Tag Archive > Takateru Iyono

More on Minor Leaguers

» 05 April 2009 » In international baseball » Comments Off

Here’s more on some of the minor leaguers that I was following in the offseason:

  • Kazuhiro Takeoka -> training in Arizona, hoping to catch on with a team as the season progresses. 
  • Takateru Iyono -> didn’t catch on with an MLB organization; signed with the Brother Elephants of Taiwan.
  • Tatsuya Ozeki -> flunked his audition with the Rockies, back in Japan blogging.
  • Michinao Yamamura -> looks like he was in camp with the independent Calgary Vipers; not sure if he made the team.
  • Koichi Misawa -> Unknown; all I could find was that he won’t be back with Northern League’s RailCats in 2009.
  • Yosuke Kawaguchi -> this guy wasn’t on my radar at all, but two seperate readers pointed out that he’s signed with the Yuma Scorpions of the independent Golden League (thanks to readers Dave and Patrick P for the tip).

All these guys, with the exception of Misawa, played in NPB last season.

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Minor Leaguers Going Overseas This Offseason

» 19 February 2009 » In mlb prospects » 4 Comments

This offseason, we’ve seen a large number of released NPB players announce an intent to pursue contracts with MLB organizations. I’m not sure if this is a record, but it’s the most I can recall. I’m not including Junichi Tazawa and Ken Takahashi in this list, because Takahashi turned down NPB offers, and Tazawa would have been drafted. All of these guys were either released by their NPB teams, or in the case of Yamarin, not drafted.

  • Shigeki Noguchi -> agreed with Blue Jays, failed physical
  • Ken Kadokura -> Cubs
  • Kazuhiro Takeoka -> Unsigned (Braves?)
  • Katsuhiko Maekawa -> Cardinals
  • Takateru Iyono -> Unsigned
  • Tatsuya Ozeki -> trying out with the Rockies in March
  • Ryohei Tanaka -> Orioles
  • Michinao Yamamura -> Unsigned (Golden League?)
  • Koichi Misawa -> Unsigned (played in the Northern League in ’08)
  • Yoshinori Yamarin -> Braves
  • Itsuki Shoda -> Sinon Bulls (Taiwan)

Five Players are still unsigned, which doesn’t surprise me, but I can see Yamamura and Iyono getting a shot as they’re still in their 20’s. Takeoka has worked out twice for the Braves and played AAA ball, so he might a chance too.

Notable MLB returnees:

  • Jeremy Powell -> Pirates
  • Jason Standridge -> Marlins
  • Craig Brazell -> Orioles
  • Winston Abreu -> Rays

Without a doubt, all of the players listed above obvious face big uphill battles to making it to the majors. But the fact that they are getting a chance indicates either a heightened respect for the level of talent in Japan, or a greater need to find low-cost, low-risk players through non-traditional channels. There will be 22 Japanese players in 14 big league camps this spring.

Reasons not to write these guys off just yet: Tomo Ohka, Takashi Saito, Hector Carrasco, Buddy Carlyle, Brian Shouse and  Pedro Feliciano. Saito looked like he was on the downside of his career when he came over, and none of the other guys had lasting success at the top level in Japan. All have been at least useful MLB players.

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Yet Another Minor Leaguer to Attempt a Move to MLB

» 11 January 2009 » In mlb prospects » 1 Comment

Former SoftBank Hawks pitcher Michinao Yamamura is the latest released NPB minor leaguer to announce he’s taking a shot at signing on with an American organization. He’ll be flying to Arizona on the 25th to spend 4 days playing winter league games and trying out. “My agent is talking to a number of teams about a minor league contract. Ever since I threw in international games in college, going overseas has been a dream,” said the righthander. Yamamura, 30, has made 25 appearances at the top level in Japan, going 2-2 with a 3.58 era in 27 2/3 innings.

I can’t remember ever hearing about this many released  minor leaguers attempting to move to MLB organizations in a single offseason. Perhaps I’m paying more attention this year.

So far, I’ve come across:

All of these players have been released by their NPB organizations. With the exception of Kadokura, Noguchi, and Maekawa, none of them spent that much time at the top level in Japan. Even if they are signed, most of these guys are more likely to be organizational players rather than actual MLB prospects, but it’s still an interesting trend.

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Iyono Next to Pursue an MLB Career

» 30 December 2008 » In mlb prospects » Comments Off

Former Hanshin pitcher Takateru Iyono is the latest NPB veteran to announce his intent to try to land with an MLB organization this offseason. The 28 year-old righty was released by the Tigers after six ineffective seasons spent mostly on the farm team. He failed to catch on with another NPB team after two tryouts, and is ready for a change of scenery. “My results haven’t been good recently, and I had been thinking to myself that if this year was bad I’d want to challenge myself (in a different environment)”, said Iyono.

Iyono had trained earlier in December with former teammate Kyuji Fujikawa in LA. He’ll return to the States sometime in on January 9 to work out in front of MLB scouts. He’s probably an organizational arm at this point, but his sidearm delivery will give him a different look to most of the other minor league righties out there. Word has it that he’s recently added a changeup to his repertoire.

And here’s some video of him pitching.

I can’t remember ever seeing this many NPB minor leaguers take a shot at signing wtih MLB organizations in a single offseason. As recently as a couple years ago, few NPB veterans would have seen a move to America as a viable option.

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