Following Japanese Baseball, Part 4: Twitter

» 20 April 2014 » In npb » 2 Comments

This is part four in a multi-part series. Part one on English-language news sources and blogs on Japanese baseball can be found here; part two on online communities is here; part three on watching games online is here.


After having this is draft mode for over a month it’s time to finally kick this one over the finish line.

Despite, or maybe because of, it’s limitations, Twitter has become a ubiquitous part of the media. To cite an off-topic example, I was watching a boxing match last week, and the broadcast included the ring announcer’s Twitter handle, right beneath where his name was shown on the screen.

Japanese baseball is no exception to Twitter’s ubiquity. NPB Tracker (@npbtracker) has had a Twitter presence for almost five years, but there are many, many accounts that update more frequently and are more adept at cramming witticisms into 140 characters. I’ve compiled this admittedly brief list as a starting point for newcomers to the scene.

The Writers:

@JCoskrey
@JballAllen
@JNYakyu
@kaznagatsuka

Fans & Bloggers:

@Kazuto_Yamazaki
@osaki_makkura
@janblurr
@NPB_Reddit
@yakyunightowl
@RealKenDick
@MyKBO
@lovelovemarines
@marinerds

Players:

@CJNitkowski
@brandonmmann
@HeyBarn

I gathered this list by signing into Twitter and looking at who had been active on my timeline, so this might be a bit random and there’s a chance I may have missed a few good accounts. As always, feel free to point out any omissions.

Now I guess I need one of those buttons that says “Tweet this article.”

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Japan Baseball Weekly Podcast

» 14 April 2014 » In Uncategorized » 2 Comments

This weekend I had the pleasure of filling in for Jim Allen as a host of the Japan Baseball Weekly Podcast. You can download here, from the top of the list.

John Gibson and I had to contend with the head cold I’ve been suffering, time zone differences and flakey Skype performance, but we battled through and had a great discussion about Lastings Milledge and the Yakult Swallows, the juiced ball controversy du jour, and the state of the Pacific League. I hope you’ll enjoy listening to it.

Thanks John for having me on! I’m looking forward to taking part again!

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3/11

» 10 March 2014 » In something else » 6 Comments

It’s been three years since the devastating Tohoku Earthquake. I’ll never forget where I was when I found out, but more than that I’ll never forget the tension of the next several weeks, with the instability of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and the many significant aftershocks looming over Tohoku, Japan, and the extended region. While the subsequent weeks and months came and went without an additional tsunami-scale disaster, the Tohoku region is still recovering, and the threats of Fukushima’s irradiation linger. “Ganbarou Tohoku” remains an important concept. I don’t think I have any profound commentary here, but on this anniversary I’m renewing my hope that the Tohoku region’s recovery presses onward, and that the world is better prepared for the next natural disaster.

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Following Japanese Baseball, Part 3: Watching Online

» 08 March 2014 » In npb » 16 Comments

This is part 3 in a multi-part series. Part one on English-language news sources and blogs on Japanese baseball can be found here; part two on online communities is here.

During the season, the question I am most frequently asked is “how can I watch Japanese baseball games?” Unfortunately NPB’s online media efforts to date aren’t quite on part with mlb.tv; this is an area where NPB collectively should take a good, hard look at what MLB Advanced Media has done and try to emulate it. But fortunately, there are a few options out there:

  • The Pacific League streams games online via it’s Pa League TV service (link to a Japanese site). It costs JPY 1500 (about $15) per month, and I haven’t tried it in previous seasons because it tends to be unavailable outside Japan. They do have highlights that I’ve been able to watch so far this year, however. Since this is a Pacific League service, Central League games (except for interleague) are not broadcast.
  • American cable tv network One World Sports began broadcasting Yomiuri Giants home games last season, both live and on tape delay. This would be a great option for many US viewers, but unfortunately One World Sports doesn’t seem to be widely carried on cable systems yet. They do provide programming online, so hopefully that includes Giants games this year.
  • Some teams officially stream some of their games and workouts. Here are the ones I know of: Softbank Hawks, Chunichi Dragons, Pacific League.
  • Less officially, it’s pretty easy to find games streamed on services like justin.tv and ustream.tv. Twitter users such as @spartiecat and @yakyunightowl frequently tweet out the streams they find, and the Reddit NPB wiki includes a guide for finding streams. Justin.tv archives broadcasts for some users, which is helpful for people like me who can’t necessarily watch games in the Japanese time zone.
  • And last but not least, while this is not live video, blog sites We Love Marines and Tokyo Swallows post game reports for Lotte and Yakult respectively.

The normal disclaimer goes here: if there’s another option I’ve neglected to include, please drop me a line.

Using a combination of all these techniques, a US-based yakyu otaku like me can reasonably watch NPB a couple times a week. What I would really like to have is a paid service, with every game in both leagues available live and on demand available without geographic restrictions, that works on my TV, computer, iPhone and iPad. If something like that was available I would gladly pay about JPY 20,000 ($200) a year for it. Pa League TV is reasonably priced though; if that works outside of Japan once the regular season begins I’ll probably give it a shot.

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Following Japanese Baseball, Part 2: Pro Yakyu Communities

» 06 March 2014 » In npb » 11 Comments

This is part 2 in a multi-part series. Part one on English-language news sources and blogs on Japanese baseball can be found here.

Back in the nascent years of Pro Yakyu otaku-ism, when I was interested in Japanese baseball but lacked the requisite language skills, I had one source of information: JapaneseBaseball.com. I discovered it one day in 1997 or ’98, when I decided to type japanesebaseball.com into Netscape’s location bar and see if there was anything there. To my great benefit, there was, and over the years I learned a lot from reading through the forum postings.

Communities are important; no one has a monopoly on information and ideas. This site is kind of like my own monologue but it’s benefited from the discussion contributions of commenters like passerby, EJH, and Westbaystars, to name a few; and the other writers who have written articles for the site. At it’s peak, JapaneseBaseball.com was a shining example of an online community, with many engaged posters, thoughtfully moderated by Westbaystars.

JapaneseBaseball.com’s forums haven’t gone away, but the aren’t quite as active as they once were. Over the past year or so, a couple of alternatives have emerged:

  • The Pro Yakyu Google+ group, curated by Michael Westbay. This group is open to the public, and I am member. This is a great way to stay on top of NPB news and podcasts.
  • An NPB Reddit community popped up last July probably in the last month or two (I discovered it via referral traffic). In addition to news postings, there are some community-oriented topics like this one.

It takes real work to maintain an online community, so my appreciation goes out to Westbay-san and the mystery man who moderates NPB Reddit. If you’re looking for more places to keep up with Japanese baseball, I heartily recommend all of the above options.

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Following Japanese Baseball, Part 1: Online Text

» 03 March 2014 » In npb » 21 Comments

Back when I announced my return to writing, one of the topics I intended to pursue was some guidelines for how to follow Japanese baseball without know the Japanese language. It took me almost a year to get to it, but here we are.

One of my frequently asked questions is “how can I follow Japanese baseball from the US?” I’m happy to say that thanks to the Web, it’s pretty doable. But unfortunately some of this stuff is fairly well-hidden, my hope is to have something of a guide available. My plan is to break this into three or four posts: this one for writers, another for Twitter, one for video, and then any miscellany if necessary.

On with the show. If you want to read up on NPB or Japanese baseball in general, you now have plenty of options. Here are my favorites:

The Beat

  • Japan Times columnist Wayne Graczyk is probably the dean of active Yakyu writers.
  • Robert Whiting is kind of the dean emeritus to Wayne’s dean. I don’t think he’s regularly publishing articles, but he does turn up from time to time.
  • The Japan Times has doubles its quality coverage with Jason Coskrey, who has also written for ESPN.
  • John Gibson writes for the Daily Yomiuri and One World Sports. I don’t think his Yomiuri work is online, but his One World Sports work is.
  • Jim Allen has been writing about Pro Yakyu since the mid-90′s. He’s currently with Kyodo, and I suspect his work is buried behind a paywall. But fear not! Because the next bullet point makes up for it.
  • Additionally, John and Jim host an excellent weekly podcast, which can be downloaded from iTunes or John’s page on Japanesebaseball.com. They were even kind enough to have me on a couple months ago.

The Blogosphere

  • Any summary of the Yakyu Blogosphere has to begin with Michael Westbay, the founder and operator of JapaneseBaseball.com. JapaneseBaseball.com has been an invaluable resource to me, particularly early on in my pursuit of Pro Yakyu knowledge in the late-90′s/early-00′s. Without JapaneseBaseball.com and it’s vibrant community, I never would have learned enough to start this site. Westbay-san also blogs, has written for Baseball Magazine, and did a video podcast throughout 2013.
  • Any summary of the Yakyu Blogosphere has to continue with Gen Sueyoshi and YakyuBaka.com. If you want a place to keep up with the daily and even hourly goings-on of Japanese baseball, YakyBaka.com is the single best resource available.
  • Deanna Rubin doesn’t seem to be actively updating her Marinerds site, but the archives are well worth a visit. You’ll tons of pics and information about college ball, ni-gun, indy leagues and minor league ball. Plus, Deanna got recognized by a reader last year when we went to the WBC final in San Francisco.
  • Japanese Baseball Cards is, helpfully, exactly what it sounds like.
  • I hadn’t looked at A Noboru Aota Fan’s Notes for years before writing this post, but it’s still going and still deeply historical.
  • Jan Benner’s blog covers baseball in Germany, Japan and the United States. Jan also contributed an article on German baseball to NPB Tracker a few years ago.
  • If you happen to speak Spanish, check out Claudio Rodriguez’s Beisbol Japanes.

Team-Specific Blogs

  • Love the Chiba Lotte Marines? So does Steve Novosel.
  • The Hanshin-devoted Tiger Tails blog is a wee bit on the pessimistic side.
  • The TokyoSwallows.com is probably closest thing any NPB team has to an English-language online beat. The TS team of writers publishes notes on pretty much every game.
  • Edwin Dizon’s Koukou Yakyu rivals even the most detailed Japanese language high school baseball sites.
  • I hope Dan Kurtz doesn’t mind me lumping MyKBO.net in to this category.

Did I miss anyone? It wasn’t intentional. If I did, please drop me a line in the comments or via email.

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2014 NPB Payrolls

» 25 February 2014 » In npb » 18 Comments

Alright, here we go, it’s time for the always popular post on Japanese team payrolls.

This data comes from the February 3, 2014 edition of Shukan Baseball via their handy iOS appSasuga, Shu-be.

These payroll figures are a little different from MLB numbers in that each team’s payroll covers its entire 70-man shihaika roster. This includes minor leaguers, but not players on the ikusei roster. So the average per player is a bit lower than if it were narrowed down to the top 25 or 40 players. NPB is also a little more egalitarian in the sense that minor leaguers earn a livable wage off.

My US dollar figures are based on an exchange rate of JPY102.5/$1, which was the market rate at the of writing. The Yen has weakened against the US Dollar by about 10 percent over the last year, so take the conversions with a grain of salt.

And aside from that, I’ll let the data speak for itself:

Team League Payroll JPY Payroll USD Average Per Player
Yomiuri Central ¥4,659,100,000 $45.45m 63 players, avg ¥73.95m/$721k
Softbank Pacific ¥4,000,300,000 $39m 65 players, avg ¥61.54/$600k
Hanshin Central ¥3,235,500,000 $31.56m 66 players, avg ¥49.05m/$478k
Rakuten Pacific ¥2,789,800,000 $27.22m 62 players, avg ¥45m/$439k
Chunichi Central ¥2,633,000,000 $25.69m 68 players, avg ¥38.36m/$374k
Lotte Pacific 2,491,450,000 $24.3m 64 players, avg ¥38.93m/$380k
Nippon Ham Pacific ¥2,410,500,000 $23.5m 67 players, avg ¥35.84m/$349k
Orix Pacific ¥2,397,250,000 $23.38m 67 players, avg ¥35.78m/$349k
Yakult Central ¥2,386,200,000 $23.28m 66 players avg ¥36.15m/$353k
Seibu Pacific ¥2,242,600,000 $21.88m 65 players avg ¥34.50m/$340k
Hiroshima Central ¥2,061,170,000 $20.1m 66 players, avg ¥31.23m/$305k
DeNA Central ¥1,9270,000,000 $18.8m 65 players, avg ¥29.65m/$290k

To add context, here are some interesting facts about NPB salaries:

  • 91 NPB players make JPY100m (about $1m) or above. 65 are Japanese, 26 are foreign.
  • Japan’s highest-paid player is Yomiuri catcher Shinnosuke Abe at JPY600m ($6m). He actually turned down a higher salary for Yomiuri, because he felt he was not ready to surpass the JPY610m that Hideki Matsui made in his final season with the Giants.
  • The highest paid foreign player is Rakuten’s Andruw Jones, at JPY400m. I believe he’s being paid in dollars, in the amount of $3.8m. To get a better idea of how foreign players are paid, read this post.
  • The lowest paid shihaika roster player is Rakuten rookie pitcher Ryuta Konno, at JPY4.4m ($44k).

I’ll delve into why Japanese baseball salaries aren’t higher in a later article.

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Maeda, Through the Lens of His Predecessors

» 24 February 2014 » In mlb prospects, nichibei, npb » 8 Comments

In recent weeks, I’ve written about some of the better MLB prospects who are currently active in Japan, and looked back at some of skills that have translated well from NPB to MLB. Now we’ll see how Japan’s Next Top Pitcher, Kenta Maeda, stacks up against his most recent predecessors.

Maeda let the cat out of the bag during his 2014 contract negotiations that he wants to play in MLB in the future, leading to widespread speculation that he’ll be posted following this season. Let’s assume, for the sake of this article, that he enjoys another Maeda-esque season in 2014 and is indeed posted after the season. What will he bring to the MLB negotiating table? Here’s my breakdown of his strengths and weaknesses:

Maeda’s strengths:

  • A fastball that won’t be a liability at the MLB level.
  • An ability to locate at least two breaking pitches, a slider and a changeup.
  • He gets his curve into the strike zone as well.
  • An ability to suppress hits. Maeda has allowed just 7.51 per 9IP over his 1116.1 inning career. In 2013, he allowed just 6.61 hits per 9IP.
  • Health and durability. Maeda has never had a serious injury, and has topped 175 IP in each of the last five seasons.
  • Consistency. Maeda’s WHIPs over the last four years: 0.98, 1.02, 0.99, 0.99.

Maeda’s weaknesses:

  • Overall his stuff is just not as whiff-inducing as Yu Darvish’s or Masahiro Tanaka’s.
  • He has lacked the eye-popping K:BB ratios of guys like Tanaka, Koji Uehara or Colby Lewis, though he is no slouch at about 5:1.
  • I’ve noticed he can nibble a bit.
  • On my list, Maeda’s build and stuff resemble’s Kenshin Kawakami’s more than anyone else.

I started off being pretty lukewarm on Maeda, but I’ve warmed up quite a bit. He doesn’t measure up to Darvish or Tanaka, but that’s setting the bar pretty impossibly high. Kawakami might be the best comparable among NPB starters who have made it to MLB in the last five years, but Maeda is younger, healthier and more consistent than Kawakami was. And let’s also remember that Kawakami was something like an average National League starter in his first MLB season. My guess is that Maeda can hack it in MLB, though he’s probably a mid-rotation guy.

Of course, the 2014 season hasn’t yet begun, and anything can happen. But I don’t really expect Maeda to deviate much from the consistent performance he’s shown over the last five years.

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What If Japanese Players Were Compensated With Equity?

» 17 February 2014 » In npb, something else, sports business » 3 Comments

When Rakuten was mulling over what to do with Masahiro Tanaka last December, a thought occurred to me: what if Rakuten came up with a compensation package that included company stock? Obviously Rakuten was never going to approach what Tanaka ultimately got from the Yankees, but if they had offered him, say, a grant of one million shares in Rakuten (TYO: 4755), that would have been a little more creative than just offering to double his salary. Of course in the end they did neither.

Unlike Major League teams, which are mostly owned by groups of wealthy individuals, Japanese baseball clubs are mostly subsidiaries of large corporations. While a few clubs are significant sources of revenue, many are operated as marketing loss leaders for their parent corporations. Rakuten’s Golden Eagles club, for example, seems to fit in to the latter category.

In my industry (technology/software), it’s commonplace to compensate employees with company equity, usually in the form of incentive stock options or restricted stock units. Japanese companies seem to prefer cash bonuses as variable compensation, but that bit of reality wasn’t enough to dissuade me from this thought exercise:

What if Japanese teams partially compensated their players with company stock? Would the players be better or worse off?

To explore the question, I took a player drafted at some point over the last ten years from each team owned by a publicly-traded company, and estimated how much money they’d have today if they had taken 10% of their draft signing bonus in company stock. I deliberately chose first round picks that haven’t panned out for this exercise.

The results are below, but before we get to them, here are some points to remember:

  • This is a thought exercise. I’m not suggesting that anyone should do this.
  • The starting share value is the closing price on December 1 of the year the player was drafted.
  • Share values are as of market close on February 14, 2014.
  • Lotte, Seibu, Yomiuri, and Chunichi are privately held, so they aren’t included here.
  • The currency unit is Japanese yen. If you’re more comfortable with US dollars, JPY 100m is about $1m, and JPY 10m is about $100k.
  • I didn’t account for dividends, and fortunately none of these stocks split over the periods I looked at.
  • If you find mistakes in my calculations please let me know.
  • I cheated for DeNA. Kota Suda was drafted and played his rookie season under Yokohama’s previous Tokyo Broadcasting System ownership. But this is a thought exercise, and it wouldn’t be fun looking at TBS’s stock, or a very recent DeNA draftee. So we’re clear, I denoted Suda with **.
Team/Parent Corporation Player Year Drafted Signing Bonus 2014 Share Value (est) % Change Notes
Rakuten Shingo Matsuzki 2005 JPY 80m JPY 13.504m 68.8% It was a pain to get this data, since Rakuten switched from the JASDAQ to the Tokyo Stock Exchange
Softbank Shingo Tatsumi 2008 JPY 100m JPY 47.596m 475.96% Softbank is the clear financial winner here
Orix Daisuke Nobue 2006 JPY 70m JPY 3.6211m -48.32% Orix took a beating in the financial crisis of 2008 but followed the market up a bit in 2013
Nippon Ham (Nippon Meat Packers) Ken Miyamoto 2006 JPY 90m JPY 11.574m 28.6% Stagnant until Abenomics kicked in in 2013
Hanshin (Hankyu Hanshin Holdings) Ikketsu Sho 2008 JPY 100m JPY 10.905m 9.05% Hankyu/Hanshin an old, mature business
Hiroshima (Mazda) Michito Miyazaki 2006 JPY100m JPY 6.097m -39.13% Mazda is profitable, but share price was diluted by a large public offering in 2012
Yokohama DeNA** Kota Suda 2010 JPY 100m JPY 8.764m -12.36% DeNA seems to be performing well financially but in an inherently risky market (mobile games)
Yakult Mikinori Katoh 2007 JPY 100m JPY 17.721m 77.21% Yakult finished in last in the standings in 2013, but the parent company’s stock surged

To my surprise, most of the players would have come out ahead, with only Orix and Mazda really taking a beating. And even then, both were casualties of the 2008 global financial crisis and clawed back share value in 2013.

It’s not much of a surprise to see Softbank and Rakuten at the top of the growth table, as both are giants consolidating positions of global leadership in their industries (mainly telecommunications and e-commerce, respectively). It is a bit of a surprise to see Yakult up there, I haven’t looked into that one. I thought DeNA would have grown more, but they do seem to have a diversification problem and are in a notoriously fickle market (mobile games).

It would be irresponsible to write a post like this and not point out that much of the growth listed here happened in 2013, fueled by Abenomics monetary policy. While Abenomics seems to have coincided with stock market growth, there has also been some volatility, and it obviously remains to be seen if it leads to the end of Japan’s long problem with stagnation.

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Who’s Next?

» 15 February 2014 » In mlb prospects, nichibei » 15 Comments

Within minutes of Masahiro Tanaka signing with the Yankees, I started getting questions on Twitter about the next star out of Japan.

The short answer is that there’s no one of Tanaka’s caliber that we’ll see in MLB in the next few years.The longer answer is that there are a number of interesting pitchers currently active in Japan who could eventually wind up in North America. Here are the ones I’m watching most closely.

Kenta Maeda RHP starter, Hiroshima Carp: Maeda is Tanaka’s heir apparent as Japan’s best pitcher, but he grades well below Ma-Kun as an MLB prospect, both on pure stuff and statistical dominance. On this list, he compares most closely to Kenshin Kawakami, but with the advantages of youth and health. A reasonable expectation is that he’ll be a viable mid/back rotation starter for someone. Maeda is expected to be posted following the 2014 season, so we should see him in MLB in 2015.

Chihiro Kaneko RHP starter, Orix Buffaloes: Kaneko is pretty good, but for whatever reason, frequently overlooked in discussions about Japan’s best pitchers. He’s a bit less consistent than Maeda, but has more breaking stuff and generates a few more whiffs. Kaneko is eligible for domestic, NPB-only free agency after the 2014 season, and there are already rumors that Yomiuri is going to go after him. If he wants to play in MLB it likely wouldn’t be until 2016 at the soonest.

Seung-Hwan Oh RHP closer, Hanshin Tigers: 2014 will be Oh’s first year in NPB, having spent his career to this point in Korea. He was expected to move to MLB this past offseason, but wound up signing a two-year deal with Hanshin instead. The thought is that he could move on to MLB at the conclusion of his contract, so that would be 2016. I haven’t seen Oh yet so I haven’t formed an opinion of him as a prospect.

Hideaki Wakui, RHP starter, Chiba Lotte Marines: A few years ago, Wakui would have ranked among Japan’s better MLB prospects, but now he’s a bit of a question mark. He hit his peak in 2009, winning the Sawamura Award, but overuse, a contentious relationship with his team, girl trouble, and possible conditioning problems has resulted in several steps backward. I’ve been hearing for years that Wakui wants to move to MLB; he signed a two-year contract with Lotte this offseason where he could rebuild value.

Takuya Asao, RHP reliever, Chunichi Dragons: Asao was so dominant in 2011 that won the 2011 Central League MVP Award, despite pitching in middle relief. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been the same since, suffering from shoulder discomfort and pitching 30 and 30.2 in 2012 and 2013 respectively. If he’s healthy, there’s no doubt his stuff — mid-90s fastball, hard splitter, funky palmball — is good enough for MLB. He’s a few years away from free agency so we’ll see what happens.

Yusei Kikuchi, LHP starter, Seibu Lions: Kikuchi made waves in 2009 for considering forgoing NPB to sign with an MLB club. He ultimately remained in Japan, and was drafted by Seibu. In 2013, Kikuchi was in the midst of making good on the potential that made him such a hot commodity as a high school prospect when he was stricken with shoulder inflammation and lost for the season. It obviously remains to be seen how he’ll fare when he returns, but so far he’s at least show that he can turn his ability in to results. Kikuchi is at least six years away from free agency.

Shohei Ohtani RHP starter/OF, Nippon Ham Fighters: Here’s where it gets interesting. Like Kikuchi, Ohtani also showed an interest in jumping right to MLB out of high school. Unlike Kikuchi, he seemed intent on actually doing it, but Nippon Ham drafted him anyway and eventually convinced him to sign. Despite flashing 100mph heat in high school, Ohtani opened the 2013 season as Nippon Ham’s starting right fielder. A few months later, he made his ichi-gun debut on the mound, and pitched 61.2 innings, becoming the first nitouryu (double-bladed) player since Yozo Nagabuchi in 1968. Ohtani’s offseason training centered on pitching, but he’ll reportedly continue to play both positions this season. Nippon Ham has been publicly supportive of sending Ohtani to MLB after a few years of seasoning, but of course that was before this posting system nonsense took place.

Shintaro Fujinami RHP starter, Hanshin Tigers: Ohtani’s 2013 rookie brethren Fujinami might not be as flashy, but he’s a lot more polished. Fujinami opened the 2013 as Hanshin’s third starter, and essentially stuck in the rotation for the duration of the season, an impressive feat for an 18 year-old. At this point, Fujinami probably has the best potential of any pitcher on this list. He already shows polish and pitchability, and he’s extremely lanky 6’7. As he fills out and adds strength, it’s reasonable to expect that he could develop a bit more fastball velocity, and handle more innings pitched. At age 19 he’s a long way away from free agency and MLB, but if 2013 is any indication fans on both sides of the Pacific have a lot to look forward to.

Tomohiro Anraku RHP starter Saibi High School: Anraku’s still a high school student, but he’s an interesting prospect. Clearly the top player in last year’s spring Koshien Sembatsu tournament, he was famously pitched into the ground by his manager. The bodily wear he sustained from the effort led to worse performances later in the year, and his stock as an NPB draft prospect has dropped. We don’t know what 2014 holds, but it’s conceivable that he could follow in Kikuchi and Ohtani’s footsteps as a player who tests the MLB waters out of high school.

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