Tag Archive > Jason Standridge

Changes for 2012: Hanshin Tigers

» 04 February 2012 » In npb » 3 Comments

Coming: Hayata Itoh (1st round draft pick), Shingo Matsuzaki, manager Yutaka Wada

Going: Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi, Kodai Sakurai, Ikuro Katsuragi, Keiji Uezono, manager Akinobu Mayumi

Staying: Matt Murton, Craig Brazell, Randy Messenger, Jason Standridge, Takashi Toritani, Kyuji Fujikawa

Hanshin’s biggest change this season is in the dugout, where Yutaka Wada replaces Akinobu Mayumi, who failed to lead the Tigers to a Central League crown or a Japan Series appearance in three years at the helm. Wada is a Hanshin lifer, having spent his entire 16 year playing career with the team, followed by another 10 years in various coaching roles in the Tigers organizatoin. Wada also occupies a special place in Hanshin lore, as the last active player from Hanshin’s legendary 1985 championship team at the time of his retirement in 2001.

Wada inherits a roster that is largely unchanged from 2011, a team finished fourth in the Central League despite outscoring its opponents by 39 runs. In a small league though, run differentials are deceiving, and a big chunk of those 39 runs came from blowing out Yokohama a few times. Rookie outfielder Hayata Itoh figures to get a serious look during spring training, as center field is a hole, and left fielder Tomoaki Kanemoto is on his last legs after a venerable career. Retaining Matt Murton was a big win for Hanshin, as they can count on his steady bat in right.

Hanshin made no significant changes to its pitching staff this offseason. Hiroyuki Kobayashi is working on a move to the rotation after a so-so season in middle relief; I wonder if lefty Daiki Enokida could make a few starts as well. Depth is always a plus, and while Hanshin had four starters pitch 150+ innings with 3.00 or lower ERAs, lefties Minoru Iwata and Atsushi Nohmi both struggled with injuries prior to 2011. On the farm, Taiwanese prospects Ikketsu Sho and Kai-Wen Cheng both put up good numbers at ni-gun last year, and righty Takumi Akiyama has shown promise as well.

Hanshin is beginning to age at some positions, but overall still has a talented veteran roster. That coupled with regression from of last year’s top three should see the Tigers back in playoff position this year.

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Offseason Changes: Hanshin Tigers

» 29 January 2011 » In npb » 8 Comments

Coming: Hiroyuki Kobayashi, Akihito Fujii, Ryota Arai, Robert Zarate, Marcos Vechionacci

Going: Casey Fossum, Akihiro Yano, Satoru Kanemura, Daiyu Kanemura, Keisuke Mizuta

Staying: Matt Murton, Craig Brazell, Jason Standridge, Randy Messenger

Summary: Hanshin’s offseason starts with the successful retention of the team’s foreign core — Murton, Brazell, Standridge. Messenger also received a contract for 2011, despite his disappointing results last season. The fact that Hanshin’s foreign roster isn’t overcrowded may mean that incumbent Kai Wen Jeng gets a few innings at the ichi-gun level, or that the Tigers will seek reinforcements if Standridge or Messenger stumble. Beyond that, Hanshin’s only significant acquisitions were scooping up Kobayashi after he failed to land an MLB contract, acquiring catcher depth in Fujii, and trading for Takahiro Arai’s brother Ryota. Reports of a Jeff Williams comeback have unfortunately not yet come to fruition.

With the return of Murton and Brazell, Hanshin will again field a strong offense, though it is a good bet they will see some regression. The Tigers lineup was spectacular in2010, with five regulars who batted .300 or higher (and Brazell right behind at .297) powering the team to a league-top 740 runs. Hanshin’s lineup will be good in 2011, but Keiichi Hirano is not going to hit .350 again, and Kenji Johjima is on the shelf recovering from knee surgery until sometime after the season starts. And as good as Murton and Brazell are, it would be unrealistic to expect them to match their superb 2010 results. That said though, Hanshin still has an offense rivaled only by Yomiuri in the Central League.

Hanshin’s rotation has a lot more question marks than its lineup. Yasutomo Kubo has been a godsend, last year becoming the first Hanshin pitcher to throw 200 innings since Kei Igawa back in 2006. Standridge was something of a godsend in 2010 as well, finished second on the team with 126.1 innings. Then 42 year-old lefty Tsuyoshi Shimoyanagi contributed his brand of six-inning appearances, but only 19 times. The laws of the universe dictate that he’ll have to stop someday, but who knows when that will be? Beyond those three guys, Hanshin’s rotation is filled with a bunch of question marks. Minoru Iwata, Atsushi Nohmi, and Yuya Ando have all had success in the past but are coming off injuries. Touted 2009 draftee Kazuhito Futagami didn’t throw a pitch last year; Takumi Akiyama threw many with considerable success, but he’s still only 20. Naoto Tsuru finished last season well and could be poised for a breakout. Hanshin’s bullpen also remains a strength, anchored by ace closer Kyuji Fujikawa.

Overall I see Hanshin as a team with a lot of talent, but one that is kind of on the edge. Despite their thin rotation, the Tigers finished one game out of first last season. If their stable pitchers hold steady and a couple of the question marks pan out, they could be dominant. If they falter and the injury guys don’t come back, Hanshin’s bullpen will be overworked and we’ll see a lot of high scoring games.

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Hanshin Import Pitching: Messenger, Jeng, Fossum

» 09 November 2010 » In nichibei, npb » 1 Comment

Alright, here we go.

Hanshin is hanging on to pitcher Randy Messenger. The news that Hanshin wants keep him broke over the weekend, and I heard from a reliable source on Monday that the two sides have agreed to terms for next season. Messenger didn’t light up the Central League in year one, but he’ll remain in the picture for both bullpen and rotation innings in 2011.

In the same Sanspo piece, it was reported that Taiwanese righty Kai-Weng Jeng has agreed to a deal for next season that will pay him 10m yen. Jeng signed out of a Taiwanese college in 2009.

In older news, Hanshin announced a few weeks ago that they will not offer Casey Fossum a contract for 2011. No word yet on Jason Standridge.

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NPB Bullet Points: Caraballo Debuts, Kudoh Returns, Chunichi Rolls

» 20 July 2010 » In npb » 7 Comments

A couple of debuts and a new NPB record to share. Today’s articles will require your Japanese language skills, or the Fish.

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Hiroshima Adds Stults; Hanshin to Acquire Standridge

» 31 March 2010 » In nichibei, npb » 1 Comment

Eric Stults’ is indeed heading to Japan, with the Hiroshima Carp emerging as the victor for his services. According to the Chugoku Shimbun, Stults gets a salary of about $700k plus performance bonuses, with a $50k signing bonus and and option for second year. The apparent loser in the Stults derby, the Hanshin Tigers, is apparently set to add Jason Standridge.

I don’t know what happened with the negotiations, but this is the second time in recent memory the Tigers didn’t get the pitcher they were after: during the offseason, Rakuten beat Hanshin to the punch on Juan Morillo. I wonder if the fact that more of Hanshin’s acquisition targets get leaked to the media than any other team has something to do with that. Or maybe they’re naming guys that they really aren’t interested in.

Anyway, getting Stults is an interesting move for the Carp. Rotation depth is a good thing for any team, and the Carp lost Colby Lewis in the offseason and have Kan Ohtake on the shelf. But if I had to pick an area for the Carp to improve on, I’d say their lineup could use a little more pop. I really liked the Andy Phillips acquisition last season. And adding Stults does introduce a roster squeeze for the Carp, as they’ll have to choose which four of Stults, Giancarlo Alvarado, Mike Schultz, Justin Huber and Jeff Fiorentino to carry. Still, this gives them the chance to carry the guys who are contributing the most regardless of position.

Hanshin getting Standridge was a little bit of a surprise for me. Their big issue right now is instability in their rotation, and I’ve always thought of Standridge as a reliever… but that’s kind of a mis-perception on my part. He started in Japan with SoftBank a couple years ago, and has starting experience at several minor league levels. Apparently one of the things Hanshin likes is that he has Japan experience and knows a bit about what’s getting into. According to Nikkan Sports (linked above), Hanshin was looking at guys on the fringes of MLB rosters, but wanted someone who they could sign and have on board quickly, to get the team through April and May.

If waiting was an option, they might have taken a look at Cleveland lefty Jeremy Sowers (my own speculation here). Sowers is a polish/command starter who has been back and forth between the Majors and 3A for the last four seasons. He’s never had any trouble putting up strong 3A numbers, but outside of some initial success hasn’t been effective at the MLB level.

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Offseason Changes: SoftBank Hawks

» 11 February 2009 » In npb » Comments Off

Coming: Justin Germano, Kameron Loe, Chris Aguila, Arihito Muramatsu, Brian Falkenborg, manager Koji Akiyama

Going: Jeremy Powell, Rick Guttormson, CJ Nitkowski, Jason Standridge,  Michael Restovich, Naoyuki Ohmura, manager Sadaharu Oh

Staying: DJ Houlton

Trending: neutral

Synopsis: SoftBank didn’t get much out of it’s foreign roster in 2008, hence the high turnover. The Hawks had reportedly been after Eric Hinske and Nelson Cruz, but so far haven’t landed either. Germano and Loe should be useful pieces, and a bit more MLB-caliber than the guys they replace. The Hawks did get the worse of the Muramatsu-Ohmura trade with Orix.

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