Tag Archive > Hideaki Wakui

Who’s Next?

» 15 February 2014 » In mlb prospects, nichibei » 15 Comments

Within minutes of Masahiro Tanaka signing with the Yankees, I started getting questions on Twitter about the next star out of Japan.

The short answer is that there’s no one of Tanaka’s caliber that we’ll see in MLB in the next few years.The longer answer is that there are a number of interesting pitchers currently active in Japan who could eventually wind up in North America. Here are the ones I’m watching most closely.

Kenta Maeda RHP starter, Hiroshima Carp: Maeda is Tanaka’s heir apparent as Japan’s best pitcher, but he grades well below Ma-Kun as an MLB prospect, both on pure stuff and statistical dominance. On this list, he compares most closely to Kenshin Kawakami, but with the advantages of youth and health. A reasonable expectation is that he’ll be a viable mid/back rotation starter for someone. Maeda is expected to be posted following the 2014 season, so we should see him in MLB in 2015.

Chihiro Kaneko RHP starter, Orix Buffaloes: Kaneko is pretty good, but for whatever reason, frequently overlooked in discussions about Japan’s best pitchers. He’s a bit less consistent than Maeda, but has more breaking stuff and generates a few more whiffs. Kaneko is eligible for domestic, NPB-only free agency after the 2014 season, and there are already rumors that Yomiuri is going to go after him. If he wants to play in MLB it likely wouldn’t be until 2016 at the soonest.

Seung-Hwan Oh RHP closer, Hanshin Tigers: 2014 will be Oh’s first year in NPB, having spent his career to this point in Korea. He was expected to move to MLB this past offseason, but wound up signing a two-year deal with Hanshin instead. The thought is that he could move on to MLB at the conclusion of his contract, so that would be 2016. I haven’t seen Oh yet so I haven’t formed an opinion of him as a prospect.

Hideaki Wakui, RHP starter, Chiba Lotte Marines: A few years ago, Wakui would have ranked among Japan’s better MLB prospects, but now he’s a bit of a question mark. He hit his peak in 2009, winning the Sawamura Award, but overuse, a contentious relationship with his team, girl trouble, and possible conditioning problems has resulted in several steps backward. I’ve been hearing for years that Wakui wants to move to MLB; he signed a two-year contract with Lotte this offseason where he could rebuild value.

Takuya Asao, RHP reliever, Chunichi Dragons: Asao was so dominant in 2011 that won the 2011 Central League MVP Award, despite pitching in middle relief. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been the same since, suffering from shoulder discomfort and pitching 30 and 30.2 in 2012 and 2013 respectively. If he’s healthy, there’s no doubt his stuff — mid-90s fastball, hard splitter, funky palmball — is good enough for MLB. He’s a few years away from free agency so we’ll see what happens.

Yusei Kikuchi, LHP starter, Seibu Lions: Kikuchi made waves in 2009 for considering forgoing NPB to sign with an MLB club. He ultimately remained in Japan, and was drafted by Seibu. In 2013, Kikuchi was in the midst of making good on the potential that made him such a hot commodity as a high school prospect when he was stricken with shoulder inflammation and lost for the season. It obviously remains to be seen how he’ll fare when he returns, but so far he’s at least show that he can turn his ability in to results. Kikuchi is at least six years away from free agency.

Shohei Ohtani RHP starter/OF, Nippon Ham Fighters: Here’s where it gets interesting. Like Kikuchi, Ohtani also showed an interest in jumping right to MLB out of high school. Unlike Kikuchi, he seemed intent on actually doing it, but Nippon Ham drafted him anyway and eventually convinced him to sign. Despite flashing 100mph heat in high school, Ohtani opened the 2013 season as Nippon Ham’s starting right fielder. A few months later, he made his ichi-gun debut on the mound, and pitched 61.2 innings, becoming the first nitouryu (double-bladed) player since Yozo Nagabuchi in 1968. Ohtani’s offseason training centered on pitching, but he’ll reportedly continue to play both positions this season. Nippon Ham has been publicly supportive of sending Ohtani to MLB after a few years of seasoning, but of course that was before this posting system nonsense took place.

Shintaro Fujinami RHP starter, Hanshin Tigers: Ohtani’s 2013 rookie brethren Fujinami might not be as flashy, but he’s a lot more polished. Fujinami opened the 2013 as Hanshin’s third starter, and essentially stuck in the rotation for the duration of the season, an impressive feat for an 18 year-old. At this point, Fujinami probably has the best potential of any pitcher on this list. He already shows polish and pitchability, and he’s extremely lanky 6’7. As he fills out and adds strength, it’s reasonable to expect that he could develop a bit more fastball velocity, and handle more innings pitched. At age 19 he’s a long way away from free agency and MLB, but if 2013 is any indication fans on both sides of the Pacific have a lot to look forward to.

Tomohiro Anraku RHP starter Saibi High School: Anraku’s still a high school student, but he’s an interesting prospect. Clearly the top player in last year’s spring Koshien Sembatsu tournament, he was famously pitched into the ground by his manager. The bodily wear he sustained from the effort led to worse performances later in the year, and his stock as an NPB draft prospect has dropped. We don’t know what 2014 holds, but it’s conceivable that he could follow in Kikuchi and Ohtani’s footsteps as a player who tests the MLB waters out of high school.

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Game Notes: PL Climax Series Final Stage Game 3

» 11 November 2011 » In npb » 5 Comments

Yes, this happened a week ago, but it was too good not to write about.

Game three of the Pacific League Climax Series Final Stage doesn’t usually drink beer, but when it does, it prefers Dos Equis. The deciding game of the Pacific League’s Climax Series had nearly everything, including a somewhat strange, anti-climactic ending.

First the good stuff: both starting pitchers were phenomenal. Seibu had the good version of Hideaki Wakui, who held the tough Softbank lineup hitless until the sixth inning. It’s easy to tell when Wakui has his good stuff: he tends to hit 145 kmph or so with his fastball while keeping the ball down, and have sharp command of his slider. He had both of those things against the Hawks. Maybe it was the level of competition or the fact that this was an elimination game, but he looked like a different pitcher than the one who took the mound against Nippon Ham a week earlier.

Softbank starter Toshiya Sugiuchi never really threatened for a no-hitter, but he matched Wakui’s zeroes through regulation. Sugiuchi has stopped trying to throw hard — his top fastball of the night was arough 138 kmph — but his command was masterful and every one of his pitches had movement. He looked a lot like he did the last time I saw him, about a month ago when he no-hit a hapless Orix lineup through six innings. Anyway, Sugiuchi scattered a few soft singles early in the game but cruised through the later innings, retiring 17 batters in a row from the fourth to the ninth inning.

Then the tears came. With one out inn the top of the 10th, Sugi surrendered back-to-back doubles to Okawari Nakamura and Jose Fernandez, resulting in the first run of the game for either side. With that, Softbank manager Koji Akiyama decided to turn to his excellent bullpen to preserve a shot at the win, and Sugiuchi broke down as he departed the game. This wasn’t really out of character, as Sugi’s known to shed a tear or two, but it was just the beginning of an emotional roller coaster.

After Softbank relievers Takehito Kanazawa and Masahiko Morifuku did what they’ve been doing all season (get guys out), Seibu sent Wakui out for the bottom of the 10th. Even this was a bit unusual. Shogo Saito, who had pinch run for DH Fernandez, stayed in the game to player center, while Wakui entered the lineup in the ninth spot, in place fo center fielder Masato Kumashiro. So Seibu played the rest of the game without a DH, a bit of strategy that makes sense given NPB stops games at 12 innings.

Anyway, it looked like Wakui was going to close things out for the Lions, after getting a pop-out, single and ground out on his first three batters of the 10th. Then Yuya Hasegawa doubled home pinch runner Shuhei Fukuda, tying the game at 1-1, and Wakui had his own tearful exit.

With the game tied going in to the 11th, I will point you back to the all-too-prescient Passerby’s comment from my predictions post:

Because there were many of them this year, this needs to be mentioned. In the Climax Series, a game can go up to the 12th inning. A tie goes to the team that has a better record in the regular season. (I’m actually waiting for an “unnecessary” bottom of the 12th, which I am not sure they will play.)

Both sides failed to score in the 11th, though Softbank threatened. With a man on second, Seibu walked top batter Seiichi Uchikawa, and brought in submarining closer Kazuhisa Makita to face brawny slugger Alex Cabrera. Cabrera was no match for Makita’s array of soft stuff, and the game proceeded to the 12th, still tied 1-1.

Softbank sent out closer Takahiro Mahara “close” the game, and he did his job, surrendering a leadoff single but nothing further. And so it was that for the first time (I assume), a postseason series was clinched before the final game was completed.

The Softbank Hawks were set to charge the field when Mahara completed the top of the 12th, but the mood-killing home plate umpire put the brakes on things, and made the Hawks bat for their half of the 12th. It didn’t matter, as the already-defeated Lions came out with a forgivably lethargic effort. Makita immediately surrendered a couple of hits, and the game officially ended in a 2-1 walkoff win for the Hawks.

Then, finally, the beer kake could begin. Alas, it was probably not Dos Equis.

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Games Notes: PL Climax Series First Stage Game 1

» 29 October 2011 » In npb » 2 Comments

Preamble: These observations are a companion to Kaz Nagatsuka’s Japan Times writeup.

Well, add this one to my list of failed predictions. After suggesting that Yu Darvish’s presence alone was enough for a Nippon Ham game one win, the Seibu Lions took a cue from the World Series champions with a come-from-behind extra inning win.

My pick was looking pretty good into the fifth inning, as Darvish retired the first 13 Lions he faced. He was clearly amped up, working off a barrage of fastballs early in the game and topping out at 154-155 kmph (96 mph). But despite that, this was an oddly unfulfilling Darvish game to watch. He didn’t really settle into a groove with any of his breaking pitches, and his command seemed to deteriorate a little after Jose Fernandez broke up the no-hitter in the fifth. He also lost a few kmph off his fastball as the game wore on, from 154 to a still-excellent 149-150 kmph (93 mph). These are trite criticisms; Darvish struck out seven, walked none, allowed only one run, and left the game with the lead. He just didn’t quite perform at his amazingly high peak, and I find myself hoping that this won’t be his last start this season.

In the bottom halves of the innings, Seibu starter Hideaki Wakui kept his Lions in the game, but was unimpressive overall. Nippon Ham only managed a two runs and a couple of strings of singles; I put that down to the Fighters’ slap-hitting lineup and the limited-flight ball more than anything Wakui did. He featured his fastball and slider and generally worked low in the zone, but allowed frequent contact and left his bullpen with a jam in the sixth inning. That he was lifted with no outs in the fifth, after throwing 85 pitches, is indicative of how Wakui has fallen from acedom. A few years ago, Wakui was an bullpen-saving workhorse, frequently working into the late innings and occasionally throwing 150 pitches or more. He’s a good pitcher and it doesn’t look like anything’s physically wrong with him, he’s just looked uninspired this season. This was another one of those games.

Screwball managerial move of the game: Nippon Ham’s Masataka Nashida pulling star centerfielder Yoshio Itoi in the seventh inning for young Kenshi Sugiya. That was a head-scratcher.

And one final observation from this game is that I significantly overlooked Seibu’s lineup. They clearly have many more threats than Nippon Ham. I particularly enjoyed Fernandez’s approach against Darvish, which resulted in two opposite-field singles (along with two more later against Nippon Ham’s relievers).

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My Team Japan

» 08 May 2011 » In npb » 27 Comments

Last week, I got a pretty good question Twitter — who would my Japanese national team be today?

It’s a good question, and a nice change of pace from the Darvish questions I frequently get, so I decided to write up a post about it. Coincidentally back when I was teaching English at the now-defuct NOVA, I used to do a lesson like this with my baseball fan students, and it was always a fun one.

I’m picking my team as if they would have to compete at the highest level, so as cool as I think the World Port Tournament is, I’m following the WBC roster rules. In summary, I get a maximum of 28 players, with a minimum of two catchers and 13 pitchers.

Outfield

No reason to deviate from the 2009 WBC starting outfield of Ichiro, Kosuke Fukudome, and Norichika Aoki. For my fourth outfielder I’ll go with the gap power, strike zone judgement, and defensive prowess of Nippon Ham CF Yoshio Itoi.

Infield

There’s one easy call for me in the infield: Hiroyuki Nakajima at shortstop. At second base, I’ll start Tsuyoshi Nishioka, without regard to his current injury.

The corners are a little trickier. At third base, I like Takeya “Okawari-kun” Nakamura’s bat and Eiichi Koyano’s glove, with Takahiro Arai striking a balance between the two. Choices are a bit limited on other side of the diamond, and Sho Nakata might be the best choice by the end of the year, but for now I prefer the contact bat of Seiichi Uchikawa.

This group of four gives me some flexibility. I can play the stronger defensive group with Koyano at third, Arai at first, and Okawari-kun DH’ing, or I can for the better offensive lineup and have Arai at third, Okawari-kun at first, and one of my other candidates batting DH. The presence of Uchikawa gives me the option of playing the hot hand as well.

On the bench, I’ll stash Yasuyuki Kataoka and Munenori Kawasaki, both of whom can pinch run, steal bases, get bunts down and play good defense all over the infield.

Designated Hitters

Nakamura would DH for my team when he’s not playing in the field. Hideki Matsui never participates in these things, but dammit,this is my dream team, so he’s in.

Catchers

Catcher is an easy call. Kenji Johjima starts, Shinnosuke Abe backs up.

Starting Pitchers

The first three starters are easy choices: Yu Darvish, Hisashi Iwakuma and Hiroki Kuroda. The next three are pretty easy too: Masahiro Tanaka, Hideaki Wakui, Kenta Maeda. Hang on, no lefties in there, so I’ll call on Tsuyoshi Wada, Toshiya Sugiuchi, and Masaru Takeda.

That’s nine starters, so some of these guys are are going to relieve. In particular, I like Tanaka as a power arm out of the bullpen, and Takeda as a lefty specialist.

Relief Pitchers

I’m rounding out my 13-man pitching staff with four full-time relievers for my squad: Kyuji Fujikawa, Takuya Asao, Hitoki Iwase and Tetsuya Yamaguchi.

Those last two are kind of risky picks, given Iwase’s struggles in the 2008 Olympics, and the fact that Yamaguchi got lit up for 10 home runs last year. But Iwase is a good pitcher, and I like Yamaguchi’s ability to get lefthanded batters out.

Notable absences

The last name I deleted off my list of candidates was Chihiro Kaneko (ignoring the fact that he’s been out injured all season). It was either him or Koyano, and I went with Koyano for his third base defense and gap bat. Kaneko’s righty starter skillset is already well-represented.

I would love to have another power bat on this team, but the only other guy I really thought about was Shuichi Murata. A few years ago, his inclusion would have been a no-brainer, but I prioritized defense, and his down numbers last season concern me. Nobuhiko Matsunaka would have been a great inclusion, but he is a shadow of his former self.

I gave some consideration to Koji Uehara and Takashi Saito, but they are too injury-prone to displace either Fujikawa or Asao, and too righthanded to bump Iwase or Yamaguchi.

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Watching Baseball, April 18

» 19 April 2011 » In npb » 3 Comments

Last night, thanks to some justin.tv channel surfing I was able to catch bits and pieces of three NPB games, and I’m catching up on Yu Darvish’s start against Orix as I write this. Here are a few things I noticed.

Seibu vs Lotte

  • Crowds were sparse at all the games I watched. Yokohama appeared to draw the best audience for their game against Hiroshima.
  • Takashi Ogino is a threat to steal every time he reaches first with second base open. I’d like to see him dig in and go after third as well.
  • Hideaki Wakui’s fastball velocity was in the 142 kmph range, which is a little bit sub-optimal for him. Lotte seemed to get better looks at him after the first time through the lineup.
  • Yoshihisa Naruse, on the other hand, was pretty much vintage in shutting out the Lions. He only K’d six, but he made few mistake pitches and induced a large quantity of pop up outs.
  • The defensive play of the game was rookie Shogo Akiyama’s jumping catch at the wall, on Saburo’s long fly ball to right field. I had always perceived Saburo as being vulnerable to hard pitches away, but the pitch he hit was a fastball over the outside corner, and he drove it the other way. Maybe Saburo has refined his approach, or maybe Wakui’s velocity wasn’t enough to make that pitch effective.
  • Akiyama’s bat is still way behind his glove. He struck out in his only two at-bats, the first time on three pitches.
  • Tadahito Iguchi has really filled out. He and Tae Kyun Kim have got to be the portliest right side of any infield in Japan.
  • Seibu infielder Hideto Asamura again looked extremely confident at the plate. He wound up going 1-3 with a double.

Chunichi vs Yakult

  • Yahoo had identified Kazuki Yoshimi as Chunichi’s starter, but it was actually Kenichi Nakata that took the hill.
  • Joel Guzman looked absolutely terrible against Masanori Ishikawa, and finished 0-4 with three strikeouts. NPB pitchers, take note —  Guzman should not see anything other than breaking balls out of the zone until he proves he can lay off them.
  • Kazuhiro Hatakeyama has stepped in to Yakult’s lineup with Josh Whitesell temporarily sidelined. He’s responded by going 5-8 with three home runs in the two games he started.
  • Despite his offspeed woes, Wladimir Balentien made contact with a couple of breaking pitches yesterday. Yes, they were groundouts, but there may be hope for him.
  • As noted by Jason Coskrey, it got darker at Jingu Stadium as the game progressed. Jason tweeted that NPB would consider using stadium lights for safety purposes during the night game ban.

 

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2011 Season Predictions: Pacific League

» 10 April 2011 » In npb » Comments Off

The Pacific League is balanced. In fact, this is probably the first time I can say that I think that every team in the league has a chance to finish first. That makes it difficult to pick winners this year, so I’m going to try something different. I’ve got the teams ranked not by where I think they’ll finish, but by how likely I think they are to finish first.

6. Orix Buffaloes (offseason summary)

High-risk, high-reward rotation; new suketto question marks; counting on lots of guys who had their first success in 2010; thin bullpen; Chihiro Kaneko injured

5. Chiba Lotte Marines (offseason summary)

Absence of Tsuyoshi Nishioka and Hiroyuki Kobayashi; lineup is due for some regression; not quite sold on starters not named Naruse or Karakawa

4. Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles (offseason summary)

Strong front rotation; better lineup with the additions of Kazuo Matsui and Akinori Iwamura; lots of righty bullpen options; new manager

3. Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters (offseason summary)

Yu Darvish; steady rotation; great defense; a few break-out candidates; good 2nd half in 2010; Darvish

2. Fukuoka Softbank Hawks (offseason summary)

Additions of Alex Cabrera and Seiichi Uchikawa; strong lineup 1-9; good 1-2 starters; lights-out bullpen; backed into 2010 title; emerging starters; lots of injury-prone players

1. Saitama Seibu Lions (offseason summary)

Productive lineup; talented core; interesting young pitchers — Yusei Kikuchi, Tatsuya Oishi, Kazuhisa Makita; stalwart ace in Hideaki Wakui

It was tough putting Orix last, since I’m such a big fan of their approach, but everything needs to go right for them to win. Similarly it’s hard having Lotte fifth after a Nippon Series win, but I think their lineup is likely to fall back to earth in 2011. Rakuten in fourth is a bit of a leap of faith for me; last year Chunichi won with four good hitters and a good group of pitchers. Rakuten has the starters (but not the bullpen) and with their additions they might have the offense they need to contend. As for the other three… well, it came down to a toss up between Softbank and Seibu for first. I think I just have a preference for Seibu’s lineup, and more confidence in their ability to remain healthy.

The point is, any one of these teams can win in 2011. It should be a great season.

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NPB Bullet Points: Ouen-dan, Wakui, Darvish, Orix Uniforms

» 08 January 2011 » In mlb prospects, nichibei, npb, npb draft, NPB Tracker » 10 Comments

Before I get caught up on my more analytical pieces, here’s about a week’s worth of news items:

  • The Yomiuri Giants have broken up the Tokyo Yomiuri Kyojin-gun Ouen-dan (Tokyo Yomiuri Giants Cheering Club) over “improper re-sale of game tickets”.
  • Seibu ace Hideaki Wakui is having a hard time reaching an agreement with the Lions on his 2011 salary. It’s reportedly possible that he won’t have a contract signed by the time camp opens, and thus have to pay his way there.
  • Chiba Marine Stadium has been rechristened QVC Marine Field. Yes, that’s QVC, the television shopping network.
  • Sponichi points out that, in addition to being the son of former Chunichi Dragon Mark Ryal, Rusty Ryal was also the guy that hit a line drive off Hiroki Kuroda’s head back in 2009.
  • The Yukan Fuji paper published an article about Bill James projections found at my other haunt, Fangraphs.com. The headline was James’ projection that Koji Uehara would save 31 games with a 2.81 ERA for the Orioles this upcoming season.
  • According to Sankei News, the Chiba Lotte Marines took in 8bn yen in revenue in 2010, the highest figure in team history. While the club finished 2bn yen in the red, they lost 1.3bn yen less than the previous year, and the 8bn yen represents a quadrupling in revenue since 2004. Winning the Nippon Series and posting Tsuyoshi Nishioka helped boost Lotte’s income.
  • Despite being in great shape, former Yokohama and Orix player Katsuaki Furuki got his face bashed in his fighting debut.
  • Yu Darvish’s New Year’s Resolutions are to read two books per month, and watch movies that he doesn’t typically like. His intent is to “refine his sensitivity” (“感性を磨けるかなって理由です(^^)”).
  • Darvish’s Nippon Ham teammate, incoming rookie Yuki Saito, wants to play until he’s 50.
  • Here’s a great pic of Hiroshima ace Kenta Maeda working out with a medicine ball.
  • Lotte managed to sign their 6th-round draft pick, USC right Shuhei Fujiya. Fujiya gets Johnny Kuroki’s number 54.
  • Orix has unveiled their new uniforms. I’m a little disappointed, I thought they would change them more. I think they should have brought back the old Kintetsu Buffaloes logo, at least on an arm patch or something.
  • And finally, one in English: speaking to ESPN, Matt Murton called going to Japan “100 percent the best decision I made.”

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Will 2010 See a 20-Game Winner?

» 05 July 2010 » In npb » 2 Comments

It’s not year that we see a 20 game winner in NPB. The last pitcher to pull it off was Hisashi Iwakuma, with his remarkable 21-win season in 2008. The last time prior to that was 2003, when Kei Igawa and Kazumi Saito each won 20, and shared the Sawamura Award. Bonus points will be awarded to the reader who can name the last 20-game winner prior to Igawa and Saito.

At the halfway point this season, a number of pitchers have won enough to have a shot at 20:

Pitcher Team Record Starts ERA
Shun Tohno Yomiuri 11-2 15 2.40
Tsuyoshi Wada SoftBank 11-4 15 3.24
Bobby Keppel Nippon Ham 10-1 14 3.07
Toshiya Sugichi SoftBank 10-3 15 3.82
Kenta Maeda Hiroshima 10-3 16 1.56
Hideaki Wakui Seibu 10-4 16 2.90
Takayuki Kishi Seibu 9-5 15 3.36

So will any of them do it? Assuming good health, each one of these guys should get 10-13 more starts this year, so, as always, winning 20 will require both effectiveness and luck.

If I were to place a bet on one of these pitchers winning 20, I think I’d reluctantly go with Tohno. The Giants will keep winning and he’s been very effective, but Tohno doesn’t go deep into games and will rely on his bullpen to lock down wins for him. The fact that Maeda, the only other Central Leaguer on this list, plays for the also-ran Hiroshima seems to work against him, but remember that Iwak

I could see one of the Pacific League pitchers making a run too, but the Pa-League is so balanced this year it’s hard to guess which one.

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Extrapolating Another New Feature

» 28 May 2010 » In NPB Tracker » Comments Off

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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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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