Archive > 16 October 2009

Kikuchi’s First Day of Meetings

» 16 October 2009 » In mlb prospects, npb draft » 2 Comments

Yusei Kikuchi conducted his first day of meetings on the 16th, and has so far talked with four teams. Here’s what they told him, paraphrased by me:

Orix: “we still have Ichiro’s dormitory room as it was when he played with us.”. From another article: “we developed Ichiro, and Ichiro and So Taguchi train with us in the offseason.”

Seibu: “we had Kazuo Matsui and Daisuke Matsuzaka who made good numbers in Japan and went to the majors.”

Hanshin:”it would be better to build up your technique, physique strength, and mental strength and then trying (MLB).” Hanshin also said they’d be willing to post Kikuchi later on.

Yomiuri: “we’re drafting Hisayoshi Chono. Thanks for your time.” The Giants reportedly didn’t take their full 30 minutes so it looks like they’re serious about Chono.

It’s interesting that Yomiuri is really sticking to it’s foolish guns with Chono, and that Hanshin is already dangling the posting carrot. The mention of posting at this early phase just makes me glad that Steve Phillips isn’t involved. And I give Orix credit for trying, but if Ichiro is a motivating factor for Kikuchi, he could sign with Seattle…

Meanwhile, Japanese Red Sox pitchers Junichi Tazawa and Daisuke Matsuzaka have offered Kikuchi some advice from a far. I translated these directly rather than paraphrasing:

Tazawa: “it’s his own life so I want him to make a choice he won’t regret,” before commenting on his year with the Red Sox, “the training and 2A start were both good. I didn’t make a mistake with the club I chose. I wouldn’t recommend it to just anyone but (the Red Sox development program) was good.”

Matsuzaka: “I thought about it (going to MLB after high school) too, but I didn’t yet have what it would take to make the decision, and I thought I would go after getting results in Japan. If he has confidence that he can do it, either way is good. It’s better that he thinks over a lot of things in this limited time and then decides. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens.”

Continue reading...

Tags: , , , , ,

The Climax Series

» 16 October 2009 » In npb » 2 Comments

…is on justin.tv now.

Continue reading...

213 Draft Candidates

» 16 October 2009 » In amateur baseball, npb draft » Comments Off

A total of 113 high school graduates and 100 college players have declared eligible for this year’s NPB draft. The total of 213 players declaring for the pros out of academic institutions is the highest since the application process has been in place. This figure does not include independent or industrial league players.

If the player does not submit an application, he will not be eligible for the draft on October 29th. Yusei Kikuchi will not be among that group as he turned in his application on time, despite all the scheduled meetings with NPB and MLB teams. Other well known high school names that will be in this year’s draft are Takeru Imamura (Seiho HS), Yoshitomo Tsutsugou (Yokohama HS), Shota Dobayashi (Chukyoudai Chukyou), and Masato Kiyashiki (Kindai Kousen). Some of the big college names entering the draft are Hosei University pitchers Kazuhito Futagami and Hisashi Takeuchi.

Even though all eyes are on Kikuchi whether he declares for the MLB or not, there are number of quality players in the upcoming draft and some teams might be better off focusing on other talents rather than taking their chances on drawing Kikuchi from the box, if he even stays in the NPB draft.

Continue reading...

Tags: , , , , , ,

Hanshin’s Shopping List

» 16 October 2009 » In mlb, nichibei, npb » 9 Comments

The news about Hanshin’s list of offseason acquisition targets is flying fast and furious. It kind of reminds me of this old Onion article. Here’s what I’ve seen so far.

Via NPB Free Agency…

  • Shugo Fujii (Nippon Ham) — this probably makes the most sense of any of these acquisitions. Fujii wouldn’t make the Tigers a championship club on his own though
  • Hiroyuki Kobayashi (Lotte) — another rather low risk, medium reward type

Via Trade…

  • GG Sato (Seibu) — coming off a career year
  • Shunsuke Watanabe (Lotte) — can’t see Lotte moving him, but would be interesting to see how he adjusts to the Central League
  • Nagisa Arakaki (SoftBank) — one of my favorite pitchers, but has been hurt for the last two years

From Korea…

  • Brad Thomas (Korea, Hanwha Eagles) — former Nippon Ham Fighter
  • Rick Guttoromson (Korea, Kia Tigers) — Sports Hochi reported on him and Thomas
  • Kim Tae-Gyun (Korea, Hanwha Eagles) — Matt tipped me off to this info on Kim
  • Lee Bum-Ho (Korea, Hanwha Eagles) — Matt also pointed out that if the already last-place Hanwha loses all these guys, they might as well field a him of himself, me and Shinsano

Possible MLB Returnees…

  • Hideki Matsui (NY Yankees) has been speculated over since the summer, seems like Matsui will get chances to stay in MLB
  • Masahide Kobayashi (ex Cleveland Indians) — makes sense, I wonder if they went after him during the season
  • Kenji Johjima (Seattle Mariners) — reports in the Japanese media say that he has an escape clause in his contract allowing him to return to Japan. Cot’s knows nothing about this. Hanshin is said to be prepared to offer 500m yen annually (about $5m), so for this to work Joh would have to take a pay cut, and the Mariners would have to not convince him to stay
  • Akinori Iwamura (Tampa Bay Rays) — saw some speculation about this a week or two ago, Iwamura didn’t say much other than that he would go where he was evaluated the most highly

There are also reports that Hanshin is going to be looking to the US market as usual, but I haven’t seen any legitimate names published yet. Hanshin sent team president Nobuo Minami to the States this season in an effort to learn how to evaluate US-based players. In the process, he had his picture taken with Bobby Cox, and met with the GMs of the Braves, Yankees, Mets, as well as front office personnel from the Red Sox.

What do NPB fans think? Would any of these moves make Hanshin the team to beat next year?

Continue reading...

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,