Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo

News

All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


Contributors

Jim Furtado
Founder & Publisher
Repoz
Editor - Baseball Primer

Syndicate

Dan Szymborski Newsbeat

Thursday, August 14, 2014

How Japan Finds American Baseball Talent

Now, Lopez’s job is to find current Triple-A players who look capable of clicking the same way. He sees every Independent League team at least twice over the course of a season. He completes his first circuit before July, attempting to see everyone in case the BayStars need midseason reinforcements. In the second half, he starts cherry-picking players at the positions that he, Kakazu, Yates, and GM Shigeru Takada expect to have to fill the following season. Eventually, Lopez becomes a quasi stalker, shadowing the player or players he thinks would be the best fit. “It gets tricky because they get called up or they get sent down,” Lopez says. “I’ll fly to a city and go to the park and, next thing you know, he’s been sent down or called up. So you’ve got to follow him, but that’s part of the scouting gig.” Trips to Japan are also on the itinerary, always during spring training and often during organizational meetings at the end of the year.

Lopez is primarily looking for pitchers, outfielders, and corner infielders. Catchers are problematic because of the language barrier; middle infielders are less desirable because they lack power. As Lopez puts it, “If you’re going to bring a foreigner over, why not bring someone who can hit home runs?” The sweet spot for pitching is “a guy that has good command and spots the ball, [and] can throw 90-92.” Lopez would love to sign someone with nastier stuff, but he knows he’s shopping at the outlet store, where every item has a flaw. “If we go any [faster],” he says, “they’re probably in the big leagues anyway.”

The BayStars use statistics to supplement their scouts’ reports. “For us, the most important factor in evaluating players is scouting reports by [Lopez and Yates], whose opinions we trust most,” Kakazu says. “With that said, we do take stats into consideration. We have analyzed the past performances of recent foreign players and how their Triple-A and MLB stats correlate to their NPB stats, so that we can predict how our candidates might do if they come to Japan.”....

ESPN analyst Dan Szymborski offered a theory via email. “The players from the US that translate the best over there are kind of the opposite ones to the NPB guys who do well here,” writes Szymborski, who created the ZiPS projection system, which translates stats between leagues to forecast the performance of foreign players. “The ‘three true outcomes’ guys fare the best — take any fourth/fifth outfielder type that’s a fringe major leaguer with good power and they have a reasonable shot at success there. Brad Eldred, Wladimir Balentien, Wily Mo Pena aren’t surprising success stories over there. My hypothesis is that a baseball culture that still has a bias against strikeouts and for putting the ball in play/pitching to contact is a good fit for guys like that, that are fairly easy outs when you go right at them.”


 

 

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
TedBerg
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread - January 2015
(1433 - 5:22pm, Jan 25)
Last: Into the Void

NewsblogRed Sox notebook: Following surgery, Mike Napoli feels refreshed and ready - Sports - The Boston Globe
(10 - 5:19pm, Jan 25)
Last: Greg K

NewsblogDallasNews: Prince Fielder in best shape of his life
(8 - 5:13pm, Jan 25)
Last: gehrig97

NewsblogYankees reject A-Rod's mea culpa meeting request - NY Daily News
(87 - 5:10pm, Jan 25)
Last: Howie Menckel

NewsblogESPN: Ichiro Close To Deal With Marlins
(61 - 5:08pm, Jan 25)
Last: AndrewJ

NewsblogOT - Politics January 2015 - Mario Cuomo, New York Governor and Minor League Ballplayer, Dies at 82
(3632 - 5:03pm, Jan 25)
Last: Howie Menckel

NewsblogOT: NFL/NHL thread
(11607 - 5:02pm, Jan 25)
Last: haggard

NewsblogOT: Soccer January 2015
(296 - 4:58pm, Jan 25)
Last: Dale Sams

NewsblogSunday Notes: Adam Everett on D, Norris’ Notoriety, Boggs & Beer, more
(6 - 4:28pm, Jan 25)
Last: ReggieThomasLives

NewsblogTed Lilly Charged With Felony Insurance Fraud
(28 - 4:21pm, Jan 25)
Last: Hack Wilson

NewsblogThat time Bud Selig yelled at me | FOX Sports
(3 - 3:53pm, Jan 25)
Last: Monty

NewsblogNeyer: That time Bud Selig yelled at me
(28 - 3:00pm, Jan 25)
Last: cercopithecus aethiops

NewsblogOT: Wrestling Thread November 2014
(368 - 2:55pm, Jan 25)
Last: Chokeland Bill

Hall of MeritVic Willis & Sam Leever
(58 - 2:28pm, Jan 25)
Last: Kiko Sakata

Hall of Merit2016 Hall of Merit Ballot Discussion
(63 - 2:17pm, Jan 25)
Last: Kiko Sakata

Page rendered in 1.1585 seconds
47 querie(s) executed