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.

    • Y'know, thinking about it, a rotation of CC, CJ and AJ would have a certain ring to it …

      CC, CJ, AJ and Wu, coming to a ballpark near you. It's almost like music.

  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…….

    • Like I said, those are issues, but boiling the entire question down to that makes no sense. There's a wide range of success for Japanese pitchers, the idea that they're all flops who can't make it is a lazy short-hand of the logistical issues.

      • I understand your point and thats why I don't want CJ Wilson. I feel like he is going to be Burnett 2.0. But after the huge dissapointments like matsuzaka, igawa, and Irabu teams are going to be hesitant on spending the big bucks on these big time Japanese players. Not to mention you're pretty much shelling out close to 9 figures for a prospect. I personally am on the "Sign Yu Darvish" bandwaggon, but you are taking alot of financial risk among other risks for signing this kid. Only time will tell

        • If I were Cashman and I signed him I would put him in the minors first and see what he can do an let him work himself up to the majors. Just to get used to it over here. My 2012 rotation would look like this if we don't sign darvish; Sabathia, Nova, Hughes, Noesi, Betances. Put burnett as a long relief guy and at the halfway point bring up Banuelos to replace betances for the rest/majority of the season. We need to let the younger guys get a taste of the show before they're apart of the full time rotation.

  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.

    • He got buried because he didn't have major league stuff or command and displayed no hint of an ability to regularly get major league hitters out when he was given a chance. "Decent numbers" in the minors don't cut it. You're also ignoring the fact that he rejected a trade to the Padres as well as the opportunity to return to Japan when the Yankees worked out deals with teams in that league.

  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.

    • Whereas, they can always through a boatload of money at a proven pitcher like Brown or Pavano, and have it work out splendidly? Randy Johnson? A.J. Burnett? That guy we got from the Mets who didn't throw a pitch all season?

      We're about to enter a bidding war for an aging, overweight, but PROVEN pitcher. If the world doesn't end tonite, get back to us in 4 years and let us know how well THAT is working out.

      Unless the pitcher in question came up thru the team's own farm system, teams will ALWAYS be lighting money on fire when it comes to hiring pitchers. Especially "proven" ones.

  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.

    • There have not been enough Japanese pitchers who have come over to MLB to make a determination at this time. If the Yankees followed your logic, they would never sign another free agent pitcher because of the mistakes of AJ Burnett, Pavano, Vasquez et al. It is the scouts and player eval personnel job to determine if a pitcher can make the transition. I personally feel that CJ Wilson represents a significantly higher risk than Darvish.

      • You're missing my point. Burnett, Pavano and Vasquez all had a record of success pitching at the major league level in this country. It's true though that the Yankees track record of signing free agent pitchers is pretty bad. They just need a bridge to the next stage where their young guys can hopefully make the transition to the bigs. I agree that signing WIlson would be a big risk. He hasn't looked good in the postseason.

        • I agree that it's a risk to spend tens of millions of dollars on a player that hasn't played an MLB game, but the Japanese leagues are at least AAA if not AAAA. If I had too guess Darvish would cost about the same as Wilson. Considering no luxury tax on the posting fee, no loss of a draft pick and he's younger, Darvish seems the less risky alternative.

          I too am pretty psyched about are young guys but I don't think they are ready for primetime yet. Assuming CC stays/is resigned, we still have a boatload of question marks in the rotation in Nova, Burnett and Hughes.

  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.

    • Yu is Persian/Japanese, So I would say he has faced adversity in Japan. His parents attended school in the states so he may be used to the culture over here. The thing I am worried about is the differences between the leagues. Jap stadiums are smaller, the baseball is smaller and wound more tightly, and the Strike zone is smaller as well. Not to mention that the pitchers pitch once every week instead of every five days and they travel differently. I don't think they travel on the day of the games or something like that

      • That's pretty ignorant thinking he would do just fine coming over from a different culture…. Just because his parents met in the states does not mean a thing for a person that spent his entire life in a foreign country with drastically different cultures.

        Blah blah blah we all know about the difference in leagues and how it could translate to less stellar stats, your post is another point that people do not recognize the significance of what going to a completely foreign culture means personally.

        • Ignorant? You do know his father is Iranian and his mother is Japanese right? So I would say that would be a pretty big culture shock right there genius. Im sure he has faced alot of diversity being a mixed child in a country like Japan. You don't think his parents taught him about our culture or even had it rubbed off on them seeing how they were here for at least four years. People can easily change how they act or how a culture effects them if they are in one place long enough. You can see some standards infused in them from a culture that they once lived in. My dad is from the Bronx and we now live down in Georgia, and I see some tendencies of a southerner and some of a New Yorker as well. When I go up to New York I fit in just fine and I also fit in just fine down in the south.

  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.