Tag Archive > Ramon Ramirez

The Scrap Heap: Huang, Vechionacci, Soriano, Others

» 14 December 2011 » In mlb prospects, npb » Comments Off on The Scrap Heap: Huang, Vechionacci, Soriano, Others

Each offseason, NPB teams release a raft of players. I’ve combed through the list and picked out a few guys that could have some upside ahead of them.

  • Chih-Lung Huang — There were MLB clubs interested in Huang when he signed with Yomiuri out of Taiwan in 2009, but he preferred Japan. The Giants seemed bullish on him when he reached ichi-gun in 2010, but cooled off this year. His stuff wasn’t as advertised but at age 22 he may still have some upside.
  • Marcos Vechionacci — Vechionacci signed an ikusei contract with Hanshin last offseason, then hit .255/.359/.436 in 128 ni-gun plate appearances. That line sounds alright to me, but I guess Hanshin’s management didn’t agree. I would guess he’ll wind up back in 2A or 3A.
  • Dioni Soriano – Soriano is a graduate of the Hiroshima Carp Dominican Academy, and bounced around China and Japan’s independent Island League before signing with the mothership in 2009. He has shown more success than anyone else on this list, throwing a shutout against Hanshin near the end of 2010. Soriano has a good arm, but throwing strikes has tended to be an issue for him. At age 29 (on December 30) he’s not a spring chicken by baseball standards, be he likely still has a few decent years in front of him.
  • Wilfreiser Guerrero — Another product of the Carp’s Dominican Academy. Admittedly I know next to nothing about Guerrero, other that than he walked a lot of guys at ni-gun. I’ve included him on this list based on the observation that MLB clubs turned former Academy-sei players Ramon Ramirez and Esmailyn Caridad into Major Leaguers pretty quickly.
  • Wirfin Obispo — I’ve written quite a bit about Obi-chan, calling his very good 2009 season a “small triumph for player development” and lauding Nippon Ham acquiring him from Yomiuri as one of my two favorite trades of last offseason. Obispo made Nippon Ham’s opening day roster in 2011, but was lit up in the first week and banished to ni-gun, where he was unimpressive for the rest of the season. At his best in 2009, he had a 93+ mph fastball and hard slider. Obispo is playing Winter Ball this year in hopes of catching on with an MLB club.

As far as I know, none of these players has signed for 2012 yet.

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Tazawa Promoted

» 08 August 2009 » In mlb prospects » 6 Comments

As Ryo posted on Twitter yesterday, the Red Sox have called Junichi Tazawa up to the MLB team. He promptly took the loss in Boston’s 15-inning defeat to the Yankees, giving up a walk-off homer to Alex Rodriguez.

Boston used three Japanese pitchers in the game — Tazawa, Hideki Okajima and Takashi Saito; and another, Ramon Ramirez, who has NPB experience.

I’ve written about Tazawa extensively on this site, including this early scouting report-ish post, a deeper analysis of reasonable expectations for him, and an interview with Portland sports writer Kevin Thomas on his progress.

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Victor Marte

» 02 March 2009 » In mlb prospects » Comments Off on Victor Marte

Correction, March 15: Marte had actually been with the Royals organization prior to signing with Hiroshima. Thanks to Erik Schullstrom for the info; I wasn’t able to find any information on Marte’s pre-Carp career either in Japanese or English. It is possible that he played under a different name. Either way, I better brush up on my Spanish.

I had been wondering what happened to pitcher Victor Marte after the Carp released him… he’s in camp with the Royals as a non-roster invitee. Looks like he got a minor league deal. 

Marte is a rarity, a Dominican who signed his first pro contract with an NPB team instead of an MLB team. Marte played in the Carp’s Dominican Academy before playing most in the Japanese minor leagues the last few years. Ramon Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano are a couple of Carp Academy alums currently playing in the Majors.

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SoftBank Dominican Academy?

» 06 January 2009 » In nichibei, npb » Comments Off on SoftBank Dominican Academy?

Interesting news out of Fukuoka — the SoftBank Hawks have sent team COO Takanori Takeuchi* and head coach Koji Moriwaki on a business trip to the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. On the agenda is to watch a handful of Winter League games, and look into creating ties with a baseball academy in the Dominican. Sponichi quotes Takeuchi as saying, “even to if it’s just to stimulate our farm team, we’re considering bringing in Dominican players (as instructional players). If possible we’d like to affiliate with an independent academy “. He added jokingly, “we were given an extra bag to bring back foreign players.” Nishi Nippon adds another quote from Takeuchi: “there are academies that are not affiliated with the majors over there. Going forward we’d like to build cooperative relationships.”

If SoftBank does indeed set something up, it would be the third NPB academy in Latin America. The Hiroshima Carp have an academy in the Dominican, and the Yakult Swallows have one in Brazil. Both have graduated players to the NPB level, but the Carp’s Academy has been particularly successful in that it’s produced MLB players Alfonso Soriano, Timo Perez, Robinson Checo, and Ramon Ramirez. 

*Takeuchi has an eye for talent. He was in the US during the summer trying to convince the Rangers to sell Nelson Cruz’s contract to SoftBank.

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