Tag Archive > Micheal Nakamura

Changes for 2012: Yomiuri Giants

» 06 February 2012 » In npb » 5 Comments

Coming: Toshiya Sugiuchi, DJ Houlton, Shuichi Murata, John Bowker, Scott Mathieson, Yoshito Ishii, Takayuki Takaguchi

Going: Shugo Fujii, Alex Ramirez, Seth Greisinger, Rusty Ryal, Chih-Lung Huang, Micheal Nakamura, Saburo Ohmura, Jonathan Albaladejo, Carlos Torres, Josh Fields, Brian Bannister, Shinji Takahashi, Toshimasa Konta, Kazunori Tsuruoka

Staying: Ryota Wakiya

As usual, Yomiuri did lots of reshuffling this year, including a couple of significant moves.

Let’s start with the pitching. The Kyojin-gun took advantage of Softbank botching negotiations with ace Toshiya Sugiuchi, and scooped him up with a four-year deal. Sugiuchi was always my favorite Softbank lefty, and he’ll be a great addition to Yomiuri’s rotation. Yomiuri also raided Softbank for another starter, American DJ Houlton. Houlton’s four year’s in Japan have gone like this: mediocre, quite good, bad, great. Which of course, suggests that he’s due for a down year, if you believe such things. Houlton’s numbers may regress from his 19 wins and 2.29 ERA, but at his best he’s good for 170 innings of work, which is a valuable commodity.

At the plate, Yomiuri’s main moves essentially boil down for swapping Shuichi Murata and John Bowker in for Rusty Ryal/Josh Fields and Alex Ramirez. Initially this felt like a wash to me, but Murata is younger than Ramirez and plays a difficult position to fill, and maybe playing for a winning team will revive his motivation. Bowker simply needs to not be a total bust to eclipse the results of Ryal and Fields. Outfield depth is a bit of a concern with an unproven Bowker and a usually unhealthy Yoshinobu Takahashi, so a return form for recent non-performers Yoshiyuki Kamei and Tetsuya Matsumoto would be well-timed. Or maybe Kosuke Fukudome would be a fit.

So another offseason of the Giants doing what the Giants do — spending money. But it appears to be money well spent, addressing needs rather than just stacking up sluggers because they can. Expect them to compete for the Central League title this year.

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2009 Draft: International Influence

» 29 October 2009 » In npb draft » Comments Off

My post on foreign players in the draft last year went over well, and I had meant to publish an update for 2009 prior to this year’s draft, but the gods of time weren’t on my side. In any case it’s not too late, so here’s a look at some players who brought a multicultural air to this year’s draft.

Pedro Okuda: Okuda is a third-generation Japanese Brazilian who came to Japan to play baseball. He made a name for himself in the 2007 Koshien tournament with a walk-off home run, but still didn’t get picked in yesterday’s draft.

Maike Magario: Magario is another Brazilian, though one who has grown up for most of his life in Japan. I haven’t seen much of Magario, but his build reminds me a little bit of Shawn Green. Yakult took Magario with their first ikusei pick. Note that Yakult also took Brazilian Rafael Fernandez in the ikusei draft last year, and operates an academy in Brazil.

Juanyoni Allan: Yet another Brazilian, I know even less about Allan than the previous two players – I don’t even know if I have the Romanization of his name correct. Draft reports indicates that he’s a big kid (196 cm, 100km; 6’5, 220lbs) who came to Japan with the goal of becoming a pro ballplayer. The report also says that he’s a power hitter who has seen time on the mound, but struggled with his command. Allan was not selected in the draft.

John Clayton Unten: clearly the best prospect of this bunch, Clayton was born to an American father and Japanese mother and attended high school in Okinawa. Shukan Baseball compares him to Seibu starter Takayuki Kishi, which I take a real compliment. Nippon Ham has become known for acquiring half-Japanese players (Yu Darvish, Romash Tasuku Dass, previously Micheal Nakamura as well), and indeed the Fighters drafted Unten in the fourth round.

Deanna has a full breakdown of who went where that goes into far more detail than I’ll get to. You’ll see more from me on the draft, though.

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Offseason Changes: Yomiuri Giants

» 02 February 2009 » In npb » Comments Off

Coming: Micheal Nakamura, Takahito Kudoh, Dicky Gonzales, Edgardo Alfonzo (maybe), Levi Romero (maybe)

Going: Koji Uehara, Makoto Kosaka, Takayuki Shimizu, Tomohiro Nioka, Masanori Hayashi, Ken Kadokura, Shigeki Noguchi

Staying: Marc Kroon, Sung-Yeop Lee, Alex Ramirez, Seth Greisinger

Trending: upward

Synopsis: Uehara is the only guy they will notice is gone, and Nakamura will mostly balance out his loss. Strong group of foreign players will be back in 2009. Of the departures, only Hayashi is under 30.

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Nakamura, Nioka Traded

» 13 November 2008 » In npb » 5 Comments

Update, Nov 13: The Yomiuri Online is reporting that the deal will be officially announced on the 14th

As had been rumored, the Nippon Ham Fighters have agreed to send star closer Micheal Nakamura to the Yomiuri Giants for infielder Tomohiro Nioka in a four player trade. The Fighters also acquired reliever Masanori Hayashi and threw outfielder Takahito Kudoh into the deal.

At first glance, I like this deal a lot better for the Giants. They got an All-Star level closer in exchange for Nioka, who was clearly on his way out after his scandalous affair with newscaster Mona Yamamoto earlier in the season. The Giants reached game 7 of the Japan Series without a significant contribution from Nioka, and he was looking like a spare part for next season, scandal or no scandal.

The move improves an already strong Kyojin bullpen. The Giants have already announced their intent to excercise closer Marc Kroon’s option, so Nakamura will most likely move into a setup role.

The Fighters are hoping to add some much-needed offense in Nioka, and retain some bullpen depth with Hayashi, but both guys are coming of injuries and Nippon Ham is taking a chance that they’ll be able to return to form. I’m surprised they couldn’t get more for Nakamura.

In a minor, unrelated move, the Giants sent slick-fielding utility infielder Makoto Kosaka to Rakuten to for cash.

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NPB Bullet Points (2008/11/01)

» 01 November 2008 » In npb » 2 Comments

Time for another edition of NPB Bullet Points. Randomness abounds, as usual.

Japanese Articles:

English Articles:

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NPB Player Blogs in English

» 26 August 2008 » In npb » Comments Off

Following up on last week’s post on blogs by Japanese NPB players, here’s a quick rundown of blogs that are written in English by foreign-born NPB players. The selection is thinner, but there are a few good ones out there.

Of course, the best English content on NPB is maintained by fans — namely Deanna, Simon, the Tsubamegun guys, EWC, and the community at JapaneseBaseball.com. But I think just about 100% of the visitors to this blog are already familiar with those excellent sites, so let’s move on to the player’s blogs.

  • By far the most insightful and entertaining of the lot is CJ Nitkowski‘s blog. CJ, if you’re reading this, well done!
  • Another left-handed reliever, Hanshin’s Jeff Williams is good for about one post a month in his blog. Jeff is one of the longer-tenured gaijin players in NPB, and that shows through in his writing.
  • Giants closer Marc Kroon has a blog as well, but hasn’t updated it in a while.
  • Yet another reliever, Nippon Ham closer Michael Nakamura has a blog on ballplayers.jp, where a number of notable players maintain blogs.
  • Finally a batter: Alex Ramirez‘s site isn’t so much of a blog as a photo gallery, and as you might expect the photos are very Rami-centric. Note the Engrish in the page title.
  • Bobby Valentine has got to be the most fan-friendly manager in Japan right now, and accordingly mantains his blog in English and Japanese. I’m not aware of another NPB manager having a blog, but I could be off on that.
  • And least but not quite least, it’s worth mentioning Brad “the Animal” Leslie’s site. Animal pitched for in Japan for a few years after his stint in the big leagues, then retired to a career in the nutty Japanese game shows that eventually made it to American cable.

Anyone know of any others that I’m missing?

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