Naoyuki Shimizu Thinking MLB

» 22 October 2009 » In mlb prospects, nichibei »

33-year old right-handed pitcher Naoyuki Shimizu cannot seem to brush off his desire for the challenge of MLB. Even though he’s going into the second year of a two-year contract with the Chiba Lotte Marines, he earned the option of opting out during the regular season.

Shimizu quoted in an interview, “My admiration for the Major Leagues has not changed. If all condition comes to term (I would like to challenge).” He earned international free agency rights in June, during the season. “The situation is completely different from the previous year. When I think about the rest of my playing career, I would like to absorb the different cultures.”

Last off-season other NPB teams showed interest toward the right-handed pitcher if he does opt out couple of the teams might again show interest, but Shimizu stated the only option after free agency will be to the Major Leagues. “If I declare for free agency I will go overseas. I love Lotte and they have served me well. I can guarantee 100 percent that I will not sign with another NPB team.”

In 2009, he appeared in 23 games (22GS) and posted a 4.42ERA. I couldn’t find many clips of him pitching, this one is up-close and you can see his delivery. His pitch chart from his most recent start can be checked here.

Shimizu will not cost a fortune for an MLB team as an international free agent and I can possibly see him latching onto a team as a back-end rotation candidate. We’ll see when he officially announces his intentions.


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  1. Ryo
    Kyle Worlitz
    22/10/2009 at 3:01 pm Permalink

    His strikeout rates are pretty low. Maybe he could get a minor league deal.

  2. Ryo
    22/10/2009 at 3:58 pm Permalink

    He doesn’t really have an out pitch and he’s not really an innings eater. I don’t like his chances.

  3. Ryo
    22/10/2009 at 9:02 pm Permalink

    I like Shimizu. He’s done well by Lotte.

    However, I have to wonder something else if he went overseas — what would happen to his kids? Shimizu’s wife died suddenly of heart troubles early in 2008, leaving him and his two kids behind. I don’t really know who is taking care of his kids these days anyway, but either way I can’t help but imagine that moving abroad would definitely complicate family matters…

  4. Ryo
    22/10/2009 at 9:57 pm Permalink

    I completely forgot about that. I can’t imagine being in that position myself. Seems like a good reason to stay close to home.

  5. Ryo
    22/10/2009 at 11:50 pm Permalink

    His numbers do not look good at all this season: 6-7, 4.42 ERA, 1.51 WHIP compared to last years: 13-9, 3.75 ERA, 1.16 WHIP. Very unfortunate what happened to his wife. I wish him the best wherever he will play next year.

    By the way, who is the ace pitcher for Lotte?
    Shimizu, Kobayashi, Naruse or maybe Watanabe? I

  6. Ryo
    22/10/2009 at 11:56 pm Permalink

    By the way, who is the ace pitcher for Lotte?
    Shimizu, Kobayashi, Naruse or maybe Watanabe? I

    I’d say Naruse.

  7. Ryo
    23/10/2009 at 1:37 pm Permalink

    Naruse is great, no question. He may be the ace.

    I don’t know if most of Lotte fans think the same as the three other pitchers have pitched for the team for more years.

  8. Ryo
    23/10/2009 at 2:21 pm Permalink

    I’ve always thought that Hiroyuki Kobayashi was underrated. The other guys on that staff are more like #2 pitchers that occasionally put in ace performances. I would like to hear what Lotte fans think though.


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