Tag Archive > Buddy Carlyle

Offseason Changes: Nippon Ham Fighters

» 06 February 2011 » In npb » 8 Comments

Coming: Wirfin Obispo, Yuki Saito, Micah Hoffpauir, Kenta Matsusaka, Tomohisa Nemoto

Going: Hichori Morimoto, Hideki Sunaga, Toshimasa Konta, Yoshinori Tateyama, Takayuki Takaguchi, Kazunori Yamamoto, Buddy Carlyle, Tomochika Tsuboi

Staying: Yu Darvish, Kazuhito Tadano, Kensuke Tanaka

Summary: Did anyone else hear that Yuki Saito is on his way to Hokkaido? Yes? Believe it or not, there was news concerning other members of the Nippon Ham Fighters this winter. While the Fighters welcomed two new foreign players this offseason, said goodbye to one, and saw a fan favorite slip away, the most anxiety surrounded the fate of their ace.

Despite some ominous sounding tweets from Yu Darvish saying that his “situation had changed,” it hadn’t from a baseball standpoint. The Fighters’ ace and most important player is staying in Sapporo for at least one more season. He reeled in a JPY 500m contract, NPB’s top salary, as we welcomed in 2011. Carrying the load behind him will be Bobby Keppel and Masaru Takeda, who make up the top of a stingy staff that was arguably the best in Japan in 2010.

The back of the rotation faces some uncertainty, though, as Hirotoshi Masui comes into spring camp proclaiming that he wants to be the #4 starter. Throw newcomer Wirfin Obispo and incumbent Tomoya Yagi into the mix along with perhaps Saito and some other worthy candidates, and you have a full-on battle. We’ll have to see how it shakes out.

One name who won’t be in the mix this year is Buddy Carlyle. The man who was once traded for Marc Kroon in America finds himself back in the States… along with Kroon, as fate would have it. Joining them on the other side of the ocean will be Yoshinori Tateyama, who skipped town as a free agent to join the Texas Rangers.

Lovable goofball Hichori Morimoto took his talents south to Yokohama. It’ll be strange for a while seeing him donning a blue and white uniform. Coming into the lineup to hopefully supply more pop will be self described “doubles hitter” Micah Hoffpauir. The left-handed veteran of the Chicago Cubs system will presumably play first base; he’ll try to match or surpass the 22 home runs he hit at AAA last year.

In my assessment, despite having a power starved lineup, their pitching should get them into the playoffs. They nearly made it wast year, being edged out by 1/2 game in a frantic scramble. They need Hoffpauir’s bat to be what they hope it is, and could really use a big contribution from Sho Nakata, in what could be a make-or-break year for him. Players like Atsunori Inaba, Makoto Kaneko and Tomohiro Nioka aren’t getting any younger, and 2011 may be their last chance (and Darvish’s) to bring Hokkaido another title. While I don’t see them finishing atop the Pacific League, I think a playoff spot is theirs to lose.

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New Foreign Players — Which Ones Did I Get Right?

» 27 February 2010 » In nichibei, npb » Comments Off

Last November, I made a few predictions about guys we might see move to NPB for 2010. I actually got a couple right:

  • Buddy Carlyle (Nippon Ham)
  • Lee Beom-Ho (SoftBank)
  • Kim Tae-Gyun (Lotte)
  • Matt Murton (Hanshin)
  • Chris Bootcheck (Yokohama)
*excluding the players on my list that were already in Japan in 2009

So that’s 5/28 (without the 2009 NPB guys), and the two Koreans were pretty easy predictions. I thought I got Bobby Keppel right too, but when I looked back at my list it was Bobby Korecky that I had guessed.

There were other guys that I took long looks at, but decided to leave out for various reasons. These were the last three in my notes:

  • Andy Marte thought he would get an MLB shot with the rebuilding Indians
  • Carlo Alvarado – the number of 3A innings he threw over the last two years caught my eye; in retrospect I didn’t have enough starters on my list
  • Jeff Fiorentino – call this one gut feel. I favored slugging left fielder-types in my list, and thought Murton’s MLB experience distinguished him from Fio

Alvarado and Fiorentino signed with the Carp over the winter, while I assume Marte will get another look with Cleveland. Ironically, I would have loved to see the Carp get Marte instead of Justin Huber, but I don’t know if he was ever available.

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SoftBank Signs Lee; Carlyle to Nippon Ham

» 19 November 2009 » In npb » Comments Off

The SoftBank Hawks have picked up Korean slugger Lee Beom-Ho on a two-year, 300m yen deal. Sadaharu Oh had talked about wanted to pick up another import slugger, and he found one who’s hit at least 20 KBO home runs in five of the last six years. Lee will give the Hawks another option at DH and the infield corners.

And I didn’t have time to post this when it happened, so I’ll defer to Yakyu Baka’s coverage, but the Nippon Ham Fighter’s signed Buddy Carlyle to fill most likely a bullpen spot.

Buddy and Lee were both on my list of import candidates for 2010, so I’m glad I got at least two right. NPB’s interest in Lee was well publicized though, so that wasn’t exactly a tough one.

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2010 Foreign Player Candidates

» 12 November 2009 » In nichibei, npb » 3 Comments

There’s always a high turnover among foreign players in Japan. This year will be no different, with 30+ players already gone from their 2009 employers. By the end of next season, we’ll have seen 35-45 new players in Japan.

Like most years, the biggest needs around the league are corner outfielders, pitchers, and first basemen. There will be a couple third base and DH spots open as well.

This is mostly my own speculation. Some of the names came out of the Japanese media, but many have not, so take this list with a grain of salt.

Possible Returnees

  • CJ Nitkowski - seemed like he had a deal to go back to Japan before Doosan snapped him up off waivers from SK
  • Rick Guttormson - Orix is looking at bringing Gutto back from Korea; has an NPB no-hitter to his name
  • Brad Thomas - Thomas has spent the last year or two in Korea, is on Hanshin’s list
  • Gary Glover – Yet another NPB vet in Korea, Glover had previously pitched for Yomiuri
  • Mitch Jones - didn’t get a chance in his stint with Nippon Ham, hit 35 home runs in the hitter-friendly PCL this year
  • Val Pascucci – has been productive in three AAA seasons since returning from his stint with Chiba Lotte
  • Buddy Carlyle - has been better with Atlanta than he was with Hanshin during the early 00’s
  • Winston Abreu - lit up AAA again this year, got lit up in the majors; did well in his tenure with Lotte

Korean Imports

  • Kim Dong-Ju – Lotte is reportedly ready to jump on a plan and sign this guy once the FA season opens
  • Kim Tae-Gyun – Hanshin was scouting Korea over the summer, and this Kim was a name that showed up in reports
  • Lee Beom-Ho- ditto for Lee

NPB Migrants

  • Termel Sledge – won’t be back with Nippon Ham next year; Yokohama, SoftBank reportedly interested
  • Greg LaRocca – has been productive when healthy, could get a shot somewhere else if Orix chooses not to retain his services
  • Dan Johnson – batting average side, put in a productive year for Yokohama, still wasn’t retained
  • Seth Greisinger – has put up three good years in Japan, may not fit into Yomiuri’s plans for next year; Hanshin would gladly take him
  • Brian Sikorski – posted a great year for Lotte; if they don’t keep him, Yokohama is interested

4A Veterans

  • Mike Hessman - tenured AAA slugger, doesn’t hit for average but walks and has a power bat
  • Lenny DiNardo – coming off a great AAA season, has never been able to strike MLB hitters out
  • Bobby Korecky – reliever with nothing left to prove at AAA
  • Kevin Frandsen – doesn’t fit the power-hitting mold NPB teams usually like, but can play multiple positions and hit for average
  • Matt Murton – another sharp hitter who has mastered AAA pitching
  • Chris Shelton – has had two productive MLB seasons, continues to perform at AAA
  • Brad Eldred – another veteran AAA slugger, though his average has dropped in the last few years
  • Wily Mo Pena - I thought he was on his way to Japan when the Mets released him during the season
  • Charlie Haeger - has come up on Hanshin’s list
  • Rich Hill - he has a Japan-style curveball
  • Jason Dubois – perhaps the most well-rounded of the AAA sluggers I’ve listed here, Dubois hits for reasonable average and gets on base, at least at AAA
  • Scott Strickland – was good with the Expos a few years ago, hasn’t gotten another chance
  • Evan MacLane – rumor is that he’s headed to Japan rather than resigning with the Cardinals

Fringey MLB Guys

  • Marcus Thames - Hanshin was interested in him a few years ago, but Detroit held on to him and he played pretty well
  • Eric Hinske – SoftBank was interested last year, and is again this year
  • Chris Bootcheck – has the velocity to succeed in Japan
  • Denny Bautista – another hard thrower who’s bounced between AAA and MLB

Who are some other good candidates?

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Minor Leaguers Going Overseas This Offseason

» 19 February 2009 » In mlb prospects » 4 Comments

This offseason, we’ve seen a large number of released NPB players announce an intent to pursue contracts with MLB organizations. I’m not sure if this is a record, but it’s the most I can recall. I’m not including Junichi Tazawa and Ken Takahashi in this list, because Takahashi turned down NPB offers, and Tazawa would have been drafted. All of these guys were either released by their NPB teams, or in the case of Yamarin, not drafted.

  • Shigeki Noguchi -> agreed with Blue Jays, failed physical
  • Ken Kadokura -> Cubs
  • Kazuhiro Takeoka -> Unsigned (Braves?)
  • Katsuhiko Maekawa -> Cardinals
  • Takateru Iyono -> Unsigned
  • Tatsuya Ozeki -> trying out with the Rockies in March
  • Ryohei Tanaka -> Orioles
  • Michinao Yamamura -> Unsigned (Golden League?)
  • Koichi Misawa -> Unsigned (played in the Northern League in ’08)
  • Yoshinori Yamarin -> Braves
  • Itsuki Shoda -> Sinon Bulls (Taiwan)

Five Players are still unsigned, which doesn’t surprise me, but I can see Yamamura and Iyono getting a shot as they’re still in their 20’s. Takeoka has worked out twice for the Braves and played AAA ball, so he might a chance too.

Notable MLB returnees:

  • Jeremy Powell -> Pirates
  • Jason Standridge -> Marlins
  • Craig Brazell -> Orioles
  • Winston Abreu -> Rays

Without a doubt, all of the players listed above obvious face big uphill battles to making it to the majors. But the fact that they are getting a chance indicates either a heightened respect for the level of talent in Japan, or a greater need to find low-cost, low-risk players through non-traditional channels. There will be 22 Japanese players in 14 big league camps this spring.

Reasons not to write these guys off just yet: Tomo Ohka, Takashi Saito, Hector Carrasco, Buddy Carlyle, Brian Shouse and  Pedro Feliciano. Saito looked like he was on the downside of his career when he came over, and none of the other guys had lasting success at the top level in Japan. All have been at least useful MLB players.

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