Japanese Baseball Newsbeat
Tuesday, January 10, 2017
MLB is an increasingly dominant hegemon on the American and the global baseball scene. That hegemony affects almost every pitch that is thrown in the United States, from youth baseball all the way up to the World Series. It is a product of a confluence of events largely outside the realm of baseball, including such developments as the civil rights movement and population shifts following World War II. MLB’s domination of the sport was not inevitable, but that is what has happened over the past fifty or sixty years. Just as it was not inevitable, it is also not irreversible.
Friday, December 16, 2016
From what I can read in the CBA a team can’t sign Otani to a one-year contract which makes him a free agent the following year. Does anyone know if my reading is correct?
Friday, December 09, 2016
Randy Marsh is not amused.
Such a move would be viewed as another unorthodox appointment by Trump, who named former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon to serve as the administrator of the Small Business Administration Wednesday.
Yet Valentine’s history, and connections to Trump and Japan, make the possibility of such a decision very real.
The former Red Sox manager has known both Trump and his brother, Bob, since the early 1980’s. He is also very close to Anthony Scaramucci, who is part of the Presidential Transition Team Executive Committee. And it was New Jersey governor Chris Christie who, according to a source, first surfaced Valentine’s name for the position.
The connections don’t stop there.
Valentine is still very popular in Japan, having managed the Chiba Lotte Marines for seven seasons, becoming the first U.S. born manager to win the Japan Series with a championship in 2005.
During the former big leaguer’s time in Japan, the Ambassador to Japan was Tom Schieffer, who also was president of the Texas Rangers during Valentine’s tenure as manager with the team. (Caroline Kennedy is the current ambassador, having been appointed by President Barack Obama in 2013.)
Valentine is friendly with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, like the former All-American, attended the University of Southern California.
Wednesday, December 07, 2016
This is a problem for NPB teams.
If Otani comes next year and the rules are not changed, an MLB team would not be able to offer him a contract a lot more than $5 million. The amount varies from team to team.
The change makes a mockery of MLB’s agreement with NPB, because Otani would be able to freely negotiate—provided he accepts a contract far below his market value.
“This is ridiculous,” an official with one NPB team told Kyodo News upon being asked about the report. “This is something that needs to be discussed with us.”
“Just when Otani was about to come over, they changed the rules,” he said, remembering that Otani had been very close to signing directly with an MLB club out of high school.
“This is great for MLB, because it could encourage players who want to play in MLB to go directly to the States instead of to NPB. That might have been the intention.”
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
“He’s the modern-day Babe Ruth,” a Pacific Rim scout from an American League team said. “He’s a top-of-the-rotation pitcher and the middle-of-the-order hitter. We haven’t seen anything like him in modern times. Whenever he comes to America, he’s going to break the bank. There has never been anybody in free agency who could ever market themselves as a two-way player before.”
Players cannot become free agents in the NPB until they accumulate nine years of service time.
However, there is talk that the Fighters will allow him the opportunity to come to the major leagues next winter via the posting system. They would almost certainly gain the maximum $20 million posting fee from the major-league team that would sign Otani.
Some major-league executives believe Otani could possibly command a contract of at least $200 million if posted and some suggest he could even reach $250 million.
Otani throws his fastball in the high-90s and has been clocked as high as 103 mph. He complements it with a low-90s forkball that appears to “fall off the table” as it reaches home plate.
Though his changeup is still in the rudimentary stages, the scout said “it doesn’t matter because his other pitches are so good.”
Otani is also an outstanding athlete, who played a combined 62 games on the outfield corners in his first two NPB seasons. However, a sprained ankle sustained early in the 2014 season caused the Fighters to use exclusively as a DH the past two seasons.
The scout believes Otani would be able to handle major league pitching.
“His power is just starting to develop and he has a good eye,” the scout. “I’m sure there would be an initial adjustment period, more than it would be for him as a pitcher, but he has great talent.”
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
Cuban infielder Alex Guerrero has signed a one-year deal with the Chunichi Dragons of Japan’s Central League.
The deal is worth $1.3 million plus incentives, the Central League club announced on its website.
Friday, November 11, 2016
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
The best player in the world? We won’t know until he comes to MLB.
Otani’s 2016 performance produced the most climax-worthy stats page since late-career Barry Bonds. In 140 innings, he struck out 174 and allowed only four home runs, finishing with a 1.86 ERA — an improvement on his 2015 performance, when he’d been one of the top three contenders for the Sawamura Award, Japan’s equivalent of the Cy Young. While he was at it, he hit .322/.416/.588 in 382 plate appearances, launching 22 home runs. And to top things off, he won the Home Run Derby.
Sunday, October 16, 2016
A big first inning propelled the Hiroshima Carp into the Japan Series on Saturday in an 8-7 win over the Yokohama BayStars in Game 4 of the Central League Climax Series Final Stage.
It will be the seventh Japan Series appearance for the Carp and their first since 1991. Hiroshima last won Nippon Professional Baseball’s championship series in 1984…
...“The batters did it today in the first inning, creating that momentum,” said Ogata, who did not have enough praise for [Kosuke] Tanaka after his leadoff man reached base 15 times in 17 plate appearances and was named the series MVP.
“He was god-like. You just don’t see that. He was our driving force.”
Ten for twelve with five walks. Yes, that can rightly be considered god-like…
Thursday, September 15, 2016
This guy is special.
Shohei Otani threw the fastest pitch in Nippon Professional Baseball history on Tuesday as he was clocked at 164 kph (101.9 mph) on a third-inning fastball to Orix right fielder Yoshio Ito. Impressively, Ito turned on the inside pitch and lined it to right field for a single. Three major league pitchers have thrown a pitch of 102 or faster this year–Aroldis Chapman (179 pitches of 102+), Mauricio Cabrera (61 pitches of 102+) and Arquimedes Caminero (1 pitch of 102+).
or most pitchers, a blister would effectively sideline them from being a contributor. For Otani, it’s meant he’s had to focus on being one of Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters’ top hitters. He has continued to serve as the team’s designated hitter while waiting for his blister to heal. He’s hitting .326/.425/.611 for Nippon Ham with 22 home runs and 61 RBIs.
Although he’s well short of the needed plate appearances to qualify for a batting title, Otani ranks in the top 10 in the Pacific League in home runs. He’s drawn 50 walks and struck out 85 times in 341 plate appearances. As a pitcher, he’s 8-4, 2.12 in 123 innings. He’s allowed 84 hits and 41 walks while striking out 151 batters.
Posted: September 15, 2016 at 06:38 AM | 2 comment(s)
Monday, September 12, 2016
Always good to see a different team win. In my case, especially when it’s the one you root for.
The Hiroshima Carp have strived for the moment for 25 years, and their fans are full of emotion about the team’s long-awaited league championship.
On Saturday night, the Hiroshima Carp finally sealed the deal, winning their first Central League pennant since 1991 with a 6-4 win over the Yomiuri Giants at Tokyo Dome.
vortex of dissipation
Posted: September 12, 2016 at 01:29 AM | 0 comment(s)
Saturday, September 03, 2016
Until July 10, the Fighters had the best of both worlds. In a season in which he set Nippon Professional Baseball speed record [163 KMH], Otani would bat as the club’s designated hitter during the week, take Fridays and Saturdays off before taking the mound — and batting — on Sunday. But that day in July the right-hander developed a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand and has pitched just one inning since.
...With pitchers Hirotoshi Takanashi and rookie lefty Takayuki Kato providing quality innings in Nippon Ham’s rotation, and Otani providing the lineup with his firepower six days a week instead of four, the Fighters overcame an 11½-game deficit to tighten the PL pennant race. With his team winning, there has been no rush for manager Hideki Kuriyama to ease Otani back to the mound
I don’t know that Otani has enough PA to qualify for a batting title, but the 21 year old is leading the Pacific League in OPS with a .326 / .429 / .610 line.
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