CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

Futures Guide 2014 is Now Available in Paperback and Three E-book Formats.

Premium and Super Premium Subscribers Get a 20% Discount at MLB.tv!

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: ... (04/02)
<< Previous Column
BP Unfiltered: Chris D... (04/03)
Next Column >>
BP Unfiltered: About t... (04/03)
Next Article >>
The Lineup Card: 10 Mi... (04/03)

April 3, 2013

BP Unfiltered

An Interesting Fact Yu Darvish Reminded Me About Last Night

by Sam Miller

This winter, I wrote a long piece about Philip Humber and perfect games for ESPN the Magazine. A lot of the piece was about the increase in perfect games in Major League Baseball. But is this trend specific to Major League Baseball or does it apply to baseball in general? As it turns out, perfect games have gone in the opposite direction in Japan.

1950s: 5
1960s: 5
1970s: 4
1980s: 0
1990s: 1
2000s: 1 

Furthermore, the one thrown in the 2000s was a joint perfect game, thrown in the Japan Series in 2007. I asked Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker if there's any reason for this trend.

It's easier to postulate an explanation for the relatively higher number of perfect games in the 1950's. It was a dead ball period, and there were more teams in the league, so the talent pool was spread a little more thinly. The quality of play in Japan was worse back then. NPB was a league that Leo Kiely could dominate on the mound and at the plate back then. I think this made the outliers stand out more. 

No-hitters are also less common in Japan. There were three in 2012, but those were the first since 2006. It seems like we see at least one most years in MLB.

Patrick pointed to a near perfect game in May 2012. "Toshiya Sugiuchi came agonizingly close to one in 2012, but he walked the 27th batter he faced, on a two-strike count. He still got a no-hitter though."

Sugiuchi's feat/non-feat was portrayed in the Japanese press as an act of selflessness:

Yomiuri Giants hurler Toshiya Sugiuchi is the kind of guy who doesn’t readily toss a potential gopher ball over the middle of the plate, even if a perfect game is at stake.
For him, there’s something more important a pitcher should look for instead of chasing an individual accomplishment.
So when he made the count 3-2 against Tohoku Rakuten pinch hitter Toshiya Nakashima with two outs in the ninth at Tokyo Dome on Wednesday, he didn’t lose sight of his priority — a win.

“When I got 3-2 in the count, the first thing I thought was to not allow a hit, so I thought it was fine if it ended up a walk,” Sugiuchi said after tossing a no-hitter in Yomiuri’s 2-0 win over the Golden Eagles. “And it did end up (being) a walk.” 

Interestingly, Philip Humber threw a slider on 3-2 with two outs in the ninth of his perfect game, and said that part of his decision was based on the idea that, if he laid one in, he'd lose the perfect game and the no-hitter. If he walked the batter, he'd still have a no-hitter, and know that he tried to throw his best pitch. 

Sugiuchi finished the season 12-4 with a 2.04 ERA and, for the fifth year in a row, more than a strikeout per inning. His nickname is Mr. May.

Sam Miller is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Sam's other articles. You can contact Sam by clicking here

Related Content:  Yu Darvish,  Perfect Game

6 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: ... (04/02)
<< Previous Column
BP Unfiltered: Chris D... (04/03)
Next Column >>
BP Unfiltered: About t... (04/03)
Next Article >>
The Lineup Card: 10 Mi... (04/03)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Sustained Success and the...
Eyewitness Accounts: July 24, 2014
Premium Article Painting the Black: The Selling-the-Closer M...
Premium Article Going Yard: J.D. Martinez Gets A Degree In H...
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Tigers Bullpen Gets Le...
The Lineup Card: Seven Unsigned Top Draft Pi...
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Kendrys Redux

MORE FROM APRIL 3, 2013
Premium Article Pebble Hunting: The Future of Contract Exten...
Premium Article Prospects Will Break Your Heart: Backfields ...
Premium Article What You Need to Know: When Yu Hot, Yu Hot
The Prospectus Hit List: Wednesday, April 3
The Lineup Card: 10 Milestones to Look Forwa...
Daily Roundup: Around the League: April 3, 2...
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Preaching Patience With A...

MORE BY SAM MILLER
2013-04-04 - BP Unfiltered: Mike Trout Fast
2013-04-03 - Premium Article Pebble Hunting: The Future of Contract Exten...
2013-04-03 - BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 1...
2013-04-03 - BP Unfiltered: An Interesting Fact Yu Darvis...
2013-04-02 - BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 1...
2013-04-01 - Pebble Hunting: The Astros' Best-Case Scenar...
2013-04-01 - BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 1...
More...

MORE BP UNFILTERED
2013-04-04 - BP Unfiltered: Raising Aces: Da Pitching Cod...
2013-04-04 - BP Unfiltered: Mike Trout Fast
2013-04-03 - BP Unfiltered: About the Home Run Matt Holli...
2013-04-03 - BP Unfiltered: An Interesting Fact Yu Darvis...
2013-04-03 - BP Unfiltered: Chris Davis is Strong, Too
2013-04-02 - BP Unfiltered: Hot Prospect Video: Austin He...
2013-04-01 - BP Unfiltered: The Velocity Gainers and Lose...
More...