Tag Archive > Hisayoshi Chono

The NPB Tracker Post Season Awards

» 01 December 2011 » In npb » 1 Comment

Better run this before ALL the awards are announced… several weeks ago, Randy, Ken and I made our selections for the top performers of 2011. And here they are, with minimal analysis.

Sawamura Award: Masahiro Tanaka (Patrick, Ken), Yu Darvish (Randy)

Ken and I liked Tanaka’s crazy 1.27 ERA, while Randy favored Darvish’s higher innings pitched and strikeout totals. Can’t really go wrong either way.

Apologies to: Kazuki Yoshimi, Tetsuya Utsumi

Pacific League MVP: Tanaka (Patrick, Ken), Darvish (Randy)

The new NPB ball made this a pitcher’s year, and there was general consensus that the performance of Darvish and Tanaka put them ahead of everyone else.

The real winner, Seiichi Uchikawa, finished third on Randy’s ballot and fifth on mine. He would have been my winner if he had missed less time.

Apologies to: Takeya Nakamura, Yoshio Itoi, Hiroyuki Nakajima, Uchikawa

Central League MVP: Hisayoshi Chono (unanimous)

The overall lack of offense around the league meant that Chono’s performance stood out enough to win our votes. The lack of a Tanaka or Darvish type starting pitcher in the CL played a role here as well. Yoshimi and Utsumi were extremely good this year, but not scarily dominant.

The real winner, Takuya Asao, finished fourth on my ballot. You can argue that he put up that Tanaka-level performance in the CL this year, and I guess the voters did, but personally I valued a starting position player over a relief pitcher.

Apologies to: Asao, Yoshimi, Utsumi, Kenta Kurihara, Hirokazu Sawamura

Pacific League Rookie of the Year: Kazuhisa Makita (Patrick, Ken), Shota Ishimine (Randy)

While there were a lot of strong rookies in the PL this year, Makita pitched over 100 innings for Seibu out of the rotation and out of the bullpen, solidifying each when his team needed it. Ishimine stuck in the Lotte outfield throughout the season, got on base at a respectable clip, and swiped 32 bases.

The real voters agreed with Ken and I.

Apologies to: Takahiro Shiomi, Yuki Saito

Central League Rookie of the Year: Sawamura (unanimous)

Probably the most obvious award in quite some time, thanks to Sawamura’s 2.03 ERA over 200 innings pitched. The real voters thought so.

Apologies to: Daiki Enokida

Continue reading...

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Playoff Picks

» 28 October 2011 » In npb » 8 Comments

While the MLB postseason is ready to come to what will certainly be a dramatic end, the NPB playoffs are just about to begin. The Climax Series opens for both leagues on Saturday, October 29 (JST), with the third place and second place finishers squaring off in the opening round. As a refresher, here is the format of the NPB postseason:

  • Climax Series, First Stage: best of three series between the second place and third place finishers.
  • Climax Series, Second Stage: best of seven series between the league champion (first place finisher) and the First Stage winner. The league champion is automatically credited with a one-win advantage.
  • Japan Series: best of seven series between the Central League Climax Series winner and Pacific League Climax Series winner.
And on to my picks…

Pacific League First Stage: Seibu vs Nippon Ham

I’m going to credit Nippon Ham with with an immediate win because of the presence of Yu Darvish, and then a second one because of their superior pitching and defense. Pick: Nippon Ham, 2-0. Key player: Yu Darvish.

Central League First Stage: Yomiuri vs Yakult

Though the Swallows and Giants finished a game apart in the standings, they went in opposite directions this season. Yakult got off to a hot start and faded down the stretch, while Yomiuri had to claw their way into contention after a sub-par start. Yakult won the season series 12-8-4, but Yomiuri has stronger pitching and most offensive threats overall. Pick Yomiuri, 2-1. Key player: Hisayoshi Chono.

Pacific League Second Stage: Nippon Ham vs Softbank

Softbank has every edge here: a deeper rotation, a better lineup, a 16-7-1 regular season record against Nippon Ham, more rest, and a one-game advantage for finishing first. Softbank has also been on their game recently against Nippon Ham, with an 8-1-1 record against the Fighters in September and October. Pick: Softbank 4-1. Key player: Seiichi Uchikawa.

Central League Second Stage: Yomiuri vs Chunichi

This is a close call. Yomiuri has a narrow regular season 12-10-2 edge over Chunichi, and both teams prevented runs this season at about the same pace. Chunichi lineup is weak, the worst in the CL this year, but they have been bullpen options than Yomiuri. So a series of close games probably favors Chunichi, and of course they have the rest and automatic wins advantages, plus the Ochiai destiny. My gut is saying Chunichi, but my brain is saying Yomiuri. Pick Chunichi 4-3. Key player: Takuya Asao.

Japan Series: Chunichi vs Softbank

Maybe it’s bland to predict a Japan Series between the two league champions, but that’s what I see. It’s probably equally bland to pick the more statistically dominant team to win as well… but it’s hard to pick against Softbank. They allowed 59 fewer runs than anyone else in Japan, with a 2.30 team ERA. Offensively they finished second overall to Seibu’s Okawari-kun-fueled lineup, but their 550 runs was 66 better than third place Yakult. Chunichi has enough pitching to keep the games close, but ultimately suffers with a big disadvantage at the plate.

Pick: Softbank 4-2. Key player: Tsuyoshi Wada (with wins in games two and six).

Continue reading...

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Game Report: Ogasawara Reaches 2,000 Hits

» 05 May 2011 » In npb » 3 Comments

Summary: Hanshin defeated Yomiuri 2-1, but Michihiro Ogasawara reached his milestone.

This game had quite a few juicy storylines coming in. The Giants’ rookie Hirokazu Sawamura made his Tokyo Dome debut, and “Guts” Ogasawara was one hit away from 2,000 for his career. 45,313 people were on hand at Tokyo Dome to perhaps witness history.

Sawamura, selected out of Chuo University last autumn, seemed to get off to a rocky start. The first two batters he faced made solid contact. Matt Murton lined a ball to third base for an out, and Keiichi Hirano ripped a single into right field.

According to the broadcast I was watching, in the first inning Sawamura basically threw fastballs and what was described a forkball. If their graphic was right, he didn’t throw another one until several innings later. Nevertheless, he hit 150 kmph at least twice that I saw but was wild, especially to third hitter Takashi Toritani. He did manage to reign in his control and strike out Takahiro Arai and Craig Brazell to escape the jam.

If the crowd was hoping to see hit number 2,000 from Ogasawara in the first inning, they were disappointed. He popped up on the infield for the third out.

Sawamura had an easy second frame and it looked like Yomiuri might open the scoring in their half of the inning. Alex Ramirez had the Giants’ first hit of the day, followed by a seeing eye single up the middle from Hisayoshi Chono. But two outs and an intentional pass later Iwata was left facing his counterpart whom he easily struck out.

In the third inning, Hirano collected his second hit of what would become a very good game for him. Nothing came of it for Hanshin, just as nothing came of Ogasawara’s second chance at history in the bottom half. He K’ed on a check swing called strike three.

Yomiuri broke the stalemate on the scoreboard in the 4th when Ramirez absolutely destroyed a pitch from Iwata into the left field stands. The ball was a no-doubter, landing close to the top of the bleachers filled with Tigers fans and very near the aisle that surrounds the seats. It was a solo shot and Rami’s 6th of the season.

Of note, Hanshin again chose to semi-intentionally walk (after 3 balls) the eighth hitter Ken Kato to face Sawamura.

The 5th inning was Sawamura’s hardest working frame of the day. Shunsuke Fujikawa led off with a double, but Iwata was unable to move him over with a failed bunt attempt. When Murton was retired it looked as if Sawamura would escape unscathed, but the pesky Hirano drove in Shunsuke with his 3rd hit of the day. The game was tied at 1-1, with the Tigers threatening for more.

Perhaps he was rattled, after a botched pickoff attempt allowed Shunsuke to move up to second base. Toritani and Arai walked, but Sawamura regained his composure and retired Brazell to end the inning.

The thing that most impressed me about Sawamura in that spot was his fearless approach that he took with the large American, choosing to go right after him. That speaks well for Sawamura’s future.

Ogasawara was stuck on 1,999 hits as he hit into a double play for try number three. Lefties have really baffled him all series long.

In the top of the 6th, Sawamura made a glaring mistake to Kenji Johjima, hanging a breaking pitch right over the plate. Johjima taught the youngster a lesson by promptly slamming it into the seats in left to give Hanshin a 2-1 lead. It was Johjima’s 2nd homer of the year.

Of little consolation, Sawamura retired Hirano for the first time of the day later that inning. Hirano finished with a 4 for 5 day at the plate.

When Toritani singled in the Hanshin 7th, it signaled the end of Sawamura’s day. Sawamura’s final line was 6.1 IP, 111 pitches, 8 H, 5 K, 4 BB, 2 ER. It’s hard to call it a good outing considering the hit and walks number, including a few glaring mistakes (the pickoff throw and Johjima’s HR), but I’d call it a solid game. Especially for someone with such little NPB experience under his belt.

Only a close play at the plate (and perhaps and ill-advised coaching decision at third base) prevented the score from becoming 3-1. Brazell knocked a double into right field off of new pitcher Yasunari Takagi, but Arai missed home plate on a tumbling slide and was tagged out.

At Lucky 7 time, it was still 2-1 Tigers.

Fast forward to the bottom of the 8th, when the moment most of the crowd had been waiting for finally happened. With one out and right-hander Hiroyuki Kobabyashi in the game, Guts smashed a 1-2 pitch past the reliever’s head and into center for hit number 2,000. Flowers, of course, were presented and the game continued on with little delay.

A Chono walk later in the inning provided the Giants with a two out threat, but Rusty Ryal was retired on strikes to end the frame.

There little delay in securing the win for the visitors on this day, as Kyuji Fujikawa slammed the door on the Giants in the 9th with two quick outs, a hit batsman, and a Sakamoto fly out to right caught by a sliding Murton.

Continue reading...

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

My Post-Season Awards

» 17 October 2010 » In npb » 6 Comments

We’re still in the midst of the playoffs, but the regular season is in the books. There were a number of great individual performances this year, and if NPB asked me, these would be my picks for the post-season awards.

CL MVP: Kazuhiro Wada (OF, Chunichi)

Apologies to Alex Ramirez, Norichika Aoki and Matt Murton. This one was closer than I would have predicted. It’s a battle counted stats versus rate stats, with Ramirez having the league lead in home runs and rbis, and Wada leading in slugging and on-base percentages. At the end of the day, Wada hit with just as much power as Ramirez, made fewer outs and was the key bat on the League-winning team.

PL MVP: Tsuyoshi Nishioka (SS, Chiba Lotte)

Apologies to Hitoshi Tamura, Alex Cabrera. For me this one was a lot easier to pick. Nishioka lead his league in hits, batting average and runs, and plays a premium defensive position. A-Cab had another great year but was missed too many games with injury problems. And this is lame, but Tamura just doesn’t “feel” like an MVP to me, though he had a strong season all around.

CL RoY: Hisayoshi Chono (OF, Yomiuri)

Apologies to no one. I’ll have to eat my words here: I thought Chono was overrated coming in to the season but he was clearly part of Yomiuri’s best lineup. Chono was a great pickup for the Giants as Yoshitomo Tani started to show his age,  Yoshiyuki Kamei is looking like a one-year wonder, and Yoshinobu Takahashi missed half the season.

PL RoY: Keisuke Kattoh (RP, Softbank)

Apologies to Takashi Ogino. I would have gone with Ogino if he had gotten healthy, but Kattoh had a good season with a 2.96 era and 74 strikeouts in 76 innings pitched. Softbank has a knack for developing relievers.

Sawamura Award: Kenta Maeda

Apologies to Yu Darvish, Chihiro Kaneko. If this was the “best pitcher” award, I would go with Darvish, who was phenomenal yet again in 2010. But this is the Sawamura Award, with its seven criteria. Maeda and Darvish each miss on one criteria, Maeda on complete games and Darvish on wins. Maeda has more wins, starts, innings pitched, and a better winning percentage, while Darvish has the edge on strikeouts, complete games and era. So I’ll give it to Maeda on a split decision, even though Darvish had the edge on dominance.

Best Nine:

Position Central League Pacific League
P Kenta Maeda Yu Darvish
C Shinosuke Abe Motohiro Shima
1B Craig Brazell Alex Cabrera
2B Keiichi Hirano Tadahito Iguchi
3B Masahiko Morino Eichi Koyano
SS Hayato Sakamoto Tsuyoshi Nishioka
OF Norichika Aoki Hitoshi Tamura
OF Matt Murton Teppei
OF Kazuhiro Wada Yoshio Itoi
DH - T-Okada

Apologies to: Kenji Johjima (CL C), Alex Ramirez (CL OF), Michihiro Ogasawara (CL 1B/3B), Chihiro Kaneko (PL P), Kensuke Tanaka (PL 2B), Munenori Kawasaki (PL SS), Toshiaki Imae (PL 3B), Hiroyuki Nakajima (PL SS).

Toughest choices:

  • CL catcher: My gut was Johjima all the way, but Abe was better at the plate and made fewer errors behind it.
  • CL OF: it was really, really tough leaving one of Murton, Aoki, Wada and Ramirez off. In the end I went with Ramirez, because Murton set a new hits record, Aoki had the best year of his career, and Wada edges out Ramirez in terms of contribution.
  • PL 3B: Koyano and Imae both had great seasons, Koyano was just that much better in the final stats.
  • PL SS: This was actually an easy choice, which says more about Nishioka’s season than Kawasaki’s and Nakajima’s.
  • PL 2B: Tanaka had an eye-catching batting average, but Iguchi got on base more, hit with more power and made fewer errors.
  • And finally, it was tough leaving Ogasawara off, but Brazell was the more productive 1B, and I don’t think he played enough to count at 3B.

Continue reading...

Tags: , , , ,

2010 At The Half

» 27 July 2010 » In npb » 5 Comments

This post is a little late — we’re officially in the second half of the season as the first post-All-Star games were played on Monday. The All-Star game is only a symbolic marker anyway though, as all the NPB teams have played at least 87 games out of the 144-game schedule. Still it’s a good time to take stock of the season that’s been played so far. Here are some thoughts conveniently split up into three categories.

A few general observations:

  • The Central League is again a three-team race between Yomiuri, Hanshin, and Chunichi. This makes the playoff race somewhat uninteresting but the playoffs themselves should be good.
  • The Pacific League is much more balanced, with SoftBank, Seibu, and Lotte nine or more games over .500, Orix even and Nippon Ham one game under. Rakuten is in the cellar at 40-49, but they have the second best pitching results in the league and could get into contention for a playoff spot if they start to hit.
  • We’re seeing a strong performances from a number of starting pitchers.

Follow up from previous posts:

  • The answers to my six storylines so far: no, yes, unfortunately not, maybe, yes/not yet, probably none.
  • Yokohama is again a doormat. I thought they’d be a little more competitive this year.
  • My rookies to watch are either injured (Yusei, Kazuhito Futagami, Takashi Ogino), fat (Ryoji Nakata) or Hisayoshi Chono (Chono).
  • A couple of the imports I put on my watch list, Matt Murton and Kim Tae-Gyun, have taken off in Japan. Gio Alvarado is getting it together as well.
  • The veterans I picked to watch have mostly been duds, which isn’t a surprise as I deliberately listed a bunch of guys with question marks. That said, Yoshinobu Takahashi is having a nice bounce back season, Aarom Baldiris has contributed some a performance to Orix, and Sho Nakata is showing some signs of life.

NPB Tracker mid-season awards:

  • My first half MVPs: Central League – Kazuhiro Wada (Chunichi), Pacific League - Hiroyuki Nakajima (Seibu)
  • First half Sawamura Award winner: Kenta Maeda (Hiroshima)
  • First half RoYs: Central League – Chono (Yomiuri), Pacific League – Ogino (Lotte) despite missing significant time on the injured list
  • Breakout players: Central League – Shun Tohno (Yomiuri), Pacific League – T-Okada (Orix)

Continue reading...

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Rookies to Watch in 2010

» 23 March 2010 » In npb » 6 Comments

In the last of my “things to watch” in 2010 series, today will look at this year’s crop of rookies.

  • Yusei (P, Seibu Lions): The Pitcher Formerly Known as Yusei Kikuchi is kind of a no-brainer for this list. Yusei starts the year at ni-gun but if all goes well I would expect him to spend some time with the top team this year.
  • Ryoji Nakata (1B, Chunichi Dragons): Nakata is fat to the tune of 118kg. He insists his weight is an asset, but I think it’s reasonable to question how it will play over the course of a season.
  • Hisayoshi Chono (OF, Yomiuri Giants): Chono’s old school insistence of playing for the Giants finally paid off when they drafted him last year. I’ve been skeptical of Chono since seeing video of him struggle with Industrial League breaking pitches, but he’s had a good spring. The Giants’ aging outfield could use an injection of youth, so he’ll get his at bats.
  • Kazuhito Futagami (P, Hanshin Tigers): Hanshin’s rotation woes should open up some innings for Futagami, if he were not injured himself
  • Takashi Ogino (OF, Chiba Lotte Marines): Ogino has started Lotte’s first three games and is a robust 5/11 so far. At 24 and with Industrial League experience, like Chono he’s a little more ready to contribute at the top level than some of the younger players.

Continue reading...

Tags: , , , ,

NPB Bullet Points: Real Bullets This Time

» 01 March 2010 » In npb » 3 Comments

In the year and a half or so I’ve been writing posts called “NPB Bullet Points”, I’ve never written about actual bullets. Thanks to Chunichi Dragons pitcher Maximo Nelson, that changes today.

Nelson was arrested for violating Japan’s weapons control law a couple of days ago when passing through security for a domestic flight. It turns out that he had a single bullet in his carry-on luggage. Nelson explained what happened at his apology press conference: “In the Dominican, I had put away about 50 bullets in that bag. When I was coming to Japan, I had planned on clearing out all the bullets and bringing that bag, but there was one left. I didn’t notice it.” I was wondering why that wouldn’t have triggered security already, but Nelson had an explanation for that: “at the time I came to Japan, I had that bag inside a suitcase I checked with the airline. Also when I traveled to Okinawa, it was with the luggage the team collected and delivered. So it didn’t get caught in the inspections.”

Nelson bowed deeply and seems to be apologetic. It seems like the team is conducting its own investigation, but it doesn’t look like this will cost Nelson his spot with the Dragons. In Sports Hochi article, manager Hiromitsu Ochiai was quoted as saying “this experience was awful, but from this point on do your best.”

On with the rest of the bullet points…

  • Yusei Kikuchi, now known simply as Yusei, has been sent to Seibu’s ni-gun (farm team) camp.
  • Yu Darvish’s wife, entertainer Saeko, gave birth to the couple’s second child, a boy weighing in at about 3400 grams. Darvish wasn’t present for the delivery, as he was tied up showing Buddy Carlyle how he grips his slider
  • According to the Yuma Sun by way of Nikkan Sports, Eri Yoshida was drafted out of the Arizona Winter League by the Golden League’s Chico Outlaws. Yoshida has a deal to play this season with Mie of the Japan Future Baseball League, and is going to talk her options over with her parents.
  • A great nugget from the previously referenced Yoshida article is that Ila Borders, who played Indy ball in the late 90’s had and failed a tryout with the Kintetsu Buffaloes in 2000. I had never heard that before.
  • College pitcher Yuki Saito, in the States training with his Waseda University team, was given the opportunity to throw off the mound at Dodgers Stadium. Nikkan Sports also picked up on the attention Saito is getting from SF Giants scouts John Cox and Shun Kakazu. That is the same Shun Kakazu that worked with Bobby Valentine’s Chiba Lotte Marines.
  • Giants rookie Hisayoshi Chono, who I’m skeptical of, is off to a great start this spring, going 14/32 over his first eight games.
  • This isn’t normal NPB Tracker news, but a couple weeks ago Taiwan’s Brother Elephants signed Canadian Ryan Murphy. To me, this is notable because Murphy spent the last two years in Holland’s Honkbal Hoofdklasse, and has experience in Australia as well.

Continue reading...

Tags: , , , , , , ,

2009 Draft: First Round Preview

» 28 October 2009 » In NPB Tracker » 4 Comments

The NPB draft is tomorrow, and no shock here, but Yusei Kikuchi will be the story of the first round. So far seven teams have announced an intent to select Kikuchi in the first round. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Yokohama: Yoshitomo Tsutsugo
  • Hiroshima: Takeru Imamura
  • Hanshin: Kikuchi
  • Yakult: Kikuchi
  • Chunichi: Kikuchi
  • Yomiuri: Hisayoshi Chono
  • Orix: unannounced (Kikuchi)
  • Chiba Lotte: Kikuchi
  • Seibu: Kikuchi
  • SoftBank: unannounced (Kikuchi)
  • Rakuten: Kikuchi
  • Nippon Ham: Kikuchi

SoftBank has been very quiet on Kikuchi, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them sneak up on Hiroshima and pick Imamura instead of trying their luck on Kikuchi. Orix has talked quite a bit about Kikuchi and I do think they’ll pick him. In any event Kikuchi has a realistic shot at breaking Hideo Nomo’s record of being selected by eight teams in the draft. But when he’s selected, there will still be a number of good prospects on the table, so we should see multiple drawings.

For a refresher on how it works, please see our primer on the NPB draft.

Continue reading...

Tags: , , ,

Kikuchi Meetings: Day Two

» 18 October 2009 » In mlb prospects, nichibei, npb draft » 2 Comments

On Day Two, Yusei Kikuchi met with the eight remaining NPB teams, thus concluding the NPB portion of his schedule. Word is that he’s still 50-50 on which league he chooses, and that should he choose NPB, he doesn’t have a preference on which team he plays for.

Here’s what Kikuchi had to say about the meetings: “I like baseball talk, so it was easy to have the talks. There are a lot of fans in Japan, and solid player development systems. In the case I play in Japan and am drafted, I would give my best effort to any of the 12 teams.”

And his manage, the omnipresent Hiroshi Sasaki: “Each team has it’s own system for maturing individuals. To wait until the last moment before the draft to answer would be an annoyance to the teams, so we should give a decision as quickly as possible after the MLB meetings end.”

Here’s what each of the teams had to say about the situation, again summarized and paraphrased by me:

Chunichi: “Even if there’s only a 1% chance, we’re still going to take the plunge on that arm. We’ll go every day (to see him) until the end of March (when the signing period ends).” Chunichi Chief Scout Hayakawa quoted in Sponichi.

Nippon Ham: “He had extreme interest in things like ‘would Darvish coach me technically?” GM Yamada quoted in Sponichi. Nippon Ham also told Kikuchi “they will select him with their first pick” to which Kikuchi replied “thank you very much”.

Rakuten: “He’s a franchise player. By all means, we want him to play in Tohoku. We’re still a young team, so let’s make team history.” Rakuten team representive Yoneda quoted in Daily Sports.

Yokohama: Yokohama’s first pick was thought to be slugger Yoshitomo Tsutusgo, but chief scout Horii has revealed that Kikuchi is still in the picture. Quoted in Nikkan Sports, Horii told Kikuchi “we haven’t decided on Tsutsugo as our first pick.”

Yakult: “By all means we want this treasure of the baseball world to perform in Japan.” Unattributed quote from the Daily Yomiuri.

Chiba Lotte: “He’s better than our own Yuuki Karakawa.” Senior Scout Matsumoto, quoted in Sponichi.

Hiroshima: The Carp are reportedly out on Kikuchi and will take Seiho HS righty Takeru Imamura, the pitcher who beat Kikuchi’s Hanamaki Higashi at Koshien, with their first pick.

SoftBank: Like the Carp, the Hawks are looking at Imamura as an option for their first pick, and have mostly been quiet on Kikuchi. SoftBank has plenty of pitching, so Tsutsugo probably makes the most sense for them.

Conventional American logic would dictate that Yokohama BayStars, who finished last yet again this year, should have the first overall pick in the draft. That’s not how it works in NPB. For an explanation, please see Ryo’s draft primer.

It’s being reported that as many as ten teams could choose Kikuchi in the first round, which break the previous record of eight set in 1989 by Hideo Nomo. I’d be little surprised if that happens, but if he stays in Japan he’ll have plenty of suitors. There’s really no downside to selecting Kikuchi in the first round (unless you really want Hisayoshi Chono); even if a majority of teams choose him, only one will get to his rights, and most of the other good players will still be on the table.

After a one-day breather, Kikuchi will begin meeting with MLB teams on the 20th. It’ll be interesting to see if the teams come armed with financial offers in hand. We already know what the NPB teams are restricted to a max bonus of about $1m, incentives of about $500k, and first year salary about $150k. We can reasonably expect MLB clubs to outbid NPB here, but by how much and under what terms remains to be seen. This is where the saga really starts, and we’ll learn more over the next few days.

edit – corrected number of teams that drafted Nomo.

Continue reading...

Tags: , , , ,

Kikuchi’s First Day of Meetings

» 16 October 2009 » In mlb prospects, npb draft » 2 Comments

Yusei Kikuchi conducted his first day of meetings on the 16th, and has so far talked with four teams. Here’s what they told him, paraphrased by me:

Orix: “we still have Ichiro’s dormitory room as it was when he played with us.”. From another article: “we developed Ichiro, and Ichiro and So Taguchi train with us in the offseason.”

Seibu: “we had Kazuo Matsui and Daisuke Matsuzaka who made good numbers in Japan and went to the majors.”

Hanshin:”it would be better to build up your technique, physique strength, and mental strength and then trying (MLB).” Hanshin also said they’d be willing to post Kikuchi later on.

Yomiuri: “we’re drafting Hisayoshi Chono. Thanks for your time.” The Giants reportedly didn’t take their full 30 minutes so it looks like they’re serious about Chono.

It’s interesting that Yomiuri is really sticking to it’s foolish guns with Chono, and that Hanshin is already dangling the posting carrot. The mention of posting at this early phase just makes me glad that Steve Phillips isn’t involved. And I give Orix credit for trying, but if Ichiro is a motivating factor for Kikuchi, he could sign with Seattle…

Meanwhile, Japanese Red Sox pitchers Junichi Tazawa and Daisuke Matsuzaka have offered Kikuchi some advice from a far. I translated these directly rather than paraphrasing:

Tazawa: “it’s his own life so I want him to make a choice he won’t regret,” before commenting on his year with the Red Sox, “the training and 2A start were both good. I didn’t make a mistake with the club I chose. I wouldn’t recommend it to just anyone but (the Red Sox development program) was good.”

Matsuzaka: “I thought about it (going to MLB after high school) too, but I didn’t yet have what it would take to make the decision, and I thought I would go after getting results in Japan. If he has confidence that he can do it, either way is good. It’s better that he thinks over a lot of things in this limited time and then decides. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens.”

Continue reading...

Tags: , , , , ,