NPB Bullet Points: Shoda, Kikuchi’s Velocity, Darvish’s One-Seam

» 10 April 2011 » In npb, NPB Tracker »

It’s been a while. Here is a random collection of news articles I’ve read recently and found interesting enough to share.

  • Fresh off his release from the Red Sox, Itsuki Shoda is headed to Niigata of the independent BC League.
  • Yusei Kikuchi has made Seibu’s opening day roster, and will start the year in middle relief. He’s also working on a two-seam fastball and a changeup, and hit 155 km/h on the gun in a bullpen session.
  • Hanshin’s opening day starter? Hasn’t been announced, but lefty Atsushi Nohmi is reportedly in the mix. I can’t see why it wouldn’t be Yasutomo Kubo.
  • Osamu Hamanaka is surprisingly a candidate to hit third for Yakult. Hamanka was a good hitter early in his career with Hanshin, but he’s been badly derailed by injuries. Perhaps he’ll experience a Ken Suzuki-style resurgence with Yakult; it is the time of year for optimism.
  • Yu Darvish has been experimenting again with a one-seam fastball, and broke Seiichi Uchikawa’s bat with one in a full count on the 6th. I had thought the one-seam was something new that Darvish invented, but the Nikkan Sports article I linked to says that Tim Hudson and Joel Pineiro throw it. Daigo Fujiwara posted a great summary of the pitch last August.
  • As of the 8th, the parking lot at Chiba’s newly-renamed QVC Marine Field had not been cleared for usage.
  • Seibu has announced that closer Brian Sikorski has returned to Japan after a temporary post-quake visit to the US. All five of Seibu’s players are now back in Japan. Jose Fernandezadmitted to taking it easy while he was away, and since it took a long time to get Sikorski back, the Lions had been looking at using rookie Tatsuya Oishi as their closer.
  • Yokohama’s Brent Leach has decided not to return to Japan, and the BayStars have classified him as a “restricted player” (seigen senshu). According to Nikkan Sports, the restricted player designation was established in 1998, and is intended for players who are taking a personal break from baseball activities. Leach is the first player classified as restricted since the rule’s inception.
  • Former Chiba Lotte Marines pitchers Tomohiro “Johnny” Kuroki and Satoru Komiyama will be raising a rice field with fans in Sodegaura, Chiba this year.
  • iPhone users: magazine Yakyu Kozo has released an app called Makyu Kozo, a cartoon-ish pitching simulation. It looks like it is available in the US app store as well.

And in a site announcement, I’d like to officially welcome our newest writer to NPB Tracker, Adam Burton. Adam is a translator based in the Kansai region of Japan, and has kicked off his NPB Tracker career with a couple MLB updates. Needless to say, we’re happy to have him on board.

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  1. Patrick
    Chris Jackson
    10/04/2011 at 1:54 pm Permalink

    If you find out any more information about Leach, all of us back here in Albuquerque are curious. He had his ups and downs with the Isotopes but was always an upstanding guy. It’s a shame to see that happen.

  2. Patrick
    Michael Garcia
    10/04/2011 at 9:45 pm Permalink

    Hey Patrick. Great site! I stumbled upon it while searching for information on NPB. Do you know if it’ll be possible to watch NPB games from the US this year? I’m trying to get some of my friends to watch with me, and I’m having a hard time finding information on how to actually find live or even delayed broadcasts for the 2011 season.

    Thanks and keep up the awesome work!

  3. Patrick
    10/04/2011 at 10:42 pm Permalink is your friend.

  4. Patrick
    11/04/2011 at 3:47 am Permalink

    Ahh…. Finally, Kikuchi made his way to ichi-gun.
    One more reason to tune into Pa-League this year. A lefty blasting 155kmph in NPB will probably be something equivalent to MLB batters facing Chapman…. This is going to be fun.

    Oh, and about Darvish’s so-called One-seamer…

    Orel Hershiser I think, had already used something quite similar as one of his many variation grips for a sinker. Strasburg (during the few games he pitched in) also used the same grip for a hard sinker – one that was like, 96miles….
    Oh, and I think Lester uses nearly the same grip too.