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

Yulieski Gurriel 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
Harry Balsagne, anti-Centaur hate crime division
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOT: Politics, October 2014: Sunshine, Baseball, and Etch A Sketch: How Politicians Use Analogies
(2686 - 2:17pm, Oct 20)
Last: The Good Face

NewsblogBrisbee: The 5 worst commercials of the MLB postseason
(115 - 2:13pm, Oct 20)
Last: The Good Face

NewsblogCalcaterra: So, if you’re not a fan of the Royals or Giants, who ya got?
(39 - 2:13pm, Oct 20)
Last: Baldrick

NewsblogHitting coaches blamed for lack of offense - Sports - The Boston Globe
(6 - 2:12pm, Oct 20)
Last: Cris E

NewsblogWhy Royals great Frank White no longer associates with the team whose stadium he built - Yahoo Sports
(12 - 2:09pm, Oct 20)
Last: JRVJ

NewsblogCardinals proud of fourth straight NLCS appearance | cardinals.com
(44 - 2:07pm, Oct 20)
Last: McCoy

Hall of MeritMost Meritorious Player: 1959 Ballot
(5 - 1:58pm, Oct 20)
Last: MrC

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 10-20-2014
(36 - 1:53pm, Oct 20)
Last: Eric J can SABER all he wants to

NewsblogOT: NFL/NHL thread
(8357 - 1:03pm, Oct 20)
Last: Russlan is fond of Dillon Gee

NewsblogCould the Yankees ever be Royals? Young and athletic K.C. is everything that Bombers are not - NY Daily News
(16 - 12:59pm, Oct 20)
Last: You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR)

NewsblogMorosi: Could Cain’s story make baseball king of sports world again?
(95 - 12:58pm, Oct 20)
Last: You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR)

NewsblogOT: The Soccer Thread, September 2014
(828 - 12:46pm, Oct 20)
Last: Juilin Sandar to Conkling Speedwell (Arjun)

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread - October 2014
(261 - 12:12pm, Oct 20)
Last: andrewberg

NewsblogJAVIER prospect comparison system, now with speed! - Beyond the Box Score
(4 - 11:28am, Oct 20)
Last: RMc is a fine piece of cheese

NewsblogBernie Miklasz on Twitter: Matheny, when asked about not using closer T. Rosenthal in 9th
(127 - 11:19am, Oct 20)
Last: zenbitz

Page rendered in 1.7894 seconds
47 querie(s) executed