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Wladimir Balentien – Home Run King?

Wladimir Balentien home run yakult swallows

Wladimir Balentien hits a 3-run home run for the Yakult Swallows on June 22, 2013

balentin hiroshima home run

Balentien rounds the bases in Hiroshima

coco meter balentien

Coco Meter for Balentien just prior to him tying Japan’s home run record

With 23 games to go in the Nippon Professional Baseball season, my Yakult Swallows have no hope of winning the title this year as they are dead last in the standings. However, there is still much excitement for the team as one of their players is almost a sure bet to set the single-season home run record for Japan. I went to two Swallows games this year, and they were both won by the Swallows thanks to the heroics of Wladimir Balentien.

When I saw them in Hiroshima, Balentien hit a home run with two runners on base. The Swallows beat the Carp 3-0 on that day. Yakult also won when I saw them in Tokyo in August, a day in which Balentien drew two walks, was hit by a pitch, and scored two runs in a 2-1 victory. (Unfortunately, the Swallows are 45-71-2 when I wasn’t in attendance; perhaps they should make sure I’m at all of the games.)

The “Coco Meter” projects 65 HRs for Balentien, which will best the prior record (co-held by Alex Cabrera, Tuffy Rhodes, and Sadaharu Oh) by 10 home runs. He currently has 54 home runs for the season.

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