Archive for the 'Japan' Category

Dominican Republic Still Leads in Foreign Major Leaguers

Monday, April 1st, 2019

According to a major league baseball press release there are 251 foreign players from 20 different countries or areas who appear on 25 man major league rosters, or are on restricted or disabled lists. That accounts for 28.5% of the players. The Dominican Republic again leads in the most major league players outside the 50 United States. Below is a breakdown of where all those foreign players are from;

1. Dominican Republic (102)
2. Venezuela (68)
3. Cuba (19)
4. Puerto Rico (18)
5. Mexico (8)
6. Japan (6)
7. Canada (6)
8. Curacao (5)
9. South Korea (5)
10. Colombia (4)
11. Aruba (1)
12. Australia (1)
13. Brazil (1)
14. Germany (1)
15. Lithuania (1)
16. Netherlands (1)
17. Nicaragua (1)
18. Panama (1)
19. Taiwan (1)
20. U.S. Virgin Islands (1)

Teams Announced for 12 and Under World Cup

Wednesday, March 13th, 2019

The World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) 12 and under World Cup will be played in Tainan City from July 26 to August 4. Tainan City will be hosting the 12 and under until 2027, holding the next five events. They will be the Williamsburg of the WBSC. Fiji is the one interesting new player in this tournament. Taiwan won this event in 2011, the first year it was played, but the United States did not participate in that tournament. The last three events the United States has won the championship. Below are the groupings for the tournament.

Group A

Taiwan, Japan, Czech Republic, South Africa, Cuba and Fiji

Group B

United States, Mexico, Korea, Australia, Venezuela and Italy

Japan Splits with Mexico in Two Game Exhibition Series

Sunday, March 10th, 2019

Despite the long travel Mexico was able to win the opener against Japan 4-2 in front of 28,933 fans. Mexico scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh to take a 3-2 lead, Ali Solis tying the game with an RBI double and Chris Roberson putting them ahead with an RBI single. Jake Sanchez preserved the victory with a scoreless ninth.

Japan came back to even the series next day with a 6-0 victory in front of 28,622. Masataka Yoshida blasted a grand slam homerun in the first inning to give Japan an early lead. He also drove in a fifth run with a sacrifice fly in the seventh. Japan scored five runs in the first inning with Tatsuhiro Tamura contributing an RBI single after the Yoshida slam.

Seven Japanese pitchers were used in the shutout with Yasuaki Yamasaki closing out the game for the win. Manny Barreda had a nightmarish game giving up five runs in the first inning.

Rosters for Mexico/Japan Series

Monday, March 4th, 2019

This weekend (March 9 and 10) the Mexican National team will be playing the Japanese Samurai team. Because the NPB and major leagues have started their spring training the rosters are lacking top flight players. The Japanese do have players from the NPB on their roster while the Mexican team is led by players from the Mexican Professional League. No current major league players are participating, though there are some ex-major leaguers.

Japanese Roster

Pitchers - Yugo Umeno, Taisuke Yamaoka, Juri Hara, Takahiro Matsunaga, Yasuaki Yamasaki, Shota Imanaga, Rei Takahashi, Tomoya Mikami, Yuito Mori, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, Kohei Morihara, Kazuto Taguchi

Catchers - Seiji Kobayashi, Tatsuhiro Tamura, Takuya Kai

Infielders - Yota Kyoda, Naoki Yoshikawa, Yusuke Oyama, Shogo Nakamura, Koji Oshiro, Kazuma Okamoto, Munetaka Murakami

Outfield - Masataka Yoshida, Takayoshi Noma, Seiji Uebayashi, Kensuke Kondo, Haruki Nishikawa

Mexican Roster

Pitchers - Andres Avila, Manny Barreda, Esteban Haro, Carlos Hernandez, Luis Mendoza, Aldo Montes, Jose Oyervides, Zach Phillips, Jorge Reyes, Wilmer Rios, Francisco Rodriguez, Jake Sanchez, Jose Samayoa, Cesar Vargas,

Catchers - Xorge Carrillo, Ali Solis

Infielders - Rodolfo Amador, Luis Cruz, Brian Hernandez, Luis Juarez, Victor Mendoza, Ramiro Pena, Isaac Rodriguez

Outfielders - Jose Juan Aguilar, Jesus Fabela, Roberto Lopez, Joey Meneses, Fernando Perez

Five Teams Confirmed for the World Port Tournament

Tuesday, January 29th, 2019

The Honkball and World Port tournament play every other year. The Honkball is in Haarlem while the World Port tournament is played in Rotterdam. Taiwan will be returning to defend their championship against the local team Netherlands and Curacao. Japan will also be participating as well as a United States group.

Cuba is not playing for the first time since 1993. Their absence is because they are unable to send a strong team to compete in the tournament. That is a sad sign of the decline of Cuban baseball.

The dates for the tournament are July 12 to 21.

Kikuchi Rings in New Year with Mariner Signing

Tuesday, January 1st, 2019

Interesting choice to sign with a club on a rebuilding path. Even though Yusei Kikuchi had stated he was open to negotiating with all 30 major league clubs another Japanese player signed with a west coast club. This puts a ceiling on their economic viability, discouraging east coast teams from bidding on players they probably have no shot of signing. When your market size is six instead of 30 your offers are limited. The next Japanese free agent who states he will consider all 30 major league clubs will not get as many offers from some of the east coast teams, knowing they will not be strongly considered.

Reports are that it was a four year contract, with the last year a player option. That player option can be replaced by another four year deal. The 30 day window was expiring on January 2. The Mariners will pay the Seibu Lions a percentage of his contract, which may end up being a two part payment if his option is exercised after the third year. Dollar terms of the contract have not yet been announced.

By mid-year the Mariners rotation could be Marco Gonzalez, Yusei Kikuchi, Justus Sheffield and Justin Dunn, with whoever survives the Felix Hernandez, Wade LeBlanc and Mike Leake early year shelling.

Japanese Set Pitch Limits on High Schoolers

Tuesday, December 25th, 2018

The Nigata Prefectoral High School Baseball Federation will institute the first pitch limits in Japanese High School Baseball. A pitcher may not start another inning if he has thrown more that 100 pitches. It is still unclear whether he can pitch the next day but it is a start. Gone will be the tournaments in which a pitcher throws 881 pitches in six games, such as Kosei Yoshida did last year. Depending on the rule he may now be limited to 600 pitches unless they also have provisions that require a couple days rest between outings.

Tomohiro Anraku threw 232 pitches in a 13 inning game at Koshien back in 2013. He three 772 pitches in five games over a nine day period before tiring in the final and losing 17-1. Daisuke Matsuzaka threw 767 pitches in six games. He at least had a successful career before his elbow exploded. Anraku had a 98 mile per hour fastball as a 16 year old in high school. He now pitches for the Rakuten Golden Eagles, but in four years in the NPB he has not pitched more than 84 innings or appeared in more than 15 games, with shoulder injuries limiting his effectiveness.

Of course, major league baseball has established pitch counts, but that has not prevented pitchers from elbow and shoulder issues. Time will tell if this move by Japan becomes effective. One thing it will do is force high school managers to find more pitchers to diversify their rotation, which in the long run could benefit Japan, giving them more pitchers.

Ryosuke Kikuchi Puts Hat in the Post Me Ring

Friday, December 21st, 2018

The Hiroshima Carp’s Ryosuke Kikuchi signed a contract for the 2019 season. According to sources identified in YakyuDB he indicated a wish to be posted for the major leagues before he earns his international free agent option. Next year he will earn his domestic free agency and if he stays healthy he will earn his international free agency after the 2021 season. He will turn 29 before the start of the 2019 season.

Last year Kikuchi had his worst season since his rookie year, hitting only .233 with a .301 OBA. His OPS was only .656. He has made the All Star team five times, but that is mainly for his defensive play. He has had two seasons in which he has hit over .300 (2014 and 2016). Myworld does not see him attracting much interest unless he improves his numbers.

Premier 12 Set for 2019

Wednesday, December 19th, 2018

The top 12 teams from the Premier 12 will compete in November 2019 for two spots in the 2020 Olympics. The 12 teams will be broken out into groups of four similar to the World Baseball Classic. These games will be held November 2-8 in Mexico, Taiwan and Korea. Two teams from each of these these groups of four will advance to the finals in Tokyo. They will play the games November 11-16 in the Tokyo Dome and Chiba Marine Stadium in pool play. On November 17 the finals will be held with the top two teams playing against each other and the third and fourth place teams competing for the bronze. This could be rather anticlimactic since the top two teams have already qualified for the Olympics and third place only gets you a bronze medal. But athletes play for pride.

The 12 teams that are eligible to compete are (in order of ranking):

1) Japan, 2) United States, 3) Korea, 4) Taiwan, 5) Cuba, 6) Mexico, 7) Australia, 8) Netherlands, 9) Venezuela, 10) Canada, 11) Puerto Rico, 12) Dominican Republic

Just missing from qualifying for the event are Panama, Colombia and Nicaragua, which finished 13-15 in the rankings.

Korea is the defending champions of the only Premier 12 to be played to date. The United States finished second and Japan third. The November time frame has been established to allow the countries to bring their top players to compete in this event. The professional leagues from Japan, United States, Taiwan and Korea will be over. Cuba will postpone their Nacional Series schedule as they do for the World Baseball Classic. It will be the best baseball has to offer outside of the World Baseball Classic.

Taiwan Slugger Signs with Nippon Ham

Friday, December 7th, 2018

The Taiwan slugger Wang Po-Jung signed with the Nippon Ham Fighters for three years and $4 million. There are also additional incentives to the contract that have not been disclosed. He becomes the first player from the CPBL to sign via the posting system. Though major league teams could have participated in the posting process they did not because of no formalized process in place with Taiwan for the acquisition of players. No information has been provided on the posting fee paid to the La Miga Monkeys, though it has been projected to be near $1 million.

The NPB has a limit of four foreign players on their major league roster, with no more than three of them being a pitcher or position player. Wang will count on that four player limit, meaning the Fighters think enough of him to use up a roster spot for his services over major league players.

Wang hit .414 and .407 in his first two full seasons in the CPBL, slugging 29 and 31 homeruns. His third season last year could be considered a disappointment as he hit only .351 with 17 homeruns. His slugging percentage dropped more than 100 points. He won the CPBL rookie of the year in 2016 and was voted MVP in 2016 and 2017. During his rookie year of 2016 he became the first CPBL player to record 200 hits during a season.