Will Kudoh Get a Shot?

» 11 October 2009 » In mlb prospects, nichibei, npb »

If 46-year old lefthander Kimiyasu Kudoh looks to MLB, will there be any takers?

In recent years we have seen veteran pitchers from Japan sign minor league deals and then contribute to the big league team. 39 year-old Masumi Kuwata made his major league debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2007, and 40 year-old Ken Takahashi enjoyed his first season in the majors with the New York Mets this year.

Although neither pitcher left eye-popping numbers with their teams, they both brought intangibles to the table with experience and character. Needless to say, the Japanese media were all over stories, which in turn fueled stories in the US media (see Kuwata attracts crowd and The Mets’ 40-Year-Old Rookie).

Kudoh was released from the Yokohama Baystars and will be looking for a suitor this off-season. He stated his desire to continue playing and in a recent interview mentioned that NPB is his first option. However if negotiations stall and an offer from overseas arrives would he decline? It will be interesting how the situation plays out and if any MLB teams will look to follow the trend of signing Japanese veterans as roster depth.

To give you a sense of what Kudoh brings, check out pitching clip from September 16 versus Yakult, and this velocity chart from the same game..

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