Tag Archive > Yuji Yoshimi

A Flurry of Trades

» 31 July 2010 » In npb » 5 Comments

With the July 31 player aquisition deadline passed, all the trades for this season are in the books. I didn’t cover them closely this season, so here’s a recap, roughly in reverse chronological order:

Masafumi Togano to Rakuten, Hideki Asai to Yomiuri (Sponichi): In the final deal of this year’s trading season the Giants and Eagles swapped righties. I haven’t seen enough of Togano to have an opinion on him, but Asai has gottne a long look at Rakuten and apparently no longer fits into their plans.  Verdict: even.

Koji Mise (RHP) to Chunichi, Masaumi Shimizu (C) to SoftBank (Sponichi): SoftBank needed catching depth after Katsuki Yamazaki went down with an injury, and found it in Shimizu. Shimizu has yet to appear in a game for SoftBank as Hidenori Tanoue is doing all the work behind the plate. Mise holds the distinction of being the oldest RoY winner in recent memory (of all time?), bu hadn’t done much lately for the Hawks. He has a 15.00 ERA in six appearances with Chunichi. Verdict: draw.

Yuya Kamada (RHP) to Rakuten, Koki Watanabe (LHP) to Yakult (Sanspo): A swap of two guys with similar career numbers who are about the same age, but throw with different hands. Watanabe has seen action as a LOOGy for Yakult, while Kamada languishes on Rakuten’s farm. Verdict: I’ll give Yakult the edge here.

Tomohito Yoneno (C) to Seibu, Minoru Yamagishi to Yakult (Daily Sports): Another deal necessitated by an injured catcher, this time Seibu’s Ginjiro. Yoneno has so far provided unused catching depth for Seibu has Toru Hosakawa and Tatsuyuki Uemoto carrying the load. Yamagishi hasn’t made an appearance for Yakult’s ichi-gun team. Verdict: a carbon copy of the Mise-Shimizu deal.

Masayuki Hasegawa (RHP) and Go Kida (PH) to Orix, Yuichiro Mukae (OF) to Hiroshima (Daily Sports): I’ve already written about what a good deal this was for Orix. To reiterate: Orix gets a potentially serviceable starter and an established bench bat for an outfielder whom they were never going to use. Verdict: Orix wins by unanimous decision.

Yuji Yoshimi (LHP) to Lotte, cash to Yokohama (Sanspo): When this deal happened, I thought it was an inspired pickup up for the Marines. Yoshimi is once-promising lefty who bounced back from injuries to eat up 88+ average innings last year for Yokohama. That might not sound like much, but a similar performance would have been a big help for Lotte. Verdict: Lotte had the right idea.

Kenji Sato from Lotte to Nippon Ham in an uncompensated (musho) trade (Nikkan Sports): Here’s another inspired pickup. Nippon Ham found a 21 year-old kid who wasn’t getting at-bats with Lotte’s ni-gun team and got him for nothing, and so far he’s hit .344/.469/.442 at Kamagaya. Sure it’s a limited number of at-bats, but Nippon Ham found some upside at a cost of zero. Verdict: small win for Nippon Ham.

Takehito Kanazawa (RHP) to SoftBank, Hisao Arakane (OF),  Keisuke Kaneko (IF) to Orix (Nikkan Sports): The story here is Arakane, who is currently sporting an .888 OPS through 159 PA’s with Orix. Nothing in his statistical track record hinted at this kind of ability, so we’ll see if he keeps it up. Kanazawa, who Orix wasn’t using, is getting regular work with SoftBank. Kaneko is with Orix’s farm team. Verdict: Orix wins by split decision.

Teruaki Yoshikawa (RHP) to SoftBank – Shotaro Ide (OF) to Yokohama (Sponichi): Not much to say about this one. Yoshikawa has gotten six innings of work in for the Hawks, Ide is hitting .200 for the BayStars. Verdict: incomplete.

Shintaro Ejiri (RHP) to Yokahama, Yuya Ishii (LHP) to Nippon Ham (Sponichi): I had the impression that Ejiri was pretty good, but he’s been pedestrian by the Bay. Ishii’s only pitched 9.2 innings for Nippon ham, but he has an 8:0 K:BB ratio and is lefthanded. Verdict: my gut still says Yokohama on this one.

Yusuke Kawasaki (LHP) to Hanshin, cash to Lotte (Sanspo): I figured this was a budget reduction move for Lotte, since Kawasaki has had some success in the past. But I guess they knew something I didn’t, because Kawasaki’s has a 5.06 ERA for Hanshin and has been injured since June. Verdict: I’ll call this one in Lotte’s favor, since they wound up getting a different lefty (Yoshimi) who can start. But if Kawasaki returns to his previous form, Hanshin wins.

So quite a bit of activity this season, with every team making at least one trade. None of these deals are going to have any impact on the pennant race in either league, but Orix managed to acquire some interesting options for expendable players.

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Lotte to Audition Yabu

» 21 July 2010 » In npb » Comments Off

Looks like the Chiba Lotte Marines are bringing Keiichi Yabu in for an audition on July 26. Last time we heard from Yabu, he was training in Arizona and hoping to play in a US-based independent league. If Yabu has anything left in the tank, I expect Lotte to sign him.

With Yuki Karakawa and Shingo Ono on the shelf, Lotte’s rotation has been short staffed. Bill Murphy stepping into a starting role has been a boost, none of the other options tried –Ryoji Katsuki, Yuji Yoshimi, Bryan Corey — have stuck. Karakawa should be back soon and Hayden Penn is on his way, but a little extra depth never hurt.

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NPB Bullet Points: While I Was Away

» 07 May 2010 » In mlb, nichibei, npb » 6 Comments

It’s been a while since I’ve written any actual content about Japanese baseball… sometimes real life gets in the way. Let’s see if we can fix that, at least for now.

  • The surprise of the season so far for me has been the performance of the Chiba Lotte Marines, who are neck and neck and neck with the SoftBank Hawks and resurgent Seibu Lions for the Pacific League lead. Lotte is getting it done in style too, leading the Pa-League in team runs scored, runs allowed, batting average and era. Will it continue? You have to figure that Kim Tae-Kyun and Tadahito Iguchi will cool off at some point, but they have a decent lineup 1-9. The pitching is a little bit of a concern too, as new manager Nishimura is letting some of his starters go a bit further into games than Bobby V used to. We’ll see if that turns into a problem down the stretch.
  • Over in the Central League, it’s nice to see the Yokohama BayStars competing with a respectable 16-18 record so far. Yokohama is getting good production from a number of pitchers, including newcomers Naoyuki Shimizu, Shigeru Kaga, and Shintaro Ejiri. The ‘Stars are still struggling in spots offensively, but should be better over the course of the season by virtue of the sheer number of weak bats they took out of the lineup last offseason.
  • Bridging the gap between those first two bullet points is the apparently impending trade of Yuji Yoshimi from Yokohama to Lotte. The big lefty was once a promising starter, but injuries derailed him for a couple of years and recently he’s been more of a middle-of-the-pack long reliever. Lotte seems to want him as a starter.
  • And more on Lotte: reliever Hiroyuki Kobayashi has qualified for international free agency, and is reportedly likely to seek a move to the majors. This has come up before with Kobayashi so it isn’t exactly a surprise at this point. I could see him playing for the San Francisco Giants, if they have an opening for a righthander. Former Lotte man Shun Kakazu scouts Japan for the Giants, and Brian Sabean can be creative in putting together his bullpen.
  • Former Hanshin lefty Jeff Williams wants to return to the Tigers as an active pitcher, but the Tigers want to bring him back as a scout. The idea would be for current scout Andy Sheets to focus on hitters, while Jeff would look for pitchers. Jeff certainly knows what it takes to succeed in Japan, but I would love to see him pitch for the Tigers again and eventually get a proper do-age send-off.
  • Who will be this year’s Junichi Tazawa or Yusei Kikuchi? Maybe it will be Chuo University pitcher Hirokazu Sawamura, who seems to be eclipsing Yuki Saito in terms of media ink. The Giants and Mets each had a scout at Sawamura’s most recent scout, with Mets’ Isao Ojimi saying that it would “be a waste for him to say in Japan”, while the Giants’ Shun Kakazu said that he hit 97 on his gun. Draft Reports has a quote from Sports Hochi from February saying that Sawamura is favoring playing in Japan.
  • Moving along to Kikuchi, the young lefty now known simply as Yusei struggled with both his command and velocity in his first couple ni-gun appearances, but showed signs of improvement on May 4th, when he threw five scoreless innings and hit 147 kmph (92mph) on the gun. Seibu is saying he won’t be promoted before the All-Star break, but could get a look afterward.
  • Casey Fossum bought the PSP version of Pro Yakyu Spirits 2010 for his five year-old son, but was annoyed to learn that Konami made him pretty bad in the game, and vowed to use it as motivation to do well and be a better player in next year’s version of the game. Speaking of Fossum, he’s blogging about his experiences in Japan.
  • Off-topic bullet point: I came across this essay about the state of Japan’s technology and IT sector (link to PDF file), and why it’s in trouble. It makes some good points, but overall I found it disappointing as it covers the usual tired criticisms of over-reliance on manufactured consumer goods and an under-developed services sector.

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