-best baseball league in the world. For comparison, Shohei Ohtani cleared the fence 48 times over the course of his five-year NPB career. ...continue reading