Tag Archive > Yukinaga Maeda

More on Kikuchi

» 09 October 2009 » In mlb prospects, NPB Tracker » 7 Comments

Even if Yusei Kikuchi winds up choosing to sign with an MLB team, NPB is not going to go down without a fight.

NPB is trying to employ some new tactics in the hopes of giving their teams an edge in signing Kikuchi. The Daily Yomiuri has conveniently run the story in English, which saves me a step:

Japan’s teams say they want to meet pitcher Yusei Kikuchi.

On Thursday, Nippon Professional Baseball’s board of directors met and filed a request to the High School Baseball Federation that asked Iwate Prefecture’s Hanamaki Higashi High School to bring the pitcher to the table when NPB’s clubs come calling.

The school has said the pitcher, who has said he may sign with a major league club, will not attend meetings with the representatives of Japanese teams.

NPB also requested the youngster not meet with anyone from a major league team until after Japan’s amateur draft later this month.

(for those interested in the original Japanese, please find it here)

Kikuchi doesn’t have an agent, but he and his family have entrusted his high school manager, Hiroshi Sasaki, with the task of inter-mediating negotiations for the time being. Junichi Tazawa used his manager at Eneos, Hideaki Ohkubo, in a similar manner last year. Sasaki has yet to meet with any MLB teams during these negotiations, and it remains to be seen whether he and the school will grant NPB’s request.

In other news, the Rangers continue to be perhaps the most frequently mentioned in the media among Kikuchi’s suitors. Most recently  GM Jon Daniels told a Chunichi Sports reporter, “he’s the type of player we’re looking for”. The Rangers have also signed Kazuo Fukumori and Yukinaga Maeda out of Japan, and plucked Keisuke Ueno from the old Samurai Bears of the Golden League.

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MLB Teams Looking To Asia

» 26 March 2009 » In mlb prospects » 2 Comments

Scouting Asia has become a full-time operation for a number of MLB teams. Here are a few that I expect to see watching Japan this season.

Note that I haven’t included the most obvious teams here; by now it isn’t a surprise if the Red Sox, Dodgers or Mets are in the mix for a Japanese player. Nor is it meant to be an exhaustive list; there’s always room for surprises.

Texas Rangers: Pacific Rim scout Jim Colborn’s name shows up in the Japanese media fairly frequently. Colborn coached in Japan in the early 90’s and has Kazuo Fukumori and Yukinaga Maeda. He was last seen scouting a couple of pitchers from Hosei University. Texas also had the top dollar offer for Junichi Tazawa but were rebuffed for Boston.

Toronto Blue Jays: The Jays set up a Pacific Rim department last offseason, headed up by former Nippon Ham Fighter Rob Ducey. They also signed lefthanders Ken Takahashi and Shigeki Noguchi to minor league deals over the offseason, though Noguchi failed his physical. The linked report indicates they’ll be looking for more central pieces as the department ramps up.

San Francisco Giants: Not much to go on here, but Asia scout John Cox’s name has shown up in the media a couple of times. I can’t think of a notable Japanese/NPB signing the Giants have made (unless we count Masashi Murakami) so we’ll see if they make one this year.

New York Yankees: Gene Michael made a trip to Japan last year, reportedly to watch Yu Darvish. I expect that they’ll continue to monitor top guys like Darvish and Norichika Aoki as longer-term prospects, but not be hunting for bargains or middling players.

Atlanta Braves: Signed Kenshin Kawakami and Yoshinori Yamarin last season, and also made a strong bid for Tazawa. Atlanta has also signed minor league-level amateurs such as Ryohei Shimabukuro and Kazuhiro Takeoka in the past.

I’ll have a list of guys they might be competing for within a week or so.

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More MLB Notes

» 10 December 2008 » In mlb » Comments Off

Channeling mlbtraderumors for the second straight day…

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NPB Bullet Points: Bullpen Edition

» 28 November 2008 » In nichibei » Comments Off

Couple of news items from the world of relief pitching to pass along today…

  • Rakuten is expected to announce the acquisition of Phillies AAA righty Matt Childers in the next couple of days. Looks like Childers pitched exclusively out of the bullpen in 2008, and had decent numbers.
  • Nippon Ham will look to recover a little bullpen depth with the signing Oakland AAA lefty Ryan Wing. Wing is coming off a solid season in his first try at AAA. At 26, he likely still has some upside left.
  • Add lefty Shigeki Noguchi to the list of guys eyeing a move to the States. Noguchi was one of the best pitchers in Japan from 1998-2001, but hasn’t been the same guy since. He was cut by the Giants after the Japan Series, and Rakuten passed after working him out earlier in the month. His best days are behind him, but if Yukinaga Maeda can get a chance to pitch in AAA, Noguchi should be able to.

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NPB Bullet Points (2008/07/19)

» 19 July 2008 » In npb » 1 Comment

Links in English:

  • Simon at jhockey breaks down Japan’s Olympic team selections. Biggest surprise? Koji Uehara made the cut despite a 6.00+ ERA.
  • Deanna at Marinerds, etc, went to another Nippon Ham Fighters farm team game. More good pics.
  • It seems like at least a small portion of my traffic comes from people looking for current stats of NPB players. I get my NPB stats in Japanese, so I didn’t realize until recently that JapaneseBaseball.com has a leaderboard here. Career stat are available here. In the career section, current season stats are available to registered users for foreign players such as Michael Restovich.
  • Anyone remember Yukinaga Maeda? I found his triple-a stats while looking for info on Kazuo Fukumori. I didn’t even realize he had signed with an MLB organization. He’s doing a bit better than I would have expected; that 4.29 ERA is high for a reliever but the 41/5 K/BB ratio in 35.2 IP is pretty good. Maybe we’ll see him in MLB this year.

Links in Japanese:

  • Orix introduced new import hurler John Koronka. He’ll make his Japan debut pitching 3 innings in a farm game on July 20, then hit the top team around the All-Star break.
  • Seibu pounded Lotte 17-10. Lotte starter Naruse surrendered nine runs in 6 2/3 innings in what might be the worst outing of his career.
  • Former MLB’er Kazuhito Tadano gave up five runs in Nippon Ham’s loss to Orix. According to Ham pitching coach Masato Yoshii, Tadano’s undoing was a balk.
  • Marine.tv is up to date with highlights as of yesterday’s game.
  • This Softbank Hawks fan blog has some good pics of Hitoshi Tamura.

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