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Hisashi Iwakuma did something weird Wednesday night, but that's not the weirdest part of this.

On Wednesday, Hisashi Iwakuma got his first save in the majors. It doesn't really call for an analysis of his post-save celebration, because it was one of those bastard saves where the pitcher protects a (in this case) 12-run lead by pitching at least the final three innings. Iwakuma's win probability added: 0.02, as he allowed three runs.

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January 6, 2012 4:55 am

Transaction Analysis: See You in Seattle

6

R.J. Anderson

The Mariners go fishing across the pond for a couple of new Japanese imports.

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September 20, 2011 10:41 pm

The Asian Equation: The Future of the NPB Import Market

13

Michael Street

Michael ends his look at Japanese imports with some conclusions and a look at the future of the transpacific player market.

In the Asian Equation series, I’ve traced the history of the current posting system that imports players from NPB (Nippon Professional Baseball, the Japanese major leagues) and how the success of Ichiro Suzuki has affected it, from the position players who arrived in his wake to the pricey disappointments among starting pitchers and the marginally successful relievers. In this final column, I’ll take a look back to draw conclusions from this history and see what we can expect from the NPB market in the future. As with my previous columns, Patrick Newman’s advice and ideas were very helpful, as is his website, NPB Tracker.

The simplest, broadest conclusion concerns the players themselves, where we must draw an important distinction between talent and skills. As Craig Brown wrote in the comments section of his article on Tsuyoshi Nishioka, “. . . comparing two middle infielders just because they come from Japan is like comparing two middle infielders just because they come from Delaware.” Just because they’re from Japan doesn’t mean we can draw specific conclusions about individual ballplayers, their talents, or their ability to succeed in Major League Baseball. This goes double for Ichiro, whose skills are idiosyncratic on either side of the Pacific. Throwing money at Japanese players expecting them to be slap hitters with weird batting stances and an uncanny ability to find defensive holes is as foolish as thinking every Venezuelan shortstop will field (and endure) like Omar Vizquel. We can’t expect specific players to have certain inherent talents just because they were born in Japan.

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November 12, 2010 12:07 am

Analyze This: Hisashi Iwakuma

9

Jesse Behr

Taking a look at the Athletics new Japanese import

After being the highest bidder at nearly $17 million, the Athletics now have 30 days to negotiate a contract with Japanese right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma. This will be Billy Beane’s first attempt at signing a Japanese player through the posting process. Oakland, the team notoriously known for its Moneyball managerial style, has never dished out this kind of money on an international player. Does he deserve the dough? Here’s what the righty did while pitching in Japan:

Hisashi Iwakuma Age 29 Year Team G GS IP H ER HR BB K DERA W L H/9 BB/9 K/9 STF RAR 2001 Osaka Kintet 9 8 43.3 48 31 4 12 20 6.44 2 3 10.0 2.5 4.2 20 3 2002 Osaka Kintet 23 1 136.0 139 80 13 50 96 5.29 6 9 9.2 3.3 6.4 28 19 2003 Osaka Kintet 27 0 193.0 205 91 23 50 118 4.24 11 10 9.6 2.3 5.5 19 37 2004 Osaka Kintet 21 0 162.0 151 62 16 31 103 3.44 11 7 8.4 1.7 5.7 25 40 2005 Rakuten 27 27 186.7 205 127 23 48 100 6.12 7 14 9.9 2.3 4.8 0 15 2006 Rakuten 6 6 39.7 43 23 6 15 12 5.22 2 2 9.8 3.4 2.7 -16 2 2007 Rakuten 16 16 93.7 94 62 10 29 70 5.96 4 6 9.0 2.8 6.7 14 11 2008 Rakuten 28 28 206.3 161 65 6 45 129 2.84 16 7 7.0 2.0 5.6 42 63 2009 Rakuten 24 24 168.3 187 73 20 47 96 3.90 11 8 10.0 2.5 5.1 4 32 2010 Rakuten 28 0 206.7 191 84 17 42 119 3.66 14 9 8.3 1.8 5.2 22 49 Totals 20 10 140.8 139 68 13 36 84 4.38 8 7 8.9 2.3 5.4 19 26

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A brief scouting report on Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma from PITCHf/x data from the 2009 World Baseball Classic

According to Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker and Larry Stone of the Seattle Times, the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles will make their pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma available to American major league teams through the posting process this month.

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April 15, 2008 12:00 am

Nippon Prospectus

0

Mike Plugh

With some of the NPB's best young talent and some of its all-time greats, this is Japan's best baseball entertainment value.

A little late on the start to the season, this Pacific League preview reflects the circuit's intriguing storylines and a much more competitive race for its three playoff spots than the Central League will offer in 2008. Last season, I wrote about the Pacific:

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March 20, 2007 12:00 am

Live From Akita City

0

Mike Plugh

Mike takes the plunge with the six team Pacific League division, spotlighting outstanding talent across Japan.

In the peaceful light
Of the ever-shining sun
In the days of spring,
Why do the cherry's new-blown blooms
Scatter like restless thoughts?

-- Ki no Tomonori (9th century poet)





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