Our first look inside the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
This is Part 1 of a multi-part series on the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement
On November 22 of last year, Major League Baseball and the MLBPA did something that the NFL and the NBA could not: reached a new labor agreement without a work stoppage. For those that follow baseball’s labor history, it has become a miraculous run. By the time the current five-year Basic Agreement (read here) expires on December 1, 2016, it will have been 21 years of uninterrupted labor peace.
The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.
Not a subscriber?
Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.
After starring for opposing teams in the Japan Series, Wei-Yin Chen and Tsuyoshi Wada will try to adjust to life in Baltimore and last place, as the Orioles react to the new CBA by plugging their pitching holes with Asian imports.
On November 12th, 2011, as Major League Baseball recovers from one of the most exciting World Series in recent memory, Nippon Professional Baseball begins its own best-of-seven championship: the Japan Series.
Much like MLB, Japanese professional baseball has two leagues—the Central and the Pacific—and much like MLB, the champions of those respective leagues play each other to determine a final champion for the entire season. As NPB has only 12 teams compared to to MLB's 30, however, the playoffs are structured a bit differently; with only six teams per league, NPB does not bother with divisions or Wild Cards—the best three teams in each league make the playoffs, with the league's top seed getting a first-round bye. The second and third seeds play a best-of-three series, and the winner faces the first seed in a best-of-five “Climax Series” that's roughly analogous to MLB's League Championship Series. The winning club from each league's Climax Series is that league's champion and advances to the best-of-seven Japan Series to determine which is the best club in NPB. The Climax Series format was implemented first by the Pacific League in 2004 and then adopted by the Central League three years later. Previously, there had been no real postseason in NPB: the team with the best season record from the Central would play the team with the best season record from the Pacific in the Japan Series, and that was that.
How can Orioles fans expect the newly-signed Wei-Yin Chen to perform in the majors?
Wei-Yin Chen | Baltimore Orioles | SP | Signed as International Free Agent The Orioles have displayed a huge fascination with Asian pitchers this offseason. They inked Tsuyoshi Wada to a major-league deal last month, EunChulChoi to a minor-league deal earlier this month, dabbled in the HisashiIwakuma sweepstakes, and nearly signed Korean pitcher Chong Tae-Hyon before he decided to stay in Korea at the last minute. This week, the O’s signed pitcher Wei-Yin Chen.
The Numbers Chen is a 26-year-old Taiwanese-born pitcher who has pitched in Nippon Pro Baseball for the past several seasons and holds some nice upside, but not without comparable risk. Chen’s numbers fell off this season, even after accounting for the new ball that Nippon Pro Baseball put into effect. Chen’s Central League, as a whole, saw an ERA drop of 20 percent (slightly less than Yu Darvish’s Japanese League), due in large part to a huge home-run drop (just like we saw in the JL):
Players coming to MLB from Japan get plenty of press, but what about the talent heading in the other direction?
Over the past few years, the Hot Stove has produced many stories about imported talent from the Japanese Nippon Professional Baseball league. From the truly foreign commodities such as Daisuke Matsuzaka and Kosuke Fukudome, to the domestic transplants like Dan Johnson and Colby Lewis, these imports, despite their wide-ranging levels of success, usually get significant buzz.
A look at Oswaldo Arcia and other low-level minor-leaguers to watch.
Most minor-league attention is paid to guys at the highest levels— someone who might come up even before September, such as a Domonic Brown or a Buster Posey. The minor leagues are (obviously) multi-tiered. Here's a look at 10 guys at the lowest levels who could eventually blossom into the next Brown or Posey— in two years or so.
Checking out the latest version of the option-laden must-have simulator.
Out of the Park Baseball has long been known as the baseball simulator, as it offers more options and depth than any other game on the market. The latest edition, OOTP 11, adds to that tradition by giving you more features and options than you will probably ever use, but that also guarantees that almost everyone will find something to love about it.
Let's get this out of the way now though: if you're looking for a baseball game where the games are the focus, then OOTP is not for you. It does have a play-by-play feature where you "watch" the games, but this is essentially like watching MLB.com's Gameday. It's not exactly a thrilling way to spend a few hours, especially when you can create dynasties and franchises that last for years. If, however, your goal is to act more as a general manager, and control a team on a day-to-day level in that capacity, then this is the title for you.