The Carp continued to improve in 2014, raising their record to 74-68-2 for a second consecutive third-place finish. There were no playoff heroics this year, however, as the Carp were eliminated in two games by the Hanshin Tigers in the first stage of the Climax Series.
The team had several bright spots in 2014, and they look to build on them next year. Ryosuke Kikuchi emerged as a rising star at second base, hitting .325 with 11 home runs. Centerfielder Yoshihiro Maru continued to develop, setting career highs with a .310 average, 19 home runs and 67 runs batted in. Ace Kenta Maeda saw a bit of a drop in his performance, but he still finished 11-10 with a solid 2.60 earned run average. Ironically, that drop off in his production now looks like good news for the Carp as it may have prevented the star from jumping to the North American major leagues. Rookie Daichi Ohsera showed plenty of potential as well, finishing the year at 10-8.
Unfortunately the Carp will be losing two of their most productive imported players. Central League home run king Brad Eldred and relief ace Kam Mickolio are moving on, leaving large holes to fill. Dominican outfielder Rainel Rosario, who hit .336 in limited playing time in 2014, looks poised to fill the void in the lineup, but the closer’s role remains a question mark.