Archive > 06 October 2009

Ryota Igarashi Eyeing MLB

» 06 October 2009 » In mlb prospects, nichibei, npb » 1 Comment

One of the few free agents in the NPB this off-season, Yakult fireballer Ryota Igarashi is reportedly eyeing a move to the MLB. According to sources he has already been listing notable agents to help his transition and negotiation process. In the previous off-season he trained at one of the Athlete’s Performance training facilities, which increased his desire to play overseas.

Igarashi has made an impressive comeback from his elbow surgery in 2006 as he carries a 3.31ERA yielding 51.2 innings allowing 42H, 19ER, 20BB with 43K this season. Concerns for his elbow has diminished as specialist Dr. Lewis Yocum has gave him a clean bill of health during the previous off-season. Igarashi went on the injured list on August 30th with a hip injury, but he is currently back with the team and it did not seem serious (Bullpen Session Clip).

Igarashi has been one of the few NPB players who have been hinting a desire to play in the MLB this season. His pitching style has matured in recent years and he’s mixed in some occasional breaking pitches to compliment his power fastball. The real test for him will be how his fastball plays in a league with more power bats. The Tokyo Yakult Swallows are currently fighting for the last playoff spot and Igarashi has not commented on the report, but we should know more once the Swallows’ season concludes.

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Kikuchi War Begins

» 06 October 2009 » In amateur baseball, international baseball, mlb prospects, nichibei, npb draft » Comments Off

Yusei Kikuchi completed his high school career and decision time is drawing near. He declared for pro turning in his draft application on October 5th, which he may start talking with teams from the following day. It was first believed he will only talk to couple MLB teams, but he changed his mind and has decided to talk with all teams that shows interest. Sponichi states Kikuchi’s side is planning to start talk with teams from the 13th Japan time. Manager Hiroshi Sasaki will be in charge of all talks as Kikuchi’s class schedule will not be able to create equal time availability for all teams. (for more, please see Yakyu Baka’s full article on Kikuchi’s press conference)

As more than 20 teams from NPB and MLB combined are thought to be interested, it is stated that he will start talking with one team at a time beginning with NPB teams. A Nikkan Sports article lists that NPB teams other than the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants (who have decided to go with Hisayoshi Chono) and Baystars, Carp, and Hawks are thought to be using their first-round pick for Yusei Kikuchi.

MLB teams listed in the same article that are believed to be interested are the Dodgers, Yankees, Giants, Cubs, Braves, Twins, Mets, Mariners, Rangers, Indians, Tigers, and the Phillies. The list seems to be growing every minute.

A big decision which could change the structure of amateur baseball in Japan is in Kikuchi’s hands. This is just the first stage of his decision… NPB or the MLB. After following this story for until now, my big decision at the same age to come to the United States for undergraduate studies seems just a little bit lame.

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