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Articles Tagged Kazuhiro Sasaki 

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August 4, 2011 12:17 am

The Asian Equation: Finding Relief from NPB

1

Michael Street

In his fifth Asian Equation column, Michael looks at the relievers who have enjoyed modest success--and failure--making the move from Japan to America.

The last group in my analysis of the player’s who have migrated to MLB from Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) are the relievers, the least appreciated members of a successful baseball team. Yet, of all NPB imports, they have been the most numerous (explaining the length of this article, for which I apologize in advance) and the cheapest. Diminished quality is the most obvious reason for these extremes, since starters who don’t meet MLB standards get shifted to the bullpen, and lesser talents also keep salaries down. Additionally, the typical NPB pitcher’s arsenal matches well with an MLB reliever’s skillset.

As I discussed in my last Asian Equation article, NPB is a breaking ball league, which translates better to relief than starting. A good breaking ball might fool major league hitters the first or second time they see it in a game, but it probably won’t the third or fourth time. As an illustration, here’s how batter OPS rises against two of the biggest NPB starting-pitcher busts as compared with three current MLB pitchers: the best, the most mediocre, and an old junkballer. While MLB batters’ performance improves against each pitcher the more times they see him in a game, the change is far more dramatic with Matsuzaka and Kawakami.

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November 11, 2004 12:00 am

Lies, Damned Lies: Superstars, All-Stars and Busts

0

Nate Silver

Jason Bay and Bobby Crosby have received a considerable honor from the Baseball Writers Association of America. What happened to the 116 players who came before them?

Nevertheless, the two candidates were fairly close. Bay missed more playing time than Greene did, which accounted for some of the difference in VORP. He probably has more star potential than Greene does, though we'll see what PECOTA has to say in a month or two; slow middle infielders like Greene tend not to age very well. The writers have certainly made bigger mistakes, and at the very least, it's hard to chalk this particular one up to some sort of newsprint-fueled hubris; Internet Baseball Awards participants also preferred Bay by a small margin.

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February 12, 2004 12:00 am

Prospectus Today: Tilt

0

Joe Sheehan

Most of the excitement in Philadelphia has to do with an improved bullpen, recent versions of which have been the perceived bane of the city's existence. So out with Jose Mesa, in with Billy Wagner. Given how much of the blame for the Phillies' disappointing performances the last two seasons has been placed at the foot of the relief staff, it's easy to understand why fans, media, and the team itself is so eager to have the hard-throwing lefty closing games. I actually agreed that the move would help the Phillies, although not exactly for the reasons generally given. Closers are overrated as a class, and as great as Wagner is, using him solely to protect ninth-inning leads and the occasional ninth-inning tie is a suboptimal application of his talent. However, I also know that Larry Bowa is one of the most temperamental managers in the game, and I strongly believe that his emotional style has been a detriment to this team over the past two seasons.

While I've avoided saying so until now, the Phillies have to be considered the favorites in the National League East. It's not clear that any team is better than them, but this isn't the AL Central. There are basically five teams who look to be no worse than 75-87, and four who should be over .500. The Braves have fallen back to the pack, the Marlins should decline a little from last year's 91-71 performance, and the Mets could rise to .500 if their new acquisitions, Kazuo Matsui and Mike Cameron, meet expectations. Even the Expos have a chance to stay in the Wild Card chase, thanks to a balanced offense and Frank Robinson's demonstrated ability to get a lot from no-name bullpens.

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January 16, 2004 12:00 am

Transaction Analysis: The Wests

0

Baseball Prospectus

The Angels go on a spending spree. The Dodgers frustrate their fans. The A's wheel and deal. The Padres are bullish about 2004. Our tour of major league transactions continues with a visit out West.

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August 7, 2003 12:00 am

Under The Knife: Coming Down the Stretch

0

Will Carroll

Thanks for letting me take a day off; I needed it. I recharged my batteries by heading out to the ballpark with my dad, who's in town for the week. It was a pretty bad game (17-1 loss for the home team), but a good time. As we head down the stretch with about 50 games left for teams, I'll begin focusing more on the injuries that are affecting the divisional races. I won't ignore the rest of baseball, but my focus will change slightly. Especially when rosters expand, it's harder to track down information--the DL is used less frequently and teams begin to more actively hide injuries. It takes more time digging, calling, and analyzing, so the volume has to come down to make sure that I get you the information you need.

  • Sadly, the image I got when I first saw Michael Tucker fouling the ball off his leg was correct. Tucker's leg is fractured, confirmed by x-rays that were finally able to be taken after some of the swelling came down. Tucker is listed as out for six-to-eight weeks, but unless the Royals go deep into the playoffs, Tucker is probably done. Replacing him on the roster is a familiar face. With a clean MRI in his file, Kevin Appier proved you can go home again, but you might not have the same stuff when you get back. Appier has been mediocre at best, but will slot into the Royals rotation on Friday. One indication of how serious the injury to Mike Sweeney might be is their interest in Rafael Palmeiro. The Royals have long had interest in Juan Gonzalez, but one of my best Rangers sources reports that the interest may have shifted to Palmeiro. Palmeiro has cleared waivers, but continues to wield a no-trade clause.
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    March 20, 2003 12:00 am

    Under The Knife: Cardinal Chaos and Sasaki's Stubborn Stunt

    0

    Will Carroll

    Sheldon Ocker shares tidbits on the Indians' third base job and spars with Will Carroll over pitch counts, St. Louis may soon need Dane Iorg to plug its outfield holes, Kaz Sasaki enjoys self-flagellation, and Will reminds Kevin Brown supporters not to get their hopes up.

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    Getting accurate injury information is about as easy as getting good seafood in Indianapolis, so adding in language barriers, time zone calculations, and trying to figure out the vagaries of international calling on my cell phone makes things especially challenging. So went the quest to find out the status of Mariners reliever Kazuhiro Sasaki.

    Getting accurate injury information is about as easy as getting good seafood in Indianapolis, so adding in language barriers, time zone calculations, and trying to figure out the vagaries of international calling on my cell phone makes things especially challenging. So went the quest to find out the status of Mariners reliever Kazuhiro Sasaki.

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    February 21, 2002 12:00 am

    Japanese Baseball, Pt. 2

    0

    Clay Davenport

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    The Internet has spoken. Your choices for this year's Internet Baseball Awards.

    It's time to announce the winners of the tenth annual Internet Baseball Awards. More than 2,000 cyberspace baseball fans--a new record--participated in this effort to select the baseball players whose 2001 seasons were most deserving of honors.

    This year marks not only our tenth year of balloting (we started in 1991, but sat out the 1994 season in protest of baseball's rude behavior), but also our fifth year of Web balloting. A few of our readers probably remember the good old days of e-mail ballots (as we remember all the fun it was counting ballots by hand), but most of you have been treated only to the extraordinarily comprehensive user-friendly Web ballots designed by BP's Webmaster, Dave Pease. Our thanks go to Dave, who puts in a ton of work to make this process go smoothly.

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    Thigpen's season screams "fluke." Outside of 1990, he never saved more than 34 games in one season. That was the only full season in which he had an ERA under 2.00 or impressive peripheral numbers, and he declined rapidly from that peak, fading out of baseball early in 1994.

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    The internet has decided this year's IBA Players of the Year.

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    American League

    Perhaps not everyone considers him a rookie, but 32-year-old Kazuhiro Sasaki convinced enough voters to win the 2000 IBA Rookie of the Year award in the American League.

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