Tag Archive > Kyuji Fujikawa

Spring Training YouTube Highlights

» 15 February 2009 » In npb » Comments Off on Spring Training YouTube Highlights

By the time MLB pitchers and catchers hit camps this week, NPB teams will have had their full squads in camp for two full weeks. Here are some highlights, courtesy of fans on YouTube.
  • The first practice game of the spring training season, Hanshin vs Nippon Ham. Yu Darvish started for the Fighters, while Kyuji Fujikawa pitched the first few innings for the Tigers. Note that Kyuji surrenders a walk to Jason Botts after being called for stalling on his third pitch. I’m no fan of that rule, but Kyuji should be the last guy breaking it as he only throws two pitches.
  • New Chunichi Dragons import Tony Blanco has been getting good reviews in the Japanese media, but I could see him having a great camp and then not doing much during the season. Here’s a fan-shot video of him taking batting practice.
  • Here’s another fan-shot Dragons video, this one of Maximo Nelson pitching in an intrasquad game. Very high video quality on this one.

You can find more using this YouTube search link.

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The 15-Second Rule

» 11 February 2009 » In mlb » 6 Comments

In an effort to get the average time of games down under three hours, NPB has decided to introduce a new rule requiring pitchers to deliver each pitch within 15 seconds. This is part of NPB’s Green Baseball Project, in which the league is trying to do it’s part for the environment by cutting down on energy expenditures associated with playing games. A noble goal with a laughable logo.

This rule change hasn’t gone over well with the players:

Nippon Ham ace Yu Darvish: “That’s not baseball”.

2008 Sawamura Award winner Hisashi Iwakuma: “Darvish is correct. Even now our time is pressed. If the time is going to be compressed, they should be thorough and widen the strike zone. This is how we make our living”.

Rakuten manager Katsuya Nomura: “to have a rule for that is nonsense. Baseball has always been a sport without a time limit. The fans pay a lot of money to come to the ballpark, so we should be in the park as much as possible”.

Darvish again: “I’m not going to take any kind of action. I’ll ignore it.”

Commissioner Ryozo Kato: “you’re pros so get used to it”.

Kyuji Fujikawa was the first take a hit from the new rule, taking three balls in his first spring training practice game appearance. Gotta take the players’ side on this one. I hope this rule doesn’t make it out of spring training.

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NPB Bullet Points: Spring Training Edition

» 02 February 2009 » In npb » 2 Comments

NPB spring training camps broke on February 1, so it’s time to dust off the old bullet points series.

Japanese Articles

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NPB Bullet Points (2008/12/21)

» 21 December 2008 » In npb » 1 Comment

Time to revive this series… Japanese articles only today

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Non-News du Jour: Kyuji to Stay with Hanshin

» 03 December 2008 » In npb » 2 Comments

Kyuji Fujikawa got himself into the news the other day, commenting that he intends to hang out in Japan for the time being. “I think I’m happier playing in Japan [than in the majors]”, said Kyuji, adding that he wants to beat the Giants next year. I wouldn’t have posted this, except that he asked Hanshin to post him last off-season. The team categorically denied the request.

In other news, Kyuji is aiming to hit 160 km/h (100 mph) on the gun next year. Hideki Irabu, Kazuo Yamaguchi, and Ryota Igarashi jointly hold the record for Japanese pitchers at 158 km/h, while Marc Kroon holds the NPB record at 161 162 km/h. I’m not sure what Kyuji’s personal best is, I think the hardest I’ve seen him throw is about 155 km/h.

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Korea 6, Japan 2

» 21 August 2008 » In npb » 2 Comments

No gold medal for Japan in baseball — the Olympic team took a 2-1 lead into the 7th, but the bullpen couldn’t hold the lead. Kyuji Fujikawa took the mound in the 7th and gave up a run on a walk and two hits to allow Korea to tie the game. Then Hitoki Iwase got the call to start the 8th and promptly gave up a single. Manager Hoshino visited Iwase after the hit, but left him in the game only to watch him give up a 2-run homer to Yomiuri Giants slugger Seung-Yeop Lee. Iwase had to give up another hit before finally being replaced with Hideaki Wakui, who gave up a couple of run-scoring doubles to make the score 6-2.

Japan went down quietly in the 9th, ending their shot at the gold. I didn’t get to watch the game, I just followed in on Yahoo Live, so I could only read what was going on. I found it strange that Hoshino used five pitchers in an 8 inning game, pulling starter Toshiya Sugiuchi for Kenshin Kawakami after Sugiuchi give up a run in the 4th inning. And I don’t understand why he went to Iwase again despite his recent struggles.

Congratulations to the Korean team – they beat every team in the tournament and deserve their chance at the gold medal.

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Player Profile: Kyuji Fujikawa

» 16 June 2008 » In mlb prospects » 3 Comments

If I had to pick a guy from Japan to take on a MLB team, I’d have to go with Yu Darvish. But if I didn’t want to shell out the bucks for Darvish, Hanshin Tigers closer Kyuji Fujikawa would be my pick.

Kyuji hasn’t gotten the same level of media attention as Darvish has, for good reason — he’s older (28), he’s a relief pitcher, he suffered from injuries early in his career, and he hasn’t played for a Japan Series winner yet. But Kyuji is in the fourth year of probably the most dominant run for a relief pitcher in NPB history. And given that NPB relief pitchers have a solid track record of MLB success, Kyuji might be a little bit of a safer bet anyway.


Kyuji’s numbers are pretty mindblowing. This season, he’s 2-1, with a 0.88 era and 23 saves. But Kyuji’s trademark is his ability to strike guys out, and he ranks ninth overall in the Central League with 50 K’s. In 30 innings. For comparison’s sake, the eight guys that are ahead of him are all starters and have pitched at least 65 innings. Kyuji’s strikeout numbers have been amazing for the last four years:

year ERA K BB Innings
2008 0.88 50 6 30 2/3
2007 1.63 115 20 83
2006 0.68 122 22 79 1/3
2005 1.36 139 20 92 1/3

Other achievements include a 47 2/3 inning shutout streak in 2006, and tying the Japan record with 46 saves last season.


Kyuji’s primary weapon is a hard fastball with a rising action (looks like a 4-seamer). He usually sits at 92-93 but can gun it up to 95 on occasion. He also has a forkball with a sharp break that throws infrequently. Kyuji isn’t afraid of challenging batters and misses a lot of bats.


Kyuji requested to be posted to be the major leagues last off-season but his request was summarily denied by Hanshin’ management, who stated he was too important to the team’s competitiveness. Three major leaguers have come from Hashin: Tsuyoshi Shinjo, Keiichi Yabu, and Kei Igawa. Of the three, only Igawa was posted and according to Hanshin’s management he was an extreme exception (sports-navi, in Japanese). Injuries cost Kyuji roster time early in his career, so he won’t reach free agency for 3-4 more years. If he’s coming to MLB any time soon, it will be via the posting system. What happens next will depend on what Hanshin values more highly: the $10-15MM posting fee Kyuji is likely to attract, or having him on the team for 3-4 more years.

Kyuji Fujikawa on YouTube (in Japanese):

Fujikawa’s Fastball

Kyuji vs Fukuoka Softbank Hawks, May 2008

Kyuji vs Kevin Youklis (starts 30sec in)

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