Archive for the 'Japan' Category

Cuba and Japan Complete Honkball Itinerary

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

The six teams have been selected for Honkball. It will be played July 13-22 at Pim Mulier Stadium in Haarlem. Haarlem is one of those quiet, pleasant cities that have more bikes on the roads than automobiles. It also has canals, windmills, a town square and a baseball stadium. The stadium is just a couple miles from the town square. Myworld could not pick a better spot to relax in a tranquil setting and then spend your time at the ballpark.

The six teams participating in the tournament are:

Netherlands, Curacao, Italy, Taiwan, Cuba and Japan

After the last Honkball tournament there was some discussion to end the tournament. The crowds are loyal with fans waiting two hours inside the stadium waiting for the second game to be played. When you buy a ticket it is for the day, with the first game scheduled for 2 PM and the evening affair for 7 PM. There is a tented area and a stage for a band, so if the crowd is large enough a band could be made available to entertain those who wait the couple hours inside the stadium for the second game to start.

Despite the decent crowds the organizers were not able to collect enough revenue to continue the tournament. Lack of advertisers and sponsors are the large revenue generators for most tournaments. Another group has stepped in to hold the tournament. Hopefully they will be more successful in continuing the tournament every two years.

United States New Number One

Friday, February 23rd, 2018

With their win in the World Baseball Classic the United States has ended the three year reign of Japan and taken over the number one spot in baseball, according to the World Baseball and Softball Confederation (WBSC). With the top 12 teams qualifying for the Premier 12 in 2019 myworld will list the top 13 teams as ranked by the WBSC. Mexico sitting at number five has never been ranked higher.

1. United States (5025 points)
2. Japan (4609 points)
3. South Korea (4158 points)
4. Cuba (3152 points)
5. Mexico (2613 points)
6. Taiwan (2520 points)
7. Canada (2142 points)
8. Australia (2095 points)
9. Netherlands (2002 points)
10. Puerto Rico (1796 points)
11. Venezuela (1765 points)
12. Dominican Republic (1227 points)
13. Nicaragua (1155 points)

You can see the complete list at wbsc.org/rankings/

Hideki Matsui Voted to Japanese Hall of Fame

Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

Hideki Matsui was one of three players voted to the Japanese Hall of Fame a couple days ago, becoming the youngest Japanese player voted into the Hall of Fame at 43 years and 7 months. Prior to that the previous youngest player was Hideo Nomo at 45 years and 4 months. The slugger named Godzilla played 10 years for the Yomiuri Giants from 1994 to 2002 where he slugged 332 homeruns. In December of 2002 he signed a contract to play for the New York Yankees, and in 2003 became the first Japanese player to hit a homerun in a post season game.

In the major leagues his power was not as prevalent where he hit 175 homeruns from 2003 to 2012, playing his last three years for one year each with the Los Angeles Angels, Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays. His 500th professional homerun was hit when he played for the Oakland Athletics in 2011. On July 28, 2013 he signed a one day contract with the New York Yankees to retire as a Yankee.

His high homerun mark was in 2002 when he hit 50 for the Yomiuri Giants, resulting in his third Japan Series title (1998, 2000, 2002). In the major leagues his high was 31, which he hit in his second season. In 2009 he led the Yankees to a World Series championship, where he was voted the MVP. That was his last season with the Yankees and has been the last Yankee World Series championship.

He was nicknamed Godzilla because of his poor skin condition, but as his power became legendary it became more indicative of his ability to hit for power.

A little known fact for Matsui is he holds the major league record for consecutive games played while starting his major league career (518). Prior to that he had played in 1,250 consecutive games in his last three years in Japan.

The other two players voted with Matsui into the Japanese Hall of Fame were Tomoaki Kanemoto and Tatsunori Hara. Tuffy Rhodes was 8th with 22.8% of the votes, with a 75% requirement necessary to get selected.

Japan Retains Number One Ranking in Baseball

Wednesday, January 10th, 2018

The United States earned more points than any other country in 2017 but it was not enough to surpass Japan for the number one ranking. For the third year in a row Japan is the number one ranked country in baseball. They earned the second most points in baseball last year and now lead the United States by 244 points. The 2018 season will be difficult for the United States to surpass Japan since they are not participating in the Under 23 Baseball World Cup in Nicaragua in October, one of the two tournaments that hand out the most points for the 2018 season. In a couple weeks the rankings could shuffle as points from 2014 expire, but if the United States should surpass Japan because of subtracted points their reign will be short.

Below are the top 12 teams in baseball, plus number 13 waiting to crack into the top 12. The top 12 teams will qualify for the Premier 12, which is the third most prestigious baseball tournament after the Olympics and the World Baseball Classic.

1. Japan (5658 points)
2. United States (5414 points)
3. Korea (4950 points)
4. Taiwan (3808 points)
5. Cuba (3677 points)
6. Mexico (3012 points)
7. Australia (2634 points)
8. Netherlands (2377 points)
9. Venezuela (2363 points)
10. Canada (2142 points)
11. Puerto Rico (1827 points)
12. Italy (1686 points)

13. Nicaragua (1636 points)

NPB East Wins Taiwan Winterball League

Monday, December 18th, 2017

The NPB East Japanese prospect team defeated their Korean KBO counterparts 4-1 in the Taiwan winter league championship game. The KBO team battled the host Taiwan team in the semifinals. The KBO team beat the CPBL 6-2 to advance to the championship game. The NPB East team upset the Division winner Japan Amateur Baseball Association (JABA) 2-0 to advance to the championship game. JABA went on to beat the CPBL team 4-3 to capture third place.

The final standings to determine seeding:

JABA (11-4-2), CPBL (11-5-1), KBO (8-7-2), NPB East (8-9), NPB West (8-9-1), WBSC Team (4-11-2)

Nicaragua to Host U-23 WBSC Championship; Panama Under 15

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017

Nicaragua will host the Under 23 WBSC championship in 2018, playing the games at the newly constructed 15,000 seat Dennis Martinez stadium at a date yet to be determined. Despite all the points awarded for this event the No 2 United States and No 5 Cuba will not be playing in the tournament. The United States did not play in the qualifying round, while Cuba did not qualify. Below are the teams who have qualified for the games:

Africa (1) - to be determined
Americas (4) - No. 9 Venezuela, No. 6 Mexico, No. 11 Puerto Rico, No. 16 Dominican Republic
Asia (3) - No1. Japan, No.4 Taiwan and No. 3 South Korea
Europe (2) - No. 8 Netherlands, No. 14 Czech Republic
Oceania (1) - to be determined
Wildcard (1) - No 13 Nicaragua

The Under 15 Hosts will be Panama. The teams competing in that tournament are:

Africa (1) - to be determined
Americas (5) - No. 2 United States, No. 16 Dominican Republic, No. 5 Cuba, No. 15 Panama, No. 18 Brazil
Asia (2) - No. 1 Japan and No. 4 Taiwan
Europe (2) - No. 20 Germany and No. 8 Netherlands
Oceania (1) - to be determined

Chunichi Dragons Fail to Resign Alex Guerrero

Saturday, December 2nd, 2017

An interesting free agent for major league baseball teams may be Alex Guerrero. He caused some headaches for the Los Angeles Dodgers when he played for them a couple years ago but seemed to be quite tamed while playing for the Chunichi Dragons. The Dragons made an attempt to resign him but could not get it done.

Guerrero showed some amazing power for the Dragons. He led all Japanese players with 35 homeruns, hitting .279. At one point during the season he hit homeruns in six consecutive games, falling one short of tying the NPB record for consecutive games with a homerun. While he may not be able to duplicate those numbers in the major leagues, they are still good enough that some major league team will be motivated to give him another major league opportunity.

Guerrero is the player who bit a portion of the ear off of Miguel Olivo in a dugout scuffle in 2014. He will be 31 next year so you would expect his maturity level has increased.

Japanese Postings and International Free Agents

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

It appears that the Japanese posting procedures have been finalized. They will grandfather in the posting procedure that was in place last year for this coming season and then next year move to a system where the Japanese team only gets a percentage of a players contract, with that percentage rising the lower the contract. With the salary restrictions placed on Shohei Otani’s potential contract this year because of international salary cap ceilings, the rules for a percentage of the contract would not provide enough money to the Nippon Ham Fighters to give them any incentive to post Otani. So below are the top possible postings and the free agents that may be coming from Japan next year.

Shohei Otani (RHP/OFer) - enough has been written about him. The Babe Ruth of Japan will get the maximum posting of $20 million from at least a dozen major league teams who would like to negotiate with him. His contract will be cheap so if you don’t get him you don’t lose any money. Myworld’s concern with Otani is his injury history. That may restrict his ability to be a two way player. He is currently rehabbing from ankle surgery.

Dennis Sarfate (RHP) - After breaking the Japanese save record in a season and being the first reliever to save over 50 games the Softbank Hawks signed the 36 year old to an extension. A number of major league teams have expressed an interest in signing Sarfate. To do that the Hawks would have to release him or post him. Sarfate has redefined his career in Japan with a split fingered fastball. In the major leagues he would probably not be a closer but a set up man.

Kazuhisa Makita (RHP) - At 33 years of age he has asked to be posted. The Seibu Lions have agreed to post him. He will not break the bank with his posting. A set up pitcher in Japan he relies on a funky delivery to achieve success. Those types of pitchers have early success in the major leagues but their effectiveness wanes as hitters get more accustomed to their delivery. Because of his time in the NPB he will not be subject to international salary cap restrictions.

Free Agents

Hideaki Wakui (RHP) - A pitcher for the Chibba Lotte Marines, did not pick one of his better years in which to declare free agency. His best seasons were from 2007 to 2010. Last year he was 5-11, 3.99. He is an arm and at 31 does have some years left. He is not overpowering, relying on an assortment of pitches and a high left leg kick to add some funk to his delivery. Teams who need arms for the bullpen will look at signing him.

Yoshihisa Hirano (RHP) - The closer for the Orix Buffaloes is 33. His fastball hits the mid-90s and he has a forkball. His most likely role in the major leagues will be as a set up pitcher. His strikeout numbers have not been overwhelming since 2014. He began his career as a starting pitcher but after three years converted to relief, where he was first the set-up man and after 2012 converted to closer for the Buffaloes. Teams who need arms to fill their bullpen will look at signing him.

Two other international free agents, Shinya Tsuruoka and Shota Ono are catchers who will probably stay in Japan. Tsuruoka is an older catcher (36) who is not even a starter for his NPB team (Softbank Hawks). Ono is younger and catches for Otani. Teams could try to attract Otani by signing Ono as his personal catcher if they feel there is a connection. Ono does not have much of a bat with a .216 career average.

Japan Blanks Korea to Win Asian Championship

Monday, November 20th, 2017

In the first ever Asian championship from the three professional Asian Leagues featuring players 23 and under Japan continued their domination, blanking Korea 7-0 in the final and finishing undefeated in the three games. Kazuto Taguchi pitched seven innings of shutout ball, allowing just three hits to lead Japan to the victory. Tsuyoshi Ishizaki and Yasuaki Yamasaki each worked a perfect inning of shutout ball to complete the shutout. The attendance figure was listed at 30,498, a little less than the crowd that would attend Yomiuri Giants games, but a good crowd for this series.

The first two runs of the ball game were driven in by series MVP Shuta Tonosaki. He contributed RBI singles in the fourth and fifth innings to give Japan an early 2-0 lead. Ryoma Nishikawa drove in two more runs in the fifth inning with a double.

Nishikawa also slammed a solo homerun in the seventh to finish the game with three RBIs. Hotaka Yamakawa drove in two runs with a single in the sixth inning.

Korea strung together back to back two out singles in the fifth inning to place two runners on base for the first and only time in the game. Min-Woo Park grounded out to end the threat. The Japanese pitchers retired the next 12 hitters to sweep through the series.

The MVP of the tourney was Shuta Tonosaki, who finished the series driving in four runs. The All Asian Series team was:

Catcher - Ju-Suk Ha (Korea), First Base - Yu-Hsien Chu (Taiwan), Second Base - Min-Woo Park (Korea), Third Base - Ryoma Nishikawa (Japan), Shortstop - Ha-Seong Kim (Korea), Outfield - Shuta Tonosaki (Japan), Go Matsumoto (Japan) and Po-Jung Wang (Taiwan), designated hitter - Kensuke Kondo (Japan), Pitcher - Kazuto Taguchi (Japan)

Japan Eliminates Taiwan from Asian Series

Sunday, November 19th, 2017

The championship of the Asia Series will see powerhouse Japan duke it out with Korea. This after they had clobbered Taiwan 8-2. Japan will have a rematch with Korea who they had beaten earlier this year 1-0.

Yota Kyoda led the Japanese offense with a two run single in the fifth and an RBI single in the eighth. Shuta Tonosaki got the scoring started for Japan with a solo shot in the second inning. He added an RBI double in the ninth to close out the scoring.

Shoto Imanaga went six innings to shut out Taiwan, giving up just three hits and striking out 12. Taiwan scored their first runs in the ninth inning after the game was pretty much decided. Yu-Hsien Chu started the inning with a solo homerun. Chieh-Hsien Chen was hit by a pitch to force in a run. With the bases loaded Pin-Chieh Chen grounded into a double play to end the game.