The Kei Igawa comparison

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

About Brien Jackson

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

31 thoughts on “The Kei Igawa comparison

  1. Why not stay away from CJ, because of AJ? They both then to throw wild pitches at inopportune moments…

    I suppose we'd have to extend that to never signing another RH fastball pitcher; what was Pavano's ethnicity? If it turns out that there is a pattern there, I'd be for not hiring anyone like that either…

    You're right – funny how an entire race and country can be eliminated from consideration just by Igawa, Daisuke, and the Big Fat P Toad. I'm pretty sure the Yankees (and other teams) have had a lot of American-born, lily-white Caucasian flops too.

  2. It's not a question of nationality, It's a question of where they started their career. Baseball over in japan is 10 time different than it is in the states. The Baseball is different, so is the strikezone, the mound, the type of hitters they face, the nonexistent pressure, Etc…….

  3. The non-existent pressure? They don't have a pennant race and a championship in Japan? It's not the same level of pressure, but every league down to Little League has pressure.

  4. i think what everyone (media, blogs, etc) hasn't really touched on is that most Japanese players come over here after they serve 9 years in a Japan league. That's why most of these players are over here in their late 20s or early 30s. It typically takes a touted American prospect a few years to get acclamated, but we expect these guys who pitch in a different system to adjust in one year. But Darvish is 25 yos, and whoever signs him would get a year or two of adjusting, but he'd be in his prime age years when he finally figured out MLB pitching.

  5. I think even the Kei Igawa comparison is unfair. Igawa got buried by the Yankees despite some decent numbers in the minors the past few years.

  6. It's about the money…..They might as well have light $40 million on fire instead of signing Igawa. I think that's why it make the front office reluctant to enter a bidding process for a somewhat unproven pitcher.

  7. The Yankees have to learn from their mistakes. They signed both Irabu and Igawa and neither one lived up to expectations. In the case of Igawa, he wasn't remotely qualified to pitch at the major league level. It's simply too big a risk to pay big money and transfer fees for a guy who has never pitched in the majors here in the USA.

  8. I wouldn't take the front office's public statements or even the ones they leak to the press too seriously. What do you expect them to do – announce that they think Darvish is Bob Gibson, Nolan Ryan and Walter Johnson wrapped into one? If you were bidding on a house would you want to gush over it in front of the owners or indicate some interest with reservations?

    I have little doubt that the Yankees will post a bid for Darvish. They're just trying to keep the price down, which they will probably be unsuccessful in doing.

    I'm generally skeptical about Japanese players since the overall quality of play in their league is not MLB caliber but at the same time there are MLB caliber players in that league and scouts should be able to spot them. Irabu was a Steinbrenner-driven boondoggle based on little more than hype. I would have avoided the guy like the plague after he insisted he would only play for the Yankees. Igawa was a silly overreaction to missing out (thankfully it turns out) on Matsuzaka. Neither of those failures precludes good scouts from fairly evaluating Darvish.

    I'm neutral on the Yankees getting involved in the Darvish posting. The money is an issue but Big Stein Jr and his brother have plenty of that. What they don't have are the draft slots to get the Steven Strasburgs of the world. If they had been able to induce Gerrit Cole to sign a couple of years ago they probably wouldn't be interested. Then again, there's little difference between throwing big $$$ at a high school prospect and throwing it at a guy like Darvish. In fact, since Darvish is dominating at what is essentially a AAA level, he might be the better bet.

  9. Why not just give the mariners all the money that would have been spent on Darvish? In return ask for Hernandez. Also give them AJ. Problem solved!

  10. SG over at RLYW did a number of posts on this and some extensive, quality analysis. It's a must read for those interested in Yu. One post was that looking at 11 Japanese pitchers, and comparing their Japanese numbers to their MLB numbers. Basically, we saw a 60% jump in ERA. So a 2.50 ERA pitcher in japan translated to a 4.00 ERA guy over here.

    It's not an exact science, but you have to look at History.

    I think if Yu can be had at a cost of a #3, he's worth looking at. But it just seems almost impossible to find an Ace out of Japan, and very few have even been a #2.

    There are many differences between Japanese Baseball and MLB, but the 2 that stand out to me are:
    1) Our hitters are just FAR more powerful. Lots of Japanese Warning track outs are MLB HRs.
    2) Japanese batters (think of Ichiro) don't like to take a BB. They put more emphysis on BA as opposed on OBP. So they are free swingers, and pitchers get away with a lot of slop out of the zone, that is swung at. Think Dice-K. He just couldn't get MLB players to chase his stuff.

    I'm curious about Yu, but I can understand the Yankee's reluctance.

  11. You guys have all missed the biggest point, going from Japanese culture to American culture. The impact of that cannot be understated and not talked about enough at all. All everyone takes about is the difference of Japanese baseball league and MLB, but never about the personal difficulties faced by these players coming over.

  12. Why do the Korean and Japanese teams do well in the World Cup and Olympics? The hitters are all slap/situational hitters (and you should all remember how great Hideki Matsui was as a situational hitter). But it seems that all the pitchers that all Japanese pitchers that come here are crazy wind-up pitchers like Hideo Nomo and Disuke. They do good for half a season till teams get enough film to figure out the wind-up (look at Hideo Nomo's pre and post All-Star game splits in his first season…it's a lot less impressive overall). Remember they hype about Disuke having like 8 different pitches when he came here? Are any of the 8 worth a damn? An American example would be Dontrelle Willis (crazy wind-up, passable speed and ok control). How good is he 10 years down the pipe?

  13. The Japanese league is a step above AAA and a step below the bigs, essentially a AAAA. Scouts love his easy arm action, location, and variety of pitches. He is also a horse. If he had been putting up these numbers in a AAA system, he would be the best pitching prospect in baseball. Doesn't this represent the kind of high reward talent we always wish the Yankees go after in the draft? Doesn't cost a pick, young, has strikeout stuff, there is really not much to dislike. No one worries about a trade for Felix with the crazy amount of innings on his arm. The posting fee doesn't go against the luxury tax either.

    Why not stick him in the 5th spot and have him skipped occasionally when he initially comes over to ease the transition? Thats how most prospects are broken into the game.