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Wladimir Balentien, Wily Mo Pena crushing the ball in Japan

May 7, 2012, 1:10 PM EDT

Wily Mo Pena Reuters

A pair of former major leaguers are topping the Japanese League leaderboards in the early going.

Former Mariners and Reds outfielder Wladimir Balentin is hitting .333/.449/.729 with 12 homers and 24 RBI in 96 at-bats for the Yakult Swallows of the Central League. No one else in the six-team circuit has more than four homers so far. Balentien also leads the league in average, RBI and runs scored.

Wily Mo Pena hasn’t been quite so dominant in the Pacific League, but he does have seven homers, two more than anyone else there. He’s hitting .309/.374/.591, despite having struck out 31 times in 110 at-bats.

On the pitching side of the equation, no one has been better than former Tigers right-hander Seth Greisinger. He’s 3-0 with a 0.31 ERA and 28 strikeouts in his four starts for the Lotte Marines.

If you’re curious to see more, all of the stats from Japan can be found here.

  1. cur68 - May 7, 2012 at 1:19 PM

    C’mon, Wily Mo, you can overtake the HR lead and the batting average lead. A little patience, a little discipline and you got it man. If he does stop striking out so much I hope he gets called back to the MLB: I miss this guy.

  2. unlost1 - May 7, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    are roids legal over there?

  3. broilerlaw - May 7, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    It’s part of baseball, plain and simple. There is a code that says you don’t go above the shoulders. Calcaterra is a little off in citing people killed by thrown balls. That hasn’t happened in the major leagues since batting helmets became required. All this, it could have resulted in garbage is the same logic that attorneys have used for ages to make life more vanilla. On a clear day you can foresee forever.

    Harper is a big boy. Generations of ball players have been thrown at, and generations of players will beo thrown at in the future. Nolan Ryan dusted the human rain delay, Mike Hargrove, multiple times just because he was trying to bunt. They both had pretty decent baseball lives after that, as did hundreds of other ballplayers who were intentionally beaned.

    Let’s stop being so friggin’ sensitive and just let these guys play the game the way it has been played for years.

    • ultimatecardinalwarrior - May 7, 2012 at 3:46 PM

      Wrong post, bro.

      Anyway, I would love continued updates on how former MLBers destroy the Japanese leagues. These stats are just ridiculous.

  4. jwbiii - May 7, 2012 at 4:14 PM

    What is really happening in Japan is they started using real baseballs last season. The national federation was disappointed with their results in international tournaments and thought that using regulation baseballs in the NPB would help those results. What happened was the league ERA dropped from 4.02 to 3.00 and the league OPS dropped from 752 to 461. AAAA hitters like Balentien and Pena and Matt Murton are now at a greater advantage because they’re used to hitting real baseballs.

    • jwbiii - May 7, 2012 at 9:34 PM

      *the league OPS dropped from 752 to 641*

      Not that bad.

  5. Reflex - May 7, 2012 at 7:01 PM

    Balentien is someone I thought was a pretty good prospect but he could never really put it together. I wouldn’t be suprised to see him pull a Nelson Cruz and show up in a few years and crush the ball in the majors for a year or three…

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