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  • 10/15/2014 added Otani 161 pitch on 8/3/2014, corrected opposing batters on Otani's 162 pitch on 7/19/14
  • 10/8/2014 initial page
Related: Fastest Pitchers Ever in MLB

Nippon Professional Baseball

Nippon Professional Baseball
Nippon Professional Baseball (Nippon Yakyu Kiko), aka NPB or Puro Yakyu, was formed in 1950 and is the highest level of baseball in Japan. The NPB is comprised of 16 teams in two leagues - the Central League and the Pacific League.

Central League
  • Chunichi Dragons - Nagoya, Aichi - Nagoya Dome
  • Hanshin Tigers - Nishinomiya, Hyogo - Hanshin Koshien Stadium
  • Hiroshima Toyo Carp - Hiroshima, Hiroshima - MAZDA Zoom-Zoom Stadium
  • Tokyo Yakult Swallows - Shinjuku, Tokyo - Meiji Jingu Stadium
  • Yokohama DeNA BayStars - Yokohama, Kanagawa - Yokohama Stadium
  • Yomiuri Giants - Bunkyo, Tokyo - Tokyo Dome
Pacific League
  • Chiba Lotte Marines Chiba, Chiba QVC Marine Field
  • Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks Fukuoka, Fukuoka Fukuoka Yafuoku Dome
  • Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters Sapporo, Hokkaido Sapporo Dome
  • Orix Buffaloes Osaka, Osaka Kyocera Dome Osaka
  • Saitama Seibu Lions Tokorozawa, Saitama Seibu Dome
  • Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles Sendai, Miyagi Kleenex Stadium Miyagi

Record Setting Pitches in Japanese Baseball (NPB)

  • 162 km/h, 100.7 mph, Marc Kroon, Yomiuri Giants, 6/1/2008 (first NPB pitcher to 162) j3
  • 162 km/h, 100.7 mph, Shohei Otani, Nippon-Ham Fighters, 7/19/2014 - allstar game 2 playing for Pacific League vs. Takashi Toritani, 2nd pitch (he threw 162 kmh again in the same inning on his first pitch to Shinnosuke Abe) (first Japanese born NPB pitcher to 162) j2
  • 162 km/h, 100.7 mph, Shohei Otani, Nippon-Ham Fighters, 10/5/2014 vs. Rakuten's Ginji Akaminai 2nd pitch - regular season (first Japanese born NPB pitcher to 162 during the regular season) j1

  • 161 km/h, 100.0 mph, Marc Kroon, Yokohama, 7/19/2005 (the first 100 mph pitcher in NPB history) j3
  • 161 km/h, 100.0 mph, Yoshinori Sato, Tokyo Yakult Swallows, 8/26/2010 5th inning vs. Yokohama BayStars' Terrmel Sledge 5th pitch (first Japanese born NPB pitcher to 161) j2 j3 j7
  • 161 km/h, 100.0 mph, Shohei Otani, Nippon-Ham Fighters, 8/3/2014 vs. Softbank Hawks' Dae-Ho Lee at Sapporo Dome (his 128th pitch of the game) (second Japanese born NPB pitcher to 161) j12

  • 160 km/h, 99.4 mph, Lim Chang-Yon (South Korean born sidearm reliever), Tokyo Yakult Swallows 2009 (had Tommy John surgery in 2005, and again in 7/2012) (first NPB pitcher to 160?) j5 j6
  • 160 km/h, 99.4 mph, Scott Mathieson (Canadian born, Phillies 2002 draft pick) closer, Yomiuri Giants 7/5/2012 vs. Yokohama BayStars (becoming the fourth NPB player to clock 160+ during a game) j3 j5 j6

  • 159 km/h, 98.8 mph, Marc Kroon, Yokohama, 5/11/2005 (first NPB pitcher to 159) j3

  • 158 km/h, 98.2 mph, Hideki Irabu, Chiba Lotte Marines, 1993 vs. Kazuhiro Kiyohara of the Seibu Lions (1st to 158, fastest NPB pitch ever until 2005) j3 j4
  • 158 km/h, 98.2 mph, Kazuo Yamaguchi, Orix Blue Wave, 2002 j3 j4
  • 158 km/h, 98.2 mph, Ryota Igarashi, Yakult Swallows, 6/3/2004, 9th inning vs. Hanshin's Makato Imaoka (arm surgery 2006) j3 j4
  • 158 km/h, 98.2 mph, Marc Kroon, Yokohama, 4/30/2005 (tied 4 others at 162) j3

  • 157 km/h, 97.6 mph, Ryota Igarashi, Yakult Swallows, 7/9/2003 j4
  • 157 km/h, 97.6 mph, Ryota Igarashi, Yakult Swallows, 7/16/2003? (allstar game record until 2014) j8 j9
  • 157 km/h, 97.6 mph, Shinobu Fukuhara 2nd season, Hanshin, 9/15/2014 j4

Shohei Otani Record Pitch 162 km/h 7/19/2014 allstar

Shohei Otani 162 kmh 7/19/2014 all star
Shohei Otani Record Pitch 162 km/h 7/19/2014 allstar

Shohei Otani Record Pitch 162 km/h 10/5/2014 regular season

Otani's 162 km/h pitch shattered the bat of Rakuten first baseman Ginji Akaminai hit 101 mph four times, with 14 of his 17 fastballs registering 99 mph or higher.

Shohei Otani 162 kmh 10/5/2014 reg season
Shohei Otani Record Pitch 162 km/h 10/5/2014 regular season

2012 Fastest Pitches in the NPB j10

Per NPBTracker.com
| l_name_en  | f_name_en | pitcher_id | velo_kmph | velo_mph |
| Mickolio   | Kam       |        634 |    149.47 |    93.42 |
| Kawahara   | Hiroyuki  |        662 |    149.36 |    93.35 |
| Mathieson  | Scott     |        652 |    148.96 |    93.10 |
| Figaro     | Alfredo   |        567 |    148.60 |    92.87 |
| Masui      | Hirotoshi |        487 |    148.59 |    92.87 |
| Castro     | Angel     |        665 |    148.54 |    92.83 |
| Yamaguchi  | Shun      |        206 |    148.17 |    92.61 |
| Zarate     | Robert    |        680 |    148.06 |    92.54 |
| Falkenborg | Brian     |        195 |    147.70 |    92.31 |
| Molleken   | Dustin    |        678 |    147.51 |    92.20 |

Shohei Otani Throws 160 kph/100.0 mph in High School in 2012 j11

Shohei Otani 160 kmh 7/20/2012 High School

Shonei Otani, the NPB record holder, also threw a high school record setting 160 km/h/ 100.0 mph pitch during a high school playoff in 2012.


  • (j1) 10/5/2014 regular season Otani 162 Per Shohei Otani Ties Japanese Record With 101 MPH Fastball 10/5/2014 by Ben Badler
    Shohei Otani is the next big thing in Japan. He’s still 20 years old in just his second season for the Nippon-Ham Fighters, but the buzz around the young righthander has only grown since he flirted with the idea of signing with a major league team directly out of high school.
    On his second pitch of today’s game, Otani threw a 101-mph fastball (or 162 kilometers per hour) that shattered the bat of Rakuten first baseman Ginji Akaminai into three pieces for a groundout to second base. That’s the fastest pitch ever thrown by a Japanese pitcher in a regular-season game and tied with Marc Kroon for the fastest pitch ever in Nippon Professional Baseball, according to Sponichi. Otani finished the game with three strikeouts over two scoreless innings and hit 101 mph four times, with 14 of his 17 fastballs registering 99 mph or higher.
    Otani has been sensational this season. His 2.61 ERA ranks sixth among qualified NPB starters, and he has 179 strikeouts with 57 walks in 155 1/3 innings. It will likely still be several years until Otani could end up coming to Major League Baseball through the posting system, but he’s already an ace in Japan that MLB scouts are tracking closely.
    Per 10/9/2014 Mainichi article Baseball: Fighters send Inaba out with win
    SAPPORO (Kyodo) -- The Nippon Ham Fighters feted retiring star Atsunori Inaba on Sunday and capped it off with a 1-0 win over the Rakuten Eagles.
    Double-duty right-hander Shohei Otani worked two innings in the start of an otherwise meaningless game for the Fighters and hit 162 kilometers per hour on the radar gun on his second pitch to Ginji Akaminai, matching the fastest recorded speed for a pitch in Japanese ball.
  • (j2) 7/2014 all stars Otani 162, Sato 161 kmh 2008 - 7/20/2014 WSJ Japan article Fighters’ Otani Matches Fastest-Ever Pitch in Japan Pro Baseball By Mitsuru Obe
    In an all-star game Saturday, Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters right-hander Shohei Otani hurled a couple of fastballs at 162 kilometers an hour (100.7 miles an hour), matching the Japanese professional record and setting a new one for a Japanese player.
    The record was first set by American Marc Kroon of the Yomiuri 9671.TO -1.69% Giants, who laid down a 162-kph pitch in 2008. Tokyo Yakult Swallows’ Yoshinori Sato set the previous record for a Japanese hurler, with a 161 kph effort in 2010.
    While Otani’s record is still unofficial, Japanese media trumpeted the feat Sunday with big banner headlines across most major dailies.
    Before Saturday’s game, the 20-year-old hurler reportedly said he wanted to “excite” the fans crowding into historic Koshien Stadium in western Japan, where the annual high-school baseball tournament will start in August. (The Wall Street Journal is chronicling one high-school hopeful who dreams of making it to the big leagues.)
    And excite them Otani did. “WAAAAA,” roared the entire stadium when the speed of his second pitch showed on the big board.
    Per 7/19/2014 Japan Times Otani fireballs lead PL past CL in All-Star Game 2
    Shohei Otani ratcheted up the radar gun from the mound and earned the victory on Saturday as the Pacific League All-Stars beat their Central League counterparts 12-6 to earn a split of this summer’s All-Star Series.
    Otani, of the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters, got the better of his starting matchup with fellow 20-year-old Shintaro Fujinami of the Hanshin Tigers in Game 2 at Hyogo Prefecture’s historic Koshien Stadium, where the two once locked horns as high schoolers.
    Otani twice equaled the speed of the fastest pitch thrown in Japan league play (162 kph) in his one-inning stint. The right-hander allowed one run on three hits, while striking out one. The record for the fastest pitch in a league game is 162 kph, set by reliever Marc Kroon of the Yomiuri Giants in 2008. The fastest official pitch by a Japanese pitcher was 161 kph by the Yakult Swallows’ Yoshinori Sato in 2010.
    Opposing batters per charts in yakyubaka.com 7/19/2014 article [7/19/2014] Mazda All-Star Series 2014: Shohei Otani tops out at 162km/h
  • (j3) Kroon 162 Per USA Today 'Rock star' clocked at 101 mph in Japan tries out for Giants by Bob Nightengale 3/7/2011
    So was a legend once his fastball was clocked at 161 kilometers (100 mph) in 2005, a Japanese record. He set it again in 2008 by throwing 101 mph.
    Per Baseball Reference - Marc Kroon
    After a relatively undistinguished career in organized baseball, Marc Kroon repeatedly broke the Nippon Pro Baseball record for fastest pitch during the 2005 season (in which he replaced Kazuhiro Sasaki as Yokohama's closer). Previously the record was 158 km/h (98 mph) by Hideki Irabu, Kazuo Yamaguchi and Ryota Igarashi. On April 30th, Kroon tied the old mark. He then broke it with 159 kph (on May 11th), then 161 km/h on July 19th to become the first 100 mph pitcher in NPB history. Not content with that, he threw one at 162 km/h (101 mph) on August 11th - the 4th time this season he got his name into the record book for the fastest pitch. 
    Per Japan Ball 7/20/2012 Japanese high school pitcher hits 160-kph mark in game
    The Japanese mark for fastest pitch is held by American Marc Kroon who threw a pitch 162 kph (a little 100 mph) on June 1, 2008, while pitching for the Yomiuri Giants. Yakult Swallows pitcher Yoshinori Sato threw a pitch 161 kph on August 26, 2010. The most recent pitcher to throw 160 kph or over was American Canadian Scott Mathieson who hit 160 kph on the radar gun on July 5 of this season in a game against the DeNA Bay Stars.
  • (j4) Irabu, Yamaguchi, Igarashi Per Japanese baseball.com 2004 blog posting Fastest Fastball in Japanese Baseball
    Author: torakichi | Posted: Jul 12, 2004
    A couple of years ago, Shinobu Fukuhara threw 157km/h for Hanshin, but then he ruined his arm. After surgery and a lengthy rehabilitation, Fukuhara's back on the mound, but he's not the heater he once was.
    Jingu Bleacher Bum | Posted: Jul 12, 2004 9:35 PM | TYS Fan ]
    Yakult Swallows' reliever Ryota Igarashi tied the NPB record for fastest recorded pitch at Koushien park against the Hanshin Tigers on June 3, 2004, in the bottom of the 9th inning by throwing a 158 kph pitch to Hanshin's Makoto Imaoka. His personal best so far was 157 kph thrown on July 9, 2003 against the Tokyo Giants at Jingu Stadium. He is now tied for the record with Hideki Irabu who hit the 158 mark back in 1993 with the Chiba Lotte Marines, and Kazuo Yamaguchi who did it in 2002 with the Orix Blue Wave.
  • (j5) Mathieson 160 - Per Japan Ball 7/5/2012 Crowd oohs and aahs as Mathieson throws pitch 160 kph
    Scott Mathieson was clocked at 160 kph (100 mph) last night in his relief appearance to close out the game for his fifth save against the DeNA Bay Stars. The last foreign-born pitcher to throw that hard was Marc Kroon who played for the Yokohama Bay Stars and the Yomiuri Giants. Kroon holds the record for the fastest pitch in NPB history (163 kph).
    Mathieson became the fourth player in NPB history to throw 160 kph or over. The other two Japan-based pitchers to achieve that speed were Yakult Swallows pitchers Yoshinori Sato and Lim Chang-Yon.
  • (j6) Mathieson 160 - Per Japan Times 7/8/2012 Balentien having a blast during second season in Japan by Jason Coskrey
    Yomiuri Giants reliever Scott Mathieson unfurled a 160-kph pitch on Thursday against the Yokohama BayStars to become the fourth NPB player to clock 160 during a game, joining Marc Kroon (162), Yoshinori Sato (161) and Lim Chang Yong (160).
    The achievement didn’t elicit much celebration from Mathieson, who says results, not speed, is all he worries about on the mound.
    “As long as I get the guy out, as for the speed, I don’t really care,” Mathieson said at Tokyo Dome on Friday. “As long as they don’t hit it, that’s the main thing.”
  • (j7) Sato 160 2010 - AP article 8/26/2010 Baseball: Sato throws fastest pitch by Japanese player+
    Yakult Swallows right-hander Yoshinori Sato set a new record by a Japanese pitcher when he recorded a fastball at 161 kilometers per hour in a game against the Yokohama BayStars on Thursday.
    Four pitchers, including Sato and former Lotte Marines pitcher Hideki Irabu (Lotte) had been tied at 158 kph for the fastest pitch thrown by a Japanese player.
    Marc Kroon (Yomiuri Giants) hold the Japanese record for the fastest pitch at 162 kph.
    Sato recorded the mark on his fifth pitch against Terrmel Sledge leading off the fifth inning before striking the Yokohama slugger out swinging at Jingu Stadium. 
  • (j8) Igarashi 157 all star record - Per 7/8/2011 NPB Tracker article NPB Bullet Points: Terahara’s An All-Star, Iwakuma’s Coming Back
    Nikkan Sports is speculating that Terahara could challenge the All-Star Game velocity record of 157 kmph, currently held by Ryota Igarashi.
  • (j9) Igarashi 157 all star 2003 - Per 7/17/2003 Japan Times article Tigers dominate as CL tops PL by Dan Latham
    Hanshin slugger Tomoaki Kanemoto belted two homers and teammate George Arias added a solo shot as the Central League beat the Pacific League 5-3 Wednesday night at Chiba Marine Stadium, thereby clinching the 2003 All-Star Series.
    After his second home run, Cabrera vowed to hit a third but instead smacked a 157-kph fastball from Ryota Igarashi between the pitcher’s legs and up the middle for a single.
    “All-Star Games are for the fans and that’s why I went out there and threw as hard as I could because that’s what everyone wants to see,” said Igarashi, who threw nothing but fastballs from the mound. “Sure I gave up a hit to Cabrera, but I’m not disappointed about that at all.”
  • (j10) 2012 Fastest list - Per 11/15/2012 article 2012 Fastball Velocities
  • (j11) 2012 Otani 160 in high school - Per RocketNews24 7/20/2012 Blistering 160km/h (99mph) Fastball Pitched by High School Student
    The baseball world in Japan has been shaken to its core by a pitch so fast it stands among the fastest in the world – and it was done during a high school game.
    The pitch, thrown during a televised semifinal match between Ichinoseki Gakuin and Hanamaki Higashi, has focused all the attention of professional baseball onto young Shohei Otani, the pitcher for Hanamaki Higashi High School.
    Otani’s throw, although exceptional, was hardly a fluke as he was already producing amazingly high speed fastballs starting with a fifth inning 156km/h (97mph) pitch. He managed to top that in the sixth inning with a 159km/h (98mph) scorcher only to surpass himself again immediately afterwards with his 160km/h (99mph) pitch.
  • (j12) 2012 Otani 161 2nd to 161 - Per 8/3/2014 article yakyubaka.com [8/3/2014] Nippon Ham Fighters: Otani hits 161km/h, ties regular season record for Japanese pitcher
    Shohei Otani tied the regular season velocity record for a Japanese pitcher by hitting 161km/h on the radar gun during today's game against the Softbank Hawks at Sapporo Dome.
    The pitch came against Dae-Ho Lee with runners on second and third and two out in the 7th inning.  It Otani's 128th pitch of the day.