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Monday, November 22, 2021

From 346 MLB games to a legend in Japan

It takes time to adjust to a new league and new style of play, while becoming comfortable in your new home. It’s something that former Major Leaguer-turned-NPB-star Matt Murton knows well. Murton appeared in 346 Major League games from 2005-09 before joining the Hanshin Tigers in 2010. That very first year, he hit .349 and broke Ichiro’s then-record of 210 hits in a single NPB season.

These days, Murton is back at home and is helping coach a high school baseball team loaded with talent on its staff. (Former big leaguer Chase Headley is also there.) Having now played in both leagues and even worked in the front office for the Cubs after hanging up his cleats, he has a viewpoint on the differences between MLB and NPB that few others have….

“In the U.S., when [a pitcher] falls behind [by] 1-0, 2-1, 3-1 counts, you have a chance to gear up a touch and look for a heater,” Murton said. “In Japan, it’s the complete opposite. They actually are far more willing to throw something with spin or a splitter or change in those counts than they are a fastball. In fact, like 0-1, 1-2 counts is when they’ll throw the heater. For a guy from Japan coming to the U.S. and vice versa, you have to completely change your mentality in both the sequencing and pitching.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 22, 2021 at 02:23 PM | 4 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: japanese baseball, matt murton

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   1. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: November 22, 2021 at 07:46 PM (#6054113)
I'm a little bit surprised that more North American players don't make their way to Japan. I suppose the culture shock is large, and I don't really have a sense of the salary hit one might take. But Murton made close to $4 million in 2014, still a hefty sum, and had a great season. Maybe I underestimate the competitiveness of big-time athletes.
   2. 57i66135 is a hard word for me. Posted: November 22, 2021 at 09:02 PM (#6054123)
I'm a little bit surprised that more North American players don't make their way to Japan. I suppose the culture shock is large, and I don't really have a sense of the salary hit one might take. But Murton made close to $4 million in 2014, still a hefty sum, and had a great season. Maybe I underestimate the competitiveness of big-time athletes.

does japan still have a hard limit of 4 "gaijin" per team?
   3. vortex of dissipation Posted: November 23, 2021 at 02:07 AM (#6054170)
does japan still have a hard limit of 4 "gaijin" per team?


Yes, as far as the NPB team roster at any one time goes. You can, however, have as many additional foreign players signed and on your minor league roster as you want (or can get), and shuffle them to the NPB team, demoting other foreign players if the foreign players on the active roster are injured or ineffective.
   4. McCoy Posted: November 23, 2021 at 07:30 AM (#6054176)
It seems the Cubs were a great minor league team for the Japanese majors. Murton, Hill, Brown. . .

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