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  • Posts Tagged ‘red sox’

    Tazawa, so far so good

    Posted by japanstats on 2009 April 15日 Wednesday

    After making 2 starts with Boston’s AA Portland Sea Dogs, Red Sox’s first Japanese amateur signing Junichi Tazawa is looking good with 11 IP, 10 K, 3 BB, 1.60 ERA with a 1-1 record. He pitched in the season opener with a 5 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 7 K line. Then he followed it up with 6 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 3 K last evening against New Britain Rock Cats.

    Posted in 02_English, baseball, information, MLB, opinion, statistics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    松坂(BOS)対D.Cabrera(BAL)

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 July 14日 Monday

    オールスターブレークに入る直前の試合で、ボストン・レッドソックスの松坂大輔がボルチモア・オリオールズのダニエル・カブレラ投手と対決します。そして、この二人の今季の成績の比較がなかなか面白い

    とても似てる成績は:

    カブレラ: 69奪三振 51与四球 1.37WHIP
    松坂:  70奪三振 52与四球 1.37WHIP

    そして、正反対の数字:

    カブレラ: 6勝4敗 防御率4.40 投球回124.2
    松坂:  9勝1敗 防御率2.84 投球回82.1

    面白いね。

    いくつか、興味深いポイントをピックアップしていきます。

    カブレラが5割増しの投球回を投げてるけど、奪三振数、与四球数、そしてWHIPはほぼ大輔と同じ。

    • 運と打線援護がどれだけ二人の勝ち負けと防御率に影響しているのかが伺えます。
    • チームメイトの守備力を省いた、防御率に見立てた数字のFIP では、松坂が4.10 でカブレラが4.95。現状の勝敗数、そして防御率の差ほど実力の差が無い事が見えます。
    • ちなみにカブレラは年々奪三振率が低下していて、これは心配事(与四球率も低下しているので、これは良い事だが)。逆に今年の松坂は与四球がとても多い、このパターンが続くと自爆炎上の連続も遠く無いですね。興味深い一戦です。

    Posted in 01_日本語, baseball, information, MLB, opinion, Sabermetrics, statistics | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    D. Cabrera v Dice-K

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 July 14日 Monday

    Daniel Cabrera (BAL) faces off against Daisuke Matsuzaka (BOS) today in the last game before the All Star break, some interesting comparisons of their numbers to date this season.

    Oh, look at their idential numbers:

    D.Cabrera 69K 51BB 1.37WHIP
    Dice-K 70K 52BB 1.37WHIP

    And their disparate numbers:

    D.Cabrera 6-4 4.40ERA 124.2IP
    Dice-K 9-1 2.84ERA 82.1IP

    Funny aren’t they?

    There are some interesting comparisons here:

    • Identical K, BB, and WHIP numbers despite Cabrera pitching 50% more innings than Dice-K.
    • Obviously luck and run support is playing a huge part in Matsuzaka’s 9-1 record.
    • Dice-K’s FIP is 4.10 and Cabrera’s is 4.95, so there’s definitely a gap their in their true performance, but it’s nowhere as wide as their W-L records and ERA indicate (thanks to diverging luck and run support their experiencing and receiving so far this season).

    Posted in 02_English, baseball, information, MLB, opinion, Sabermetrics, statistics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Indie ball in the States and Japan

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 June 4日 Wednesday

    A great article and video by King Kauffman on the independent Golden League and its tryouts that were held recently (with a neat video).

    The Golden League was formed in 2005, one of a handful of circuits operating independently from Major League Baseball and its farm system. Crowds are small and so are salaries, but independent baseball generally offers great entertainment for fans. Prices are low, the atmosphere is intimate and, unlike in affiliated minor-league ball, the home team’s objective is to win games, not train players.

    And of course the independent leagues are at least as enthusiastic about wacky promotions and stunts as the affiliated minors. Golden League commissioner Kevin Outcalt said it was his idea two years ago to trade 60 cases of beer for a player, a move that made small headlines nationwide. The player was Nigel Thatch, the guy who played “Leon” in those Budweiser commercials a few years back.

    Thatch was a pitcher as well as an actor, toiling in the independent Northern League for the Schaumburg Flyers, near Chicago. He had requested a trade to a Los Angeles-area team so he could pursue acting work, so Outcalt agreed to arrange for a trade between Schaumburg and the Fullerton Flyers of the Golden League.

    Outcalt says that when his Schaumburg contact told him that Thatch wasn’t much of a player, he said, “‘Then let’s have some fun with it.’ So I offered to trade a pallet of beer for him. And then he got all bent out of shape about it and refused to report — which made it an even better story!”

    You might recognize the Schaumburg Flyers as the team that lets fans vote on lineup changes and such through a Web site.

    For all the fun, the independent leagues are serious business, especially for the players. Men who have washed out of affiliated ball or who have gone unsigned use them as a summer-long audition for big-league scouts, who pay attention. The Golden League sells about 20 contracts a year to big-league clubs, and while the relatively new circuit has yet to graduate a player to the majors, other independent leagues have sent a steady trickle of talent to the show, mostly relief pitchers.

    Baltimore Orioles closer George Sherrill played in both the Northern and Frontier leagues. His teammate Kevin Millar is also a Northern League vet. The Atlantic League has established itself as the go-to circuit for former big-league stars who want to keep their careers going. Rickey Henderson, Jose Canseco, John Rocker and Juan Gonzalez have all played there in the last few years. Henderson also spent time in the Golden League.

    Philadelphia Phillies backup catcher Chris Coste spent four years with the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks of the Northern League before embarking on a rambling journey through the farm systems of four organizations before Philadelphia called him up late in the 2006 season. He tells his story in a new book,“The 33-Year-Old Rookie: How I Finally Made it to the Big Leagues After Eleven Years in the Minors.”

    Incidentally the Golden League featured a travelling Japanese team called the Samurai Bears one season, managed by one time favourite Yomiuri Giant and Montreal Expo Warren Cromartie. The team started off ok, but eventually struggled to the bottom of the division, partially due to travel fatigue that always accompany travelling teams, not to mention playing in an entirely foreign country to boot.

    There are currently 2 independent baseball leagues in Japan. The Shikoku-Kyushu Island League with 6 teams (expanded into the island of Kyushu this year from just Shikoku island, hence the name), and the Baseball Challenge League which is located in north central Japan which also has 6 teams. These 2 leagues play an annual championship series, so essentially these unaffliated leagues are acting as the third or fourth tier of Japanese pro/semi-pro ball (NPB, farm leagues, and then industrial/college/independent leagues, will get more to the level of competition at each level in a future post as this one was supposed to be more about the Golden League tryouts video.) Incidentally, the Shikoku league has had players drafted into NPB, and even a player (pitcher and league MVP 2 years running, Terumasa Matsuo) signed by the Boston Red Sox.

    Posted in 02_English, baseball, culture, information, MLB, NPB, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    Some random MLB Japan Opener traveblogues

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 April 3日 Thursday

    It’s always good to hear what others think about their visits to Japan and Tokyo, along with experiencing some some pro-yakyu (NPB) ball.

    Japan vet Sal Paradise sent in a report to Baseball Musings with some interesting and amusing observations:

    Despite my loud protestations (you’re cheering for the wrong team!) in Japanese, followed by angry glares from the wife, there’s no stopping the mob, so until Matsuzaka was finally yanked, there was no method to the cheering madness.

    I’m torn, really. In Japanese games between Japanese teams, there is a cheering section for each team who conduct a full brass band and sing the songs of each individual player on the team (which change every year, written by committee or somesuch). It’s a unique aspect to Japanese baseball games, but it gets tiring the 5th time that player comes up to bat. However, at least they’re cheering for the right team, and there’s no confusion.

    I think the cheer sticks were more obnoxious, but I haven’t been to a Japanese game yet this year, so it may be a case of the grass being greener…

    Japan newbie and a former Athletics Nation contributer has a good 3 part series on his Japan visit:

    A jet-lagged Stomper trudges through the infield as MLB and Tokyo Dome drones prepare the pre-game extravaganza, which had no known relation to baseball. Part of the extravaganza was a phalanx of hot girls in short, short, short hotpants, which Kevin Youkilis spent the entire show ogling while pretending to jog back and forth in front of the Sox dugout.

    Hahaha, classic!!

    Oh, and he keeps on noticing that the pitchers (Harden, Matsuzaka, and others) are throwing 2-3mph (3-5kph) slower than they usually do and gets rather worried about their conditions, but I think this is probably attributable to the difference between the radar guns in Japan and stateside. It’s a fairly well known fact here in Japan that, American guns seem to be tuned 2-3mph faster, Japanese fans have noticed that Japanese pitchers tend to gain about 3mph in their pitches when they go over to the majors, and that’s probably not just training. ESPN, I think, is especially notorious for cranking up its gun, recording some pitchers throwing over 100mph (like Zumaya).

    About Harden, because I know your heart skipped a beat when I used the words “Harden” and “troubling” in the same sentence. You went to mlb.com this morning and saw Harden’s line – 6 IP, 3 H, 9 Ks – and you figured that at least for now, all is right in Hardenland. So what’s the problem? Maybe nothing, but Rich topped out at 155 km/h on the stadium gun. That’s 96 to you and me. He only got that high once. (A first inning ball to Youkilis way up out of the strike zone.) Most of his fastballs were in the low to mid 90s, and he threw more breaking pitches than I can ever remember seeing him throw.

    I need to get my act together and post my Hanshin – Boston game review with photos and videos… soon.

    And a random note that a Dodger farmhand Frenchman is a product of the MLB European baseball academy in Italy!

    The player, Joris Bert, is one of more than 100 men in the Dodgers’ minor league system, but the only one who started playing baseball only because he missed a soccer game in Louviers. A dozen years later, Bert has found himself in the United States happily nicknamed Frenchie, with his eyes fixed on the more immediate horizon of the major leagues.

    “I’m not very good, but I know I have good potential,” said Bert, a center fielder who last June became the first Frenchman selected in the major league draft. “I don’t have enough experience in baseball to be good.”

    The Dodgers want to give it to him, and also disagree with that “not very good” assessment. They consider Bert potentially a Brett Butler-type of leadoff man, a slap hitter who forces action with his speed. Although draft picks are occasionally fanciful — spent on Heisman Trophy winners and once a general manager’s daughter — the Dodgers chose Bert in the quite legitimate 19th round.

    “This guy has tools — he was not a token selection,” said De Jon Watson, the Dodgers’ assistant general manager in charge of player development. “He has a chance to do some quality things for us.”

    Bert, 20, is the crown jewel of the European academy run by Major League Baseball in Italy. Growing up in Louviers, about 90 minutes outside Paris, Bert said he had never heard of baseball when, at age 10, he showed up late to a soccer game and saw other children playing on the next field. He gave the game a try, immediately enjoyed it and later played on a local club team in a makeshift league.

    I didn’t even know MLB had an European baseball academy, wow.

    Posted in baseball, culture, MLB, NPB, tokyo | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    The Spring Koshien Tournament

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 March 24日 Monday

    The spring invitational national high school baseball tournament at Koshien has started.

    A couple of good Koshien articles via EWC.

    A Boston Herald writer made it out of the dour Tokyo Dome to Koshien to catch a day of always (overly) dramatic highschool baseball action. It’s interesting to get an outsider’s view of the event.

    If the baseball gods really wanted the Red Sox to play in Japan, they would have steered them to the 84-year-old Hanshin Koshien Stadium.

    Not that a stadium is needed to enhance enjoyment of a baseball game, but as any Fenway Park [map] visitor understands, a special ballpark always does.

    Koshien Stadium is that kind of a special ballpark.

    Yesterday, as the 80th annual spring Koshien national high school baseball tournament kicked off, the thought that this was where talents such as Sadaharu Oh, Hideki Matsui, Ichiro Suzuki and, of course, Daisuke Matsuzaka were tested as both high schoolers and pros (the Hanshin Tigers play here) was invigorating.

    And a solid piece by Thomas Dillon of the Japan Times.

    From samurai to kamikaze to the blaze of cherry blossoms, Japanese feel such honor in their bones and Koshien shows this.

    Everyone loses, but not everyone gets to lose so majestically on national TV. Remember the final charge in “The Last Samurai?” Hear Ken Watanabe’s dying gasp — “It’s beautiful.”

    That’s Koshien.

    I personally don’t follow the Koshien tournaments much. Some highschool phenoms draw my attention, of course, but usually not when they’re playing agianst inferior opposition (the random bracketing can create havoc, with top teams facing each other in early rounds, or a weak side sneaking their way up the competition, etc.), high school baseball is much like NCAA basketball and football in that there are some powerhouse schools that recruit student-athletes from across the country and make it to Koshien year after year. Maybe I’m too cynical, but I enjoy it in parts.

    Oh, I went to see the Sox-Hanshin preseason game, but haven’t had time to sort through the photos and videos yet. The Hanshin fans got into the game quite a bit by the end, even though the Sox regulars were almost all replaced by bench players, because it was a 1 run game and Kubota and Fujikawa pitched admirably, but the Sox closed the door on the Tigers with Delcarmen and Papelbon. I guess Okajima was scheduled to pitch against the Yomiuri Giants, his former team, so he didn’t make an appearance against the Tigers even though the situation would have usually called for him. Ah preseason.

    Posted in 02_English, baseball, culture, MLB, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

    Larry Bigbie, the ratty BayStar?

    Posted by japanstats on 2008 March 20日 Thursday

    An interesting Yahoo article on the new Yokohama BayStar outfielder Larry Bigbie about his involvement in the Mitchell Report (he was featured on only 1 less page than the Rocket!) He plans on burying his baseball bones here in Japan. I haven’t bothered looking into how many years he used steroids and HGHs, but his career lines of 267/331/395 in the majors and 292/368/421 in the minors aren’t very inspiring. Though the fact that he didn’t see too much of a drop off in the minor to major transition is somewhat promising, and playing home games in the bandbox Yokohama Stadium (308’/93m to both poles and 387’/117m to centre) in a hitters league (Tokyo Dome, helped by its peculiarly straight power alleys, and tiny Hiroshima Stadium are both notorious hitters parks as well) may be his saving grace (the Tamura effect?) especially if he’s used at CF.

    An interesting excerpt from the article:

    Larry Bigbie’s name appeared 93 times in the Mitchell Report. Seven full pages were devoted to him, one fewer than Roger Clemens. Mitchell attributed much of the information accusing Baltimore Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts of steroid use to Bigbie, his former roommate, and did the same with Jack Cust, the slugging outfielder now with Oakland.

    In news reports, Bigbie was placed alongside Brian McNamee and Kirk Radomski as Mitchell’s informants. He stewed. He had talked, yeah, but says he brought up neither Roberts’ nor Cust’s name and only confirmed information with which Mitchell’s investigators confronted him.

    “They had everything,” he says. “They knew. It wasn’t like I had to sit there and spit names to them.”

    I’ve read somewhere that borderline major leaguers are most likely PED abusers, and this makes sense economically because the the financial incentives to stay in the majors is astronomical, with the crevasse sized gaps between major league and minor league salary as well as in the pension system.

    And I guess he won’t be seeing Cust in person when he arrives in Tokyo for a pair of exhibitions against the Tigers and Giants, and the season opener agaist the Red Sox.

    Posted in 02_English, baseball, information, MLB, NPB, opinion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »