Tag Archive > Dae Ho Lee

NPB Bullet Points: Spring Training Notes

» 14 February 2012 » In nichibei, npb » 9 Comments

While pitchers and catchers are just now showing up to MLB camps, NPB spring training has been in full swing for a couple of weeks. Here’s a collection of random news stories from around the league. All links are in Japanese.

  • Chunichi has signed outfielder Victor Diaz, who had been in camp with the team on a try out basis. Diaz has MLB experience with the Mets and Rangers and played in Mexico last season.
  • Sumo wrestler Hakuho spent a day in camp with Yomiuri. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
  • Hanshin righty Randy Messenger tweeted about a soba restaurant he enjoyed.
  • Japan newcomers Scott Mathieson and John Bowker got to try eel.
  • A Sponichi report from February 8th indicates that the Nippon Ham Fighters will give Korean lefty Yoon-Hee Nam a tryout. Nam, 24, was a first-round pick of Doosan in 2006, but opted to sign with the Texas Rangers instead. He pitched five seasons in the Rangers’ system, reaching high A in 2010.
  • Softbank is working out two young Dominican pitchers, Juan Carlos Paniagua and Wanel Mesa.
  • One of the more interesting positional battles (for me anyway) is for Orix’s cleanup spot, where newcomer Dae-Ho Lee is taking on incumbent T-Okada. Lee has the lead in the “huge gut” category.
  • NPB legends Masaichi Kaneda and Katsuya Nomura turned up at Yomiuri’s camp. They both have quite an eye for fashion, particularly Nomura.

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NPB Bullet Points: Mulhern, MLB Scouts, Rakuten Fireworks

» 13 July 2011 » In nichibei, npb » 6 Comments

Today’s news and notes from around Japan, with a focus on scouting and player personnel.

  • Daily Sports reports that Seibu is working on signing Ryan Mulhern out of the Mexican League. I had never heard of Mulhern before yesterday, but he’s spent the last two seasons in indy ball and Mexico, and prior to that it looks like he’d mostly been an organizational player. It’s great to see this kind of player get a shot and I wish him the best of luck.
  • Chunichi Sports points out that Ryan Vogelsong is the third non-Japanese player with NPB experience to make an MLB All-Star team. The other two? Cecil Fielder and Alfonso Soriano.
  • Wladimir Balentien’s contract with Yakult includes language that prevents him from moving to another NPB team after the season. Said someone familiar with the situation: “Discussion about foreign players leaving the team or not ended with Chang-Yong Lim last offseason. New players acquired since then have contractual provisions against moving domestically.”
  • Sponichi reports that the Rays, Indians, Astros and Angels had scouts at Hisashi Iwakuma’s most recent rehab start.
  • Hanshin is reportedly looking to acquire Korean slugger Dae-Ho Lee this offseason.
  • The “Big 3″ college pitchers – Tomoyuki Sugano, Takahiro Fujioka and Yusuke Nomura – have all disavowed interest in skipping NPB in favor of MLB. The trio had been attracting attention from MLB scouts.
  • MLB scouts from three un-named teams watched Shoji Yoshimoto, who Nikkan Sports called “the Darvish of Shimomachi Shitamachi.”
  • Rakuten will feature fireworks displays after all 13 of it’s home games in August. As an added promotion, 20 families will get to watch the fireworks from the field.
  • In more Rakuten news, the Eagles ni-gun team has it’s own ustream.tv channel. Unfortunately the angle they shoot the games from is almost unwatchable.
  • And now for something completely different: Lotte has stadium and uniform advertising for Nexon this season. I never know what Nexon does, but I happened to find out from this English-language article on Techcrunch.

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Iwakuma Goes National

» 22 April 2009 » In international baseball, npb, sports business » 1 Comment

Hisashi Iwakuma‘s stellar performance in the World Baseball Classic has lead to his first nationwide commercial appearance. Sukiya, a national fastfood chain, will utilize Iwakuma to promote its new prices for their main menu items. Selecting a nationally popular figure on the was the reasoning behind selecting Iwakuma as the face of the company for the forseeable future.

Iwakuma plays in a small home market, Sendai, and even though he was the Sawamura Award winner (top pitcher) in 2008, his marketability did not increase immediately. It was his performance on the international stage that boosted his publicity to a national level.

Although many players use the WBC as an audition for a Major League roster spot, Iwakuma is a great example of how performing on the international stage can lead to other opportunities. The players and manager of the Korean national team are also receiving endorsement opportunities as manager In-Sik Kim, pitcher Hyunjin Ryu, and infielders Tae Kyun Kim, and Bum Ho Lee are featured in an advertisment poster for the Galleria shopping mall. Infielder Dae Ho Lee also captilized on opportunities being the image character for Lotte Milk and Pusan Bank. Ownership companies for Korean teams tend to be more passive toward using their own players as their image character and the decision of utilizing players in this capacity shows how much of an impact the WBC had on Korea as well.

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