Archive > May 2010

Orix Pursuing Segi

» 31 May 2010 » In nichibei, npb » 2 Comments

Over the weekend, I caught a number of articles on Orix’s pursuit of 1B/DH Fernando Seguignol. The news ranged from Orix “looking into acquiring Seguignol” (Daily Sports) to “have a basic agreement and working on an official contract” (Nikkan Sports). Orix’s two import sluggers Alex Cabrera and Greg LaRocca are both injury-prone and Seguignol is in the Atlantic League, so a deal seems to make sense for both sides. I can think of an option I prefer for Orix, though.

Seguignol is perhaps the poster boy of the recent trend of “recycling” sukketo players, having previously been called in by Nippon Ham and Rakuten. After last season Rakuten replaced him with former Carp Andy Phillips, who played pretty well in Hiroshima but still had his pricey option declined in favor of Justin Huber and Jeff Fiorentino. With Phillips (and Todd Linden) struggling, Rakuten has added a new name in Randy Ruiz. And the beat goes on. Mabye all the teams have been better off if Rakuten had kept Segi, Hiroshima kept Phillips and Orix held on to Jose Fernandez or Tuffy Rhodes.

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-05-30

» 30 May 2010 » In Uncategorized » Comments Off on Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-05-30

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Crowd Pleaser

» 29 May 2010 » In npb » Comments Off on Crowd Pleaser

This video is seven seconds long. It’s worth spending seven seconds on.

The pitcher? The now forgotten Toshiyuki Gotoh.

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NPB Bullet Points: Petagine Lands, New Jobs for Scouts

» 28 May 2010 » In nichibei, npb » 3 Comments

It’s been all too long since I’ve done a bullet points round up… but here we go with another edition.

Only Japanese links today…

  • Roberto Petagine has made his NPB return, and looks set to get his first ichi-gun start with SoftBank on May 29, DHing and batting 6th. Petagine’s spot on the roster comes at the expense of Beom-Ho Lee, who was demoted the other day after hitting .218 in 34 games. Incumbent DH Nobuhiko Matsunaka has been even worse than Lee, struggling with a .197/.267/.318 slash line.
  • In other SoftBank news, Munenori Kawasaki has racked up enough service time for domestic NPB free agency. I can’t see him leaving unless it’s to go to MLB though.
  • The Yakult Swallows seemed to really want Kazuo Matsui.
  • Here I go rattling the cage again: the Yankees had two scouts watch Yu Darvish’s last start. This is the second time they’ve seen him this year.
  • Keiichi Yabu wants to play again, and is looking into playing in a US independent league. The idea of a return to the Hanshin Tigers came up, but Yabu seems to prefer the Indy leagues.
  • The Carp promoted Dominican lefty Dioni Soriano to ichi-gun, and he promptly pitched a scoreless inning of relief in his debut. Soriano took the long way to NPB — playing at the Carp’s Dominican Academy, moving to Japan as a renshusei (practice player), spending time in the Shikoku Island League, re-joining Hiroshima as an ikusei player, and finally signing a regular contract this season. If Soriano pans out, he gives the Carp a much-needed bullpen lefty.
  • Scouting news: SoftBank has hired Kent Blasingame as its US-based scout, and former Hanshin scout Tom O’Malley is working with the Wasserman Media Group with the intent of helping NPB players move to MLB. Blasingame’s father, Don, played in Japan and managed the old Nankai Hawks and later the Hanshin Tigers.

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Extrapolating Another New Feature

» 28 May 2010 » In NPB Tracker » Comments Off on Extrapolating Another New Feature

One itch leads to another. I took the work I did a couple weeks ago to get Hideaki Wakui’s average velocity and turned it into a new feature for the data site. Each pitcher now has a game log and average velocity plotted for every game I have data for. The ui is still rough, to put it mildly, and the pages are on the slow side, so this is kind of a “minimum viable product”.

And speaking of Wakui, he took things up another notch May 27 against Hanshin. Did anyone see the game?

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Blackhawks Advance and Site Update

» 24 May 2010 » In NPB Tracker, something else » Comments Off on Blackhawks Advance and Site Update

So just as I suspected/feared, the Blackhawks proved to be too much for the Sharks and advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals. I didn’t see the Hawks sweeping the Sharks though, and had Antti Niemi not played so well they probably wouldn’t have. I was hoping Montreal would take the Eastern Conference, but Chris Pronger has a way of getting to the Finals no matter where he is. So it should be a good series between Chicago and Philly, although I think the Blackhawks would have to be heavily favored.

That’s not why I’m here though. This is just a teaser to say that I’ll have some new content and an update to the data site coming up this week.

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-05-23

» 23 May 2010 » In Uncategorized » Comments Off on Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-05-23

  • Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-05-16: Congrats to former Chunichi Dragon on becoming Seattle's hitting coach http… #
  • A Feature Is Born: On May 7, Hideaki Wakui of the Seibu Lions tossed a one-hitter against the SoftBank Hawks. A lo… #
  • The Latest in the Darvish/MLB Saga: I was going to ignore this story, but it just got interesting.
    A couple of day… #
  • impressed with Hisa Takahashi's line in his first start! 6 IP, 0 ER, 0 R, 5 K, 1 BB, 5 H against NYY. #
  • Just noticed that three guys with NPB exp. pitched for the Mets today: Takahashi, Dessens, Feliciano. #

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The Latest in the Darvish/MLB Saga

» 20 May 2010 » In mlb prospects, nichibei, npb » 8 Comments

I was going to ignore this story, but it just got interesting.

A couple of days ago, Chunichi Sports and Sponichi came out with reports saying that Yu Darvish’s father, Farzad, had been in touch with agent Arn Tellem. At the time, I dismissed these reports as a) Sponichi rattling the cage again, and b) not really news. Agents reach out to unrepresented players; I have firsthand knowledge that at least one agency talked with Yusei Kikuchi last year. So I waited for Darvish to disavow the reports, which he did via Twitter, saying “It looks something about the majors was in the news. There’s not much there.”

Chunichi Sports came back with another story, pointing out that he didn’t explicitly deny the earlier reports, which was an interesting point but I figured the story was over for this rumor cycle.

Then Chunichi’s writer bumped into Darvish at Sapporo Dome during a pre-game workout, and said, “we annoyed you a bit…”, to which Darvish replied, “that’s ok, don’t worry about it. It builds excitement.” Then a brief interview followed, which I have translated below:

Q: How do you actually feel about the Majors?

Darvish: “Regarding the Majors, I don’t know and I don’t have any comment. I’d always said I wouldn’t go to the Majors. Last year I went to the WBC (in America) and thought it was good. Matsuzaka-san, Ichiro-san, Johjima-san, and Fukudome-san graciously told me what is good, what is tough and a lot of things. But this isn’t will I go or not. I like Japanese baseball and I feel that I want to do my best in Japan.”

Q: But, don’t you have any interest in MLB?

Darvish: “I’ve always liked baseball. I look at how the MLB pitchers throw and what pitches they have, and I’d like to take in the good habits (from the Majors).”

Q: How about your relationship with Arn Tellem?

Darvish: “My father (Farzad) has known guys like Tellem-san and (Scott) Boras-san since I was in junior high school and has a good relationship with them. My father is just friends with them. I don’t know my father met [Tellem] this time. Hmm, but I usually know what’s going on. I don’t think my father met him.”

So there you have it. There are people who are convinced that Darvish will try to be posted after this season. I’m not one of them, though. There’s no public indication that he wants to move this season, and it doesn’t make sense for Nippon Ham competitively. Financially, a struggling US economy and weak dollar would likely mean fewer bidders, and a lower yen value for the resultant posting fee and contract.

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A Feature Is Born

» 17 May 2010 » In npb » 6 Comments

On May 7, Hideaki Wakui of the Seibu Lions tossed a one-hitter against the SoftBank Hawks. A lot of the players involved commented that Wakui was throwing harder than usual, which gave me an itch to find out how much harder. I scratched.

Here’s a breakdown of Wakui’s repertoire in his 2010 starts prior to his May 7 gem, in mph:

pitch min max avg
fastball 82.5 91.875 87.51
curve 63.75 76.25 69.66
slider 74.375 84.375 79.02
changeup 75.625 81.875 79.18
cut fastball 81.25 81.25 81.25
shuuto 80 90.625 87.01
forkball 75.625 83.75 80.14

What jumps out at me here is the variance in velocity for each of his pitches, particularly the curveball.

Here’s Wakui’s breakdown for May 7:

pitch min max avg
fastball 86.875 93.125 90.04
curve 65.625 72.5 69.38
slider 75 83.75 80.69
changeup 80 83.125 81.77
shuuto 88.75 90.625 89.38
forkball 80.625 83.75 82.19

On May 7, Wakui found a few extra mph on his fastball and changeup, and also worked in his high range with the rest of his stuff as well.

I turned this itch into a bolt-on feature for the Data Site, so this breakdown is available for every game I have velocity data on. I’m working on a way to make this type of data available in aggegrate, but won’t make any promises as to when it might show up on the live site. NPB Tracker Data is basically the culmination of a series of itch scratches, so the way this addition came together is fitting. The css formating of the Data site is a kind of messed up right now, so if there are any designers or css whizzes out there who wouldn’t mind helping me fix it, drop me a line.

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-05-16

» 16 May 2010 » In Uncategorized » 1 Comment

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