Category > amateur baseball

ドミニカ有望選手が日本も視野に

» 30 September 2009 » In amateur baseball, international baseball, mlb prospects » Comments Off

数週間前から発展しているニュースで、関係者によるとドミニカの有望選手であるラファエル・デパウラがプロ生活を日本で開始する事を視野に入れています。デパウラは有望な若手投手として期待されているのですが、MLBが設けている年齢詐称審査により不規則が見つかったため球団側と契約する事が現在では禁じられています

17歳右腕のデパウラは90マイル半ばの直球を持っており、チェンジアップとスライダーを使い分けます。この短いビデオではブレのないフォームが見られ、River Ave Bluesのコメンテーターによってスペイン語から英語へと訳された彼の記事も見られます(もしくは機械的によって訳されたものはこちらで見られます。)ベースボールアメリカのベン・バダラーさんに聞いたところデパウラのプロスペクトとしての評価は、もし17歳以上の年齢だったとしても相当な額の契約を要求できるだろうとの事でした。

ではデパウラにとって日本というのは考えられる選択肢の一つなのでしょうか?外国人選手枠という重要な障害以外には妨げになる理由はないように思います。東洋カープには最近ドミニカン・アカデミーからいくつもの選手が送り込まれましたし、読売ジャイアンツはウィルフィン・オビスポを育成させ成功をおさめています。ヤクルトスワローズは頻繁にブラジルから若い選手を連れてきていますが、残念ながら一軍に定着している選手はいませんが積極的な動きを見せています。そして日本の球団は台湾からの有望な若手に対してはメジャー球団に劣らない魅力を放っています。

この話は菊池雄星選手の状況と対比して注目すべきニュースになりそうです。ここでも十分に目を光らせておきます。

Continue reading...

Tags: , ,

Hanamaki Higashi Loses, Time for Kikuchi to Decide

» 30 September 2009 » In amateur baseball, mlb prospects, nichibei, npb draft » 2 Comments

Yusei Kikuchi’s Hanamaki Higashi has lost in the Kokutai Tournament, so now it’s time for the coveted young lefty to make what is certainly the biggest decision of his life to this point. Kikuchi has kind of gone back and forth with his decision, and the media has collectively interpreted his words however they’ve wanted to, so we don’t really have any more of an idea what he wants to do they we did a month ago. To me he seems like a normal 18 year-old kid who isn’t quite sure what he wants to do. I’m glad I wasn’t an international media subject when I was 18.

Having said all that, Kikuchi’s manager Hiroshi Sasaki was quoted in Nikkan Sports the other day as saying “I think he’ll make Japan his main choice and listen on the Majors”. Per the above paragraph, I’ll take that with a grain of salt, but there has been some talk of Kikuchi declaring eligible for the NPB draft and still negotiating with MLB teams. I have to think that MLB teams would back off if he gets drafted.

It’s been widely reported in the Japanese media that over 10 MLB teams have watched Kikuchi. I’ve actually kind of lost track of all of them, but the Texas Rangers seem to be among the most interested.The Rangers have been scouting Kikuchi since the spring, and had Asia Pacific scout Jim Colborn present at the Kokutai to watch him. Sponichi quotes Colborn as saying, “this last tournament is ending, and I would definitely liked to ask Sasaki if I could meet with him. For that, we can prepare an offer. Team president Nolan Ryan is of course watching video of him. He also wants Kikuchi to become a member of the Rangers” (translation of a translation). Remember that Texas also had the top dollar offer for Junichi Tazawa last year.

Aside from that, the newest interested party I’ve seen that hasn’t cropped up in the US media yet is the Astros. Sponichi again quotes Ed Wade: “I hear he’s 50/50 on coming to the Majors. If it turns out that he wants to come to the majors, we’d look into acquiring him.”

Continue reading...

Tags:

Japan Eliminated from the World Cup

» 24 September 2009 » In amateur baseball, international baseball, mlb prospects » Comments Off

Japan ended its run in the 2009 Baseball World Cup finishing 2-5 in the second round. The United States remained the only undefeated team in the second round.

  1. vs. Mexico: 9-2, Win
  2. vs. USA: 4-2, Loss
  3. vs. Chinese Taipei: 3-1, Loss
  4. vs. Canada: 3-2, Loss
  5. vs. Italy: 6-4, Loss
  6. vs. Australia, 5-0, Loss
  7. vs. Netherlands Antilles: 10-1, Win

The offensive leader of the second round  was OF Sho Aranami (Toyota) hitting .429 (6-14) with two doubles, five walks, and four runs scored playing in six games with four starts. He ranked 2nd in the second round with a .579 on-base-percentage. OF Ikuhiro Kiyota started in all seven games averaging .414 (12-29) with two doubles, HR, 5RBI, 3BB and 5R. He finished with the second most hits in the entire round.

The pitching remained consistent for Japan in the second round posting a 2.98ERA in seven games. The pitching staff of Japan struck out the most in the second round with 80. They held the opponents to .191 batting average. The defense showed their discipline with only three errors, the least in the round in seven games. RHP Tomohisa Ohtani (Toyota) was impressive with a 0.71ERA throwing 12.2 innings and allowing eight hits, a run and a walk with 12 strikeouts. LHP Atsushi Tanaka (Panasonic) ranked 2nd with 16 strikeouts posting a 2.38ERA in 11.1 innings pitched.

The tournament will continue with eight teams remaining and the schedule can be seen here.

Continue reading...

Tags: , , ,

NPB Bullet Points: Saito Backs Kikuchi, Sponichi Now for Kids Too

» 19 September 2009 » In amateur baseball, mlb, mlb prospects, npb » 9 Comments

It’s been one of those weeks, but the world of baseball carries on.

Japanese Articles:

  • Waseda University pitcher Yuuki Saito is showing a little support for Yusei Kikuchi: “Kikuchi? The Majors, right. I think it’s a good idea. He throws fast and has good movement and control of is breaking pitches. He’s younger but I’m pulling for him. He really has his own way.” Saito was widely thought to be the first Japanese player to test jumping directly from amateur ball to the Majors, but Junichi Tazawa beat him to the punch.
  • You might have picked this up on our Twitter feed already, but Keiichi Yabu isn’t quite ready to throw in the towel yet. The 40 year-old hung out Stateside for a while after the Giants cut him from Fresno, but he’s back in Japan now, with plans to return in October to work out for MLB clubs. Yabu has come off the scrap heap once already, so maybe he’ll get another shot.
  • Stephen Randolph picked up his fourth win for the Yokohama BayStars. He’s done pretty well so far and at this pace I think he’ll get an invitation to return next year.
  • Sponichi is becoming the first sports publication in Japan to publish an edition specifically intended for kids. Why am I mentioning this here? Because children’s books are a great way to learn Japanese, even as adults. I wish this would have been around when I was really learning Japanese.
  • Jon Heyman’s mention of Hideki Matsui made it back to the Japanese media.
  • With the independent Kansai League struggling to survive, female knuckleballer Eri Yoshida is going to get a start in an effort to draw out a few fans. Her manager wants to get at least three innings out of her.
  • According to baseball sources, MLB’ers Brett Tomko and David Dellucci could look to Japan after this season.

Lastly, this isn’t NPB related, but my favorite player as kid growing up in Chicago was Harold Baines. In a backwards kind of way, this hilarious Onion article points out how underrated he was.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Continue reading...

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Kikuchi Rocks the Draft

» 14 September 2009 » In amateur baseball, nichibei, npb draft » 1 Comment

Yusei Kikuchi’s impending decision is something that the baseball world in not only Japan, but also in the United States is keeping an eye on. Kikuchi is scheduled to meet with his high school coach on the 15th (JST) regarding his decision, and has hinted in the media that his final decision will come once the Niigata Kokutai wraps up at the end of the month.

Kikuchi has been going back and forth with his choice,  and we’re reading in interviews that his decision between NPB and MLB still remains to be 50/50. However it’s not a secret that he eventually would like to challenge the MLB and the question is a matter of now or later. He stated in a television interview that his dream is to become a Major Leaguer, which is a big statement to make on public.

His recent comments directed to a baseball magazine were quoted in gossip rag Yukan Fuji, “there has not been a high school player who directly went to the MLB without going through the NPB, so there is a part of me that wants to be the pioneer.” He also states that if he waits to be a free agent when he is 27 years old after joining a NPB team, that might be a little too late.

Until he comes to a decision, Kikuchi will be the center of attention and many scouts and media should be at the Niigata Kokutai, where he is scheduled to pitch for the first time since sustaining back pain at the Koshien Tournament. Not only will be the baseball world keeping an eye on the decision, but the outcome will be crucial for media giant TBS (Tokyo Broadcasting System) as well.

The 2009 draft will be open to public and televised live for the first time and teams participating in a lottery draw to obtain the future ace is supposed to be the biggest catch of the event. Losing the big fish of this years draft will not only hurt now, but TBS could take a hit for the future as the live draft broadcast is a three-year project. NPB losing an amateur prospect for two years in a row to the MLB might consider restructuring the draft and the return of kibouwaku (players agreeing to terms with teams before the draft) will be a possibility if that’s the case.

All we can do is wait and see what Kikuchi decides. We’ll keep you posted on NPB Tracker.

Continue reading...

Tags:

Japan Advances to Second Round at World Cup

» 12 September 2009 » In amateur baseball, international baseball » 3 Comments

The 2009 Baseball World Cup completed its first round and Japan has advanced to the second round with a 2-1 record:

Game 1: Japan vs. Great Britain, 9-7 win

Game 2: Japan vs. Croatia, 13-3 (7 innings) win

Game 3: Japan vs. Nicaragua, 8-4 loss

The offensive leaders of the first round for Japan were OF Keiji Ikebe (Shinnihon Sekiyu ENEOS) hitting .500 (6-12) with 2 doubles, 4RBI, 5R and two walks and OF Hisayoshi Chono (Honda) who had two hits in all three games batting .429 (6-14) with  2B, 3B, 2RBI and 4R.

With a 70-pitch limit in the first round, the depth of a team’s pitching staff can make or break games. The team ERA for Japan ranked 12th out of 20 teams in the first round with a 6.48ERA (25.0IP, 25H, 18ER, 8BB, 42K). However, Japan leads the tournament with 42 total strikeouts and the offense is tied for first with the least strikeouts with 11.

Japan is placed in Group G for the second round where four teams out of eight will be advancing to the next round. The group includes Mexico, Chinese Taipei, United States of America, Canada, Italy, Australia, and the Netherlands Antilles. Japan will be facing those opponents in order starting from Sunday, September 13th.

The 2009 Baseball World Cup can be viewed online on a pay-per-view basis for the tournament or pay-per-event.

Continue reading...

Tags: ,

USA-Japan High School Baseball Games

» 08 September 2009 » In amateur baseball, international baseball, Koshien, nichibei » Comments Off

The USA-Japan High School Baseball Games recently took place at the Urban Youth Academy Baseball Field in Compton, California. The exchange  started in 2006 and current Rakuten Golden Eagles ace Masahiro Tanaka was included on the Japan roster of the first series.

The three-game series between the two teams ended up without a real winner as it concluded with one win, one loss and one tie for both teams. The overall run total ended up with the Urban Youth Academy scoring 15 runs versus Japan’s 16 runs, so if you really want to determine a winner, Japan is your answer.

Game 1: Japan 8 – Urban Academy 5

Game 2: Japan 2- Urban Academy 2

Game 3: Japan 6- Urban Academy 8

The Japan team roster (link in Japanese) included a couple of top candidates for this year’s draft.

Continue reading...

Tags:

Kikuchi to Visit the States

» 08 September 2009 » In amateur baseball, mlb prospects, nichibei, npb draft » 14 Comments

When we last left our heroes,Yusei Kikuchi had strongly suggested that he was going to start his professional baseball career in Japan, saying, “It’ll be after I consult with my parents and manager, but I’m thinking domestic. In the future I think I’ll go to the Majors if I can, but after building my strength domestically.”

Note, however, that he stops short of saying he’s filed for draft eligibility, which he still has yet to do.

Now, news has emerged that Kikuchi is planning on visiting the States in October, and wants to see the Majors once before he decides to proceed. The best quote I’ve seen so far was in Sponichi: “I like to do things that people say are impossible. To be showered in criticism makes me want to do it. I don’t have any unease with life in America. I want to speak English, and there is leading-edge training which is different from Japan, so that’s exciting.” Mainichi News puts his decision between NPB and MLB at 50/50.

We’re seemingly a month away from really knowing that Kikuchi wants to do, so we’ll see how things play out until then.

Continue reading...

Tags:

Draft to be Open to Public

» 07 September 2009 » In amateur baseball, npb, npb draft, sports business » Comments Off

Nippon Professional Baseball is taking another step to further engage its fans. NPB is opening an online drawing from which 1000 fans will be chosen to enjoy the atmosphere of the draft. The draft will take place on October 29th in Tokyo and the lucky 1000 fans will be the first to enjoy the prospects being named to their new professional teams.

The draft will attempt to add an entertainment side to the event making the drawing box clear so that the fans will be able to see the last moment of the manager picking the names out. On a business note, Toshiba has agreed in terms to be the special sponsor of the event, so it’s definitely something NPB can expand on.

A franchise’s future could depend on the winning the rights to Yusei Kikuchi (assuming he decides to enter the NPB Draft) and other prospects, so NPB made the decision to allow some fans to enjoy the special moment in history live. We ran down some of the other top draft prospects as well last week.

Continue reading...

Tags:

Inside the Industrial Leagues

» 02 September 2009 » In amateur baseball, sports business » 3 Comments

With current Boston Red Sox prospect Junichi Tazawa making the jump from the Japanese Industrial Leagues to the Major Leagues, the attention toward Industrial Leagues is increasing as we speak. Also the 2009 Baseball World Cup is set to begin from September 9th and you may have noticed the Japan national team roster is composed of only Industrial League players.

The Industrial League, operated by the JABA (Japanese Amatuer Baseball Association), is explained as a minor league unaffiliated with the Nippon Professional Baseball in the NY Times article, Japanese Are Irked by U.S. Interest in Pitcher. Teams are fielded by company’s operating in Japan, and the Industrial Leagues are treated as amateur baseball with players not receiving salary as a baseball player, but as an employee with the company.

There are two types of team registered for the Industrial League: Corporate teams and Club teams. Every teams registered is listed on Wikipedia. Teams across the nation participate in tournaments and leagues year around. The one currently in the final stage is the 80th annual Intercity Baseball Tournament (Toshi Taikou Yakyu Taikai) and the finals will be played September 1st from 6pm at the Tokyo Dome (Japan time) between Toyota and Honda. Also the first round of the 36th Industrial League National Tournament  (Shakai-jin Yakyu Nihon Senshuken) has started its regionals. Other notable tournaments include the 34th All-Japan Club Tournament (Zen-nihon Club Yakyu Senshuken). The history among these tournaments are established and there are plenty of games for teams and players to participate in.

Many current stars in the NPB and some MLB players have taken the Industrial League route to professional baseball. Current Chicago Cub Kosuke Fukudome played as a member of the Nihon Semei (Osaka) and won the Rookie of the year title in the 67th Toshi Taikou Yakyuu Taikai tournament. Japanese MLB pioneer, Hideo Nomo, is a former industrial leagues player as well. NPB stars such as Michihiro Ogasawara (Yomiuri Giants), Yasuyuki Kataoka (Seibu Lions), and Hitoki Iwase (Chunichi Dragons) are couple other players with Industrial League experience.

Even though the Industrial Leagues play a role in developing future NPB and possible MLB players, the existence of many teams have become an issue due to current business environment in Japan. If the parent company is struggling to make a profit, the existence of a baseball team for the company would always be a candidate for a budget cut. Industrial League powerhouse teams like Nissan had no choice, but to fold due after this season due to the parent company having financial problems.

In order for Industrial Leagues to survive and to reduce the financial responsibilities for some companies, talks are on-going to merge some of the tournaments and to reform the structure of the league. Sanspo recently published a lengthy article on the topic in Japanese. The recent change in Japanese political leadership could have an effect on the Industrial Leagues and its participating companies and this will be an issue we should all keep an eye on.

Continue reading...

Tags: , , , , , ,