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April 8, 2013 5:35 am

The Asian Equation: What's at Stake?

3

Michael Street

A look at what five Asian imports have to prove this season.

Even though Japanese players first came to the major leagues almost 50 years ago (and attempts to sign them to an MLB team date back nearly 80 years), the Asian import market is still fairly new. Aside from Hideo Nomo’s dominant debut in 1995 and Ichiro Suzuki’s spectacular arrival in 2001, only a handful of Asian imports have consistently succeeded in MLB, mostly relievers, along with a few starting pitchers and position players.

That gives each new Eastern import something to prove, whether it’s the value of a different Asian league, a new way to reach MLB, or just that he’s the next Asian star. Today, I’ll look at what five prominent Asian imports have to prove—and whether they can prove it.

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The World Baseball Classic has brought unprecedented popularity and attendance figures to Korean baseball.

Believe it or not, most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.

Daniel Kim is a baseball columnist for Daum Media and a lifelong New York Mets fan. He has served in various roles for major-league organizations, including the Mets and Cincinnati Reds. He’s currently based in Seoul.
 


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Kevin and Jason return with special guest Keith Law of ESPN and our second listener of the week (he's in Korea!).

It's the big 4-0 as Jason joins us the his spring training home of Arizona. After tons of emails (including the best one ever), we talk about the recently published Top 101 Prospect List, and then I'm joined by Keith Law of ESPN to talk about how one goes about making a prospect list, while also discussing some players we differ on. Then it's our second ever listener of the week as Aaron Tassano joins us to explain how he ended up scouting baseball players in Korea for the Chicago Cubs. Then it's the good stuff with plenty of tales about house hunting and plumbing problems. As always, we hope you enjoy.

Note: We do alert you to the presence of the occasional adult language. Don't say we didn't warn you.

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March 4, 2009 1:02 pm

Champions of the World

6

Clay Davenport

A look at the teams in the tourney, and a top-to-bottom appraisal of their chances for success.

Three years have passed since Japan and Korea stole the thunder of the first World Baseball Classic; Korea went undefeated until they were beaten by Japan in the semi-finals, while Japan escaped three losses to beat Cuba in the final. This year's tourney features the same 16 teams that played in 2006, again grouped into four pools of four teams each. Unlike in 2006, though, teams will not play a round-robin tournament, but will instead play in a double-elimination format, with the top two teams from each group advancing. That will create two more four-team groups, who will again play a double-elimination tournament with the top two teams advancing from each group. The final four will then play single-elimination games to decide the winner.

The overwhelming majority of players in the WBC either do now, or have, played in the US major or minor leagues, for whom we have extensive, reliable data that describe their contributions pretty effectively. We also have good data for the leagues in Cuba, Japan, and Korea, so the players from those countries and leagues aren't entirely mysterious to us. That still leaves four teams-China, Taiwan, South Africa, and the Netherlands-with a significant number of players who have not played in a "top" league. Not surprisingly, they rate as the four weakest teams in the tournament, and were a combined 2-10 in the 2006 tourney.

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February 25, 2009 1:25 pm

Prospectus Today: The World Baseball Classic

15

Joe Sheehan

A quick review of the pools and the likely outcomes, as well as the outstanding issues that attend the international event.

The first pitch of the World Baseball Classic is a week away. Rosters were announced Tuesday afternoon, making the whole thing a bit more real. We can now take a look at the players who will be on the field playing for their countries in March and get a sense of which teams are emerging as the favorites.

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March 14, 2006 12:00 am

World Baseball Classic

0

Will Carroll

Will checks in with some thoughts from the World Baseball Classic.

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February 28, 2006 12:00 am

The World Baseball Classic

0

Clay Davenport

The World Baseball Classic is coming up, and Clay has some new Davenport Translation numbers to help handicap the field.

If you have been in a box all winter, the WBC (and, just for the record, sharing acronyms with organizations that govern boxing cannot be considered a good thing) is a 16-team tournament that will be played like a baseball version of the World Cup. Players will compete for their "home" country, with some latitude for determining just what their "home" is--although people familiar with soccer's World Cup, or even the Olympics, are already familiar with how national ties can be established. The Italian and Dutch teams, in particular, stand to benefit from having American-born and raised players of the appropriate ancestry to supplement their teams.

Provisional rosters for all teams were released last month; final rosters won't be needed until the teams are actually ready to play. We have good, reliable statistics for the past few years for the vast majority of the players in this tournament; the need to obtain them for this tournament has kicked me into researching some of the others. I think we are now in a position to make a reliable estimate of the relative strengths of each team.

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September 21, 2000 12:00 am

Olympic Prospectus

0

Derek Zumsteg

Olympic Prospectus series

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August 31, 2000 12:00 am

Olympic Prospectus

0

Derek Zumsteg

One of the things that I heard the Olympic Committee really wanted to get was "foot speed". I read that over and over, and it made me think that maybe they were going to go out of their way to get former major leaguers, like Vince Coleman, so they could steal some bases.

They didn't. I'm happy about that. The big speed threat is Brent Abernathy, who was 21-for-36 in steal attempts when I pulled his stats on selection day. Foot speed, apparently, has run out.

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