Archive > 18 October 2009

Kikuchi Meetings: Day Two

» 18 October 2009 » In mlb prospects, nichibei, npb draft » 2 Comments

On Day Two, Yusei Kikuchi met with the eight remaining NPB teams, thus concluding the NPB portion of his schedule. Word is that he’s still 50-50 on which league he chooses, and that should he choose NPB, he doesn’t have a preference on which team he plays for.

Here’s what Kikuchi had to say about the meetings: “I like baseball talk, so it was easy to have the talks. There are a lot of fans in Japan, and solid player development systems. In the case I play in Japan and am drafted, I would give my best effort to any of the 12 teams.”

And his manage, the omnipresent Hiroshi Sasaki: “Each team has it’s own system for maturing individuals. To wait until the last moment before the draft to answer would be an annoyance to the teams, so we should give a decision as quickly as possible after the MLB meetings end.”

Here’s what each of the teams had to say about the situation, again summarized and paraphrased by me:

Chunichi: “Even if there’s only a 1% chance, we’re still going to take the plunge on that arm. We’ll go every day (to see him) until the end of March (when the signing period ends).” Chunichi Chief Scout Hayakawa quoted in Sponichi.

Nippon Ham: “He had extreme interest in things like ‘would Darvish coach me technically?” GM Yamada quoted in Sponichi. Nippon Ham also told Kikuchi “they will select him with their first pick” to which Kikuchi replied “thank you very much”.

Rakuten: “He’s a franchise player. By all means, we want him to play in Tohoku. We’re still a young team, so let’s make team history.” Rakuten team representive Yoneda quoted in Daily Sports.

Yokohama: Yokohama’s first pick was thought to be slugger Yoshitomo Tsutusgo, but chief scout Horii has revealed that Kikuchi is still in the picture. Quoted in Nikkan Sports, Horii told Kikuchi “we haven’t decided on Tsutsugo as our first pick.”

Yakult: “By all means we want this treasure of the baseball world to perform in Japan.” Unattributed quote from the Daily Yomiuri.

Chiba Lotte: “He’s better than our own Yuuki Karakawa.” Senior Scout Matsumoto, quoted in Sponichi.

Hiroshima: The Carp are reportedly out on Kikuchi and will take Seiho HS righty Takeru Imamura, the pitcher who beat Kikuchi’s Hanamaki Higashi at Koshien, with their first pick.

SoftBank: Like the Carp, the Hawks are looking at Imamura as an option for their first pick, and have mostly been quiet on Kikuchi. SoftBank has plenty of pitching, so Tsutsugo probably makes the most sense for them.

Conventional American logic would dictate that Yokohama BayStars, who finished last yet again this year, should have the first overall pick in the draft. That’s not how it works in NPB. For an explanation, please see Ryo’s draft primer.

It’s being reported that as many as ten teams could choose Kikuchi in the first round, which break the previous record of eight set in 1989 by Hideo Nomo. I’d be little surprised if that happens, but if he stays in Japan he’ll have plenty of suitors. There’s really no downside to selecting Kikuchi in the first round (unless you really want Hisayoshi Chono); even if a majority of teams choose him, only one will get to his rights, and most of the other good players will still be on the table.

After a one-day breather, Kikuchi will begin meeting with MLB teams on the 20th. It’ll be interesting to see if the teams come armed with financial offers in hand. We already know what the NPB teams are restricted to a max bonus of about $1m, incentives of about $500k, and first year salary about $150k. We can reasonably expect MLB clubs to outbid NPB here, but by how much and under what terms remains to be seen. This is where the saga really starts, and we’ll learn more over the next few days.

edit – corrected number of teams that drafted Nomo.

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-10-18

» 18 October 2009 » In Uncategorized » Comments Off

  • Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-10-11:
    Marty Brown Done in Hiroshima: Hiroshima’s most recent loss elimi.. http://bit.ly/EXUmx #
  • New York Mets interested in Hideki Matsui? http://bit.ly/txcZI #
  • Yu Darvish should be ready for game 4 in the second round of the Championship Series: http://tinyurl.com/yh5ckb6 #
  • Will Kudoh Get a Shot?: If 46-year old lefthander Kimiyasu Kudoh looks to MLB, will there be any takers?
    In rec.. http://bit.ly/147eWy #
  • Tokyo Big 6 Baseball League Update Week 5: Yuki Saito throws 4.0IP, 7H, 2ER, 2BB with 4K for 94 pitches. Tournament ERA is 2.35 in 4G. #
  • 米メディアによると、来季ハマの監督にボビーが浮上: ボビー・バレンタインを来季監督として考えているのはメジャー球団だけには限らないようだ。
    あるメジャーリーグのソースによると #
  • Regular Season Ends for NPB: The NPB regular season concluded in both leagues and the championship series will .. http://bit.ly/dLo5R #
  • Kikuchi’s October Schedule: Update: Added some details from Nikkan Sports.
    Sanspo has gotten a hold of Yu.. http://bit.ly/4rH55D #
  • Who is Yusei Kikuchi?: Barring Junichi Tazawa, more has been written in the North American press about Yusei Ki.. http://bit.ly/19mF5K #
  • Hiroki Kuroda will be starting Game 3 of the NLDS for the Dodgers: http://tinyurl.com/yfkxf4h #
  • Seibu Lions is the first team to meet with Yusei Kikuchi: http://www.sponichi.co.jp/baseball/flash/KFullFlash20091015021.html #
  • Update: Kikuchi’s MLB Meetings; Red Sox in the Mix?: Nikkan Sports has an updated version of what I poste.. http://bit.ly/hHmhL #
  • Japan’s Answer to the Arizona Fall League: Japan’s answer to the Arizona Fall League is the Miyazak.. http://bit.ly/MMUYD #
  • The Red Sox removed Takashi Saito from their 40-man roster on Thursday by outrighting the right-handed reliever: http://tinyurl.com/yfushwd #
  • Return of Yu Darvish for the Championship Series unlikely: http://bit.ly/2cc2VC #
  • Hanshin’s Shopping List: The news about Hanshin’s list of offseason acquisition targets is flying fa.. http://bit.ly/154O0O #
  • Eagles take Game 1: Offense explodes with 12 hits for 11 runs, Iwakuma pitches a CG (6H, 4R (2ER), 2BB, 7K) for 132 pitches. #
  • 213 Draft Candidates: A total of 113 high school graduates and 100 college players have declared eligible for th.. http://bit.ly/1CQLui #
  • The Climax Series: …is on justin.tv now. http://bit.ly/aceXv #
  • Kikuchi’s First Day of Meetings: Yusei Kikuchi conducted his first day of meetings on the 16th, and has so.. http://bit.ly/SUqlV #
  • Rakuten moving on to the second round versus Fighters: Masahiro Tanaka throws a CG (7H, ER, 9K) for a total of 123 pitches. #
  • Wei-Yin Chen struggling in the 7th inning allowing a 2-run HR to D'Antona and the Swallows take the lead for the first time. #
  • Ryota Igarashi update: Faces four batters and walks two; Hands the ball to Lim for the final four outs. #
  • Swallows take game one, 3-2, with a come-from-behind win as Lim closed the door. Norichika Aoki goes 2-4 with a RBI and a run scored. #
  • Central League Predictions: How’d I Do?: Okay, so now that the regular season is in the books, let’s.. http://bit.ly/6NOwF #
  • Japanese Pitchers in Arizona Fall League: For the first time in Arizona Fall League’s 17-year history, pla.. http://bit.ly/49K5dI #

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Japanese Pitchers in Arizona Fall League

» 18 October 2009 » In international baseball, nichibei, npb » Comments Off

For the first time in Arizona Fall League’s 17-year history, players from teams outside of Major League Baseball have been invited to take part in the league. NPB has agreed to send five pitchers to participate in the league.

LHP Hiroshi Katayama (Golden Eagles) and RHP Toshiyuki Yanuki (Fighters) is on the Phoenix Sea Dogs roster. RHP Tooru Murata (Giants), RHP Ken Nishimura (Tigers) and LHP Takanobu Tsujiuchi (Giants) will be on the pitching staff of the Scottsdale Scorpions. RHP Kenta Abe (Tigers) will be joining the Scorpions mid-season and switching spots with teammate Nishimura.

This is a great opportunity for Japanese pitching prospects with limited big league experience to mingle with players in the States and face big time prospects like Dustin Ackley and Jason Heyward. It should be a valuable learning experience for the young pitchers and a good relationship builder for NPB and MLB. The ability to bring in players from around the globe to participate in the Arizona Fall League can be a huge opportunity for the MLB to develop Arizona as an Autumn mecca for young prospects.

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