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Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Scouting Adventure That Led Red Sox to Junichi Tazawa

“I went to see him pitch up in the mountains in a country town. It was freezing cold, I walked into the stadium and he was just walking to the mound. I was thinking at the time there are no taxis up here—how am I going to get out of this place?” Deeble recalled.

Even though Deeble and Shipley were the two members of the Red Sox organization who had been most involved in the effort to scout Daisuke Matsuzaka prior to his signing with the Red Sox, at a time when nearly every member of the Red Sox front office was in Tokyo to see the right-hander pitch, the two Australians went to see Tazawa pitch in a late-March tournament.

In honor of Tazawa overtaking Scott Atchison as the Sox’ best pitcher (by WAR) in 2012.

Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: September 20, 2012 at 07:01 AM | 4 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: japan, red sox, scouting

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   1. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: September 20, 2012 at 09:05 AM (#4240873)
In honor of Tazawa overtaking Scott Atchison as the Sox’ best pitcher (by WAR) in 2012.


Atchison's 1.2 IP, 1 K outing has apparently vaulted him back into the lead. I guess this passes for late-season excitement in Fenway this year.
   2. Cris E Posted: September 20, 2012 at 10:04 AM (#4240933)
Try to be a little more respectful of tradition when speaking of the Red Sox. We shouldn't forget the many decades where this sort of thing defined late-season excitement in Fenway.
   3. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: September 20, 2012 at 02:05 PM (#4241258)
The scouting didn't seem that adventurous. The guy went to a game in the mountains and had to walk a few miles in the cold downhill.

So does Tazawa go back to starting? I inferred that from Speier's tone. The most dominant pitcher on team now throwing in the mid-90's after Tommy John seems like he is headed to starting.
   4. villageidiom Posted: September 27, 2012 at 10:43 AM (#4247064)
The scouting didn't seem that adventurous. The guy went to a game in the mountains and had to walk a few miles in the cold downhill.
I thought that, too, when I first read it. I mean, by the time he declared for MLB, many teams were familiar with him and interested. Scouting him first helped to land him, but the cloak and dagger stuff wouldn't have made much of a difference there.

But thinking about it a little more I think it was huge. It's not that they prevented attention from MLB teams; rather, they prevented attention from NPB teams. If Tazawa had entered NPB the Red Sox would still be waiting for him now, with no advantage over any other team. If NPB teams had learned the Red Sox were scouting Tazawa, he surely would have suddenly received massive attention from NPB teams that previously had been disinterested.

Being the only westerner, completely out of place in that environment, shooting video of Tazawa, could easily have been a huge red flag in Japan. Anything else to raise suspicion - even the mode of transportation, which would be a tip-off of how far he'd travelled or how "important" he was - was a risk. Whether his efforts were overblown, I don't know; but he successfully averted the downside.

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