Tag Archive > Wirfin Obispo

Giants Clinch Central Title, NPB Tracker Takes a Break

» 23 September 2009 » In npb » 3 Comments

Well, the Giants have wrapped up their third straight Central League title, their first three-peat since the fabled V9 team of the 60’s and early 70’s. I watched the first five innings of the game, and Wirfin Obispo looked alright, though the Dragons managed to get to him after they adjusted to his fastball. You can check out archived footage of the final out and celebration on justin.tv.

In other news, the recent lack of activity on this site should be pretty apparent by now. My day job has kept me pretty insanely occupied over the last week or so, and I don’t expect it to let up for another couple weeks. But I promise that I will be back with some interesting stuff in the short term. In the meantime, we are keeping Twitter up to date with all the latest NPB news.

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Hanshin to Look to the Dominican

» 06 August 2009 » In international baseball, npb » 2 Comments

The Hanshin Tigers will be looking to expand their player search to the Dominican Republic, where opponents such as the Chunichi Dragons and Tokyo Yomiuri Giants have had recent success finding sukketo. The Tigers have had trouble with their recent sukketo acquisitions and will revamp their international scouting in hopes of finding the next Tony Blanco (Chunichi) or Wirfin Obispo (Yomiuri).

Adding younger players from the Dominican will be a cost effective strategy in the long-run, as Wirfin Obispo was signed as an ikusei player earning close to the league minimum. Developing ikusei players could allow the Tigers to avoid spending hundreds of thousands to millions to a risky veteran players, only to have them fail to meet expectations. Kevin Mench is a recent example of this.

The Tigers have already researched the strategy of their rival teams and they have been sending scouts to the United States for next season. If they decide to go the Chunichi way of developing players, the Tigers might be sending players to the Domican Winter League. In recent years, the Tigers have been sending their young players to the Hawaii Winter League, but since the league dissolving the Dominican Winter League would make sense as an alternative.

Another strategy for investment is developing a Tigers Academy similar to the one Hiroshima has developed, or  strengthen an existing relationship with by investing in its facilities and operations. The Tigers had attempted to build a path in Dominican Republic with their acquisition of Esteban Yan in the 2006 off-season. The Tigers should be in search of new ways to compete and not fall into the vicious circle that kept them in a ten year drought of lower-division finishes in Central League between 1993 and 2002.

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A Look at Yomiuri’s Import Roster

» 11 July 2009 » In npb » Comments Off on A Look at Yomiuri’s Import Roster

The Yomiuri Giants have had an interesting collection of foreign players on their roster this year. Let’s take a look at them:

Alex Ramirez (OF, Venezuela) Ramirez is in his ninth season, and has accrued enough NPB service time to no longer count against the foreign player limit. Only a few guys have last this long, Tuffy Rhodes being another. Ramirez is having another productive season with a .303 average and 55 rbi, but his numbers aren’t as eye-popping as they were during his MVP season last year. The Giants have taken advantage of his new non-foreign player status by keeping additional import players on the roster.

Seung-Yeop Lee (1B, Korea) Perhaps Korea’s most accomplished hitter, Lee is in the fourth and final year of his contract with the Kyojin-gun. He was dynamite in his first year with the Giants, hitting .323 with 41 home runs, but in the subsequent two years we’ve seen him slip to .274 and 30 and then .248 and 8. Lee’s power has recovered a bit this season, as he has 17 homers through July 11, and though his batting average is still sub-par at .240, he has a respectable .848 ops.

Edgardo Alfonzo (IF, Venezuela) The Giants went to the scrap heap with Alfonzo, and though he made the team out of spring training, he failed to impress in a limited look during the season, hitting just .118 in 38 at-bats. Alfonzo has been with the Giants’ farm team, where he hasn’t played much. There is occasionally news about him practicing with the top team, but I figure it’ll take an injury for him to get another look at this point.

Seth Greisinger (SP, United States) The veteran American lead the Central League in wins the last two seasons, and was rewarded with an opening day start this year. Greisinger hasn’t been quite as good this year as he had been previously, but he’s still one of Japan’s top innings eaters with a 3.66 era through 103 innings pitched so far this year.

Marc Kroon (RP, United States) The Giants poached Kroon from Yokohama prior to last season, and it paid off as he set a new personal best with 41 saves. Note the trend here — Ramirez, Lee, Greisinger and Kroon were all signed after having success with other NPB teams. Kroon has dealt with injury problems this year, but has been solid in limited action with a 1.12 era.

Dicky Gonzalez (SP, Puerto Rico) Gonzales is another guy with previous NPB experience, haven’t spent a few years with Yakult, being a Tommy John veteran coming off a mediocre season, he was more of a reclaimation project coming in this season. Suffice to say that he’s exceeded expectations with an 8-1 record and 2.31 era through 11 starts. He’s gotten by with supreme control, striking out 48 against just six walks. Gonzalez also took the monthly top pitcher award for May.

Wirfin Obispo (SP/RP, Dominican Republic) Obispo has been a small triumph for player development. He came to Japan as an ikusei player, prior to the 2007 season at the age of 23 without significant professional experience. Obispo spent 2007 and 2008 working on his game with the farm team, and was given a chance to pitch at the top level with Kroon down with a hand injury. Obispo has impressed in his recent starts, which will give the Giants something to think about when Kroon comes back.

Adrian Burnside (SP, Australia) After putting up a respectable 3.48 era in 75 innings for the Giants last year, Burnside is buried on the Giants’ farm team, where he’s only made eight appearances.

Levi Romero (RP, Venezuela) Former Houston and Texas farmhand Romero joined the Giants this spring as an ikusei player, and has been promoted to the regular roster, which means he’ll be around until the end of the year. I doubt we’ll see him with the top team this year, but the Giants like his velocity and he’ll get a chance to continue working on his game in Japan.

Lin Yi-Hau (P, Taiwan) and Lee Yi-Fong (P, Taiwan) I have no idea if I’m romanizing these names correctly, but Lee and Lin are a couple of teenagers who signed with the Giants as 15 year-olds. Lin, 18, has made one appearance for the farm team this year, allowing two earned runs in two innings. Lee is still just 16 years old, and doesn’t have any stats I can find.

So we have a tenured NPB veteran, one of Korea’s all-time great hitters, a former MLB all-star on his last legs, a couple of dependable American veterans, a surprising reclamation project, two Latin American development projects, two Taiwanese teenagers, and an Australian lost in the shuffle. Interesting group of guys.

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