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Eminor3rd

NPB/KBO/Asian Imports Thread

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Looks like Kohei Arihara's posting is pretty much certain: https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2020/11/nippon-ham-fighters-to-post-kohei-arihara.html

I don't see him as a difference maker, personally. The stuff is solid, but pretty average as far as MLB starters go, and the control/command comes and goes frequently. When he's locating, the slider and splitter are deadly, but you could say that about pretty much anybody. He's famous because he was a highly heralded prospect who finally "put it all together" in 2019, but really he just had a fantastic first half and fell off hard in the second. It's the longest stretch that he's pitched really well in his career, and he looked like pretty much the same old streaky guy this year. He's one of those guys who will often look unhittable for the first half of an outing and then just meltdown in like the 5th. I can't see him as more than a back-end guy in MLB.

Anyway, figured we could put these all in the same thread since teams tend to have philosophies/strategies for dealing with NPB imports, so a lot of the team rumors on these guys will probably look similar.

Expecting to find out if OF Haruki Nishikawa and SP Tomoyuki Sugano will be posted soon, especially if the Hawks continue to clobber the Giants and end the Japan Series in a couple days.

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Patrick Newman is legit, looks like Tomoyuki Sugano is going to be posted for sure: 

Sugano is arguably the best pitcher in Japan, and is certainly the most polished. He sits low 90's but can touch the mid-90's when he needs to. Like Darvish, he has a lot of different breaking pitches that are variations on sliders/sinkers. He's got elite control -- he gets lot of strikeouts by tunneling his various pitches and making the hitters guess which way they'll break. He's extremely competitive, carries a lot of swag and he's earned it. The raw stuff is a tick below where Tanaka was when he came, but the control is better and the arsenal is wider. He's been the ace of Samurai Japan for a while now, and has performed well against international competition, including the relatively stacked 2017 Team USA squad.

The downsides: he's 31 years old, missed most of last year to injury, and has apparently been pitching with a partially torn UCL for many years. It hasn't been a performance problem for him, but you have to wonder if the TJ could come at any moment. 

I think this guy is a solid #3 in the MLB with less performance risk than the typical NPB import. Ohtani notwithstanding, he's the best to be posted since Tanaka.

 

Edited by Eminor3rd
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Looks like RP Hirokazu Sawamura is going to be available as a true free agent: https://www.sanspo.com/baseball/news/20201126/mar20112605000001-n1.html

To be honest, I haven't seen a lot of him -- it's much harder for me to watch CL games than PL games, so I don't get a read on RPs except during interleague play, and he spent his whole career with the Giants until they let him go for cash in a midseason deal to Lotte. He was considered an elite closer about 4 or 5 years back, but he's just been a MR guy since then, and he was basically waived. He did pitch well for Lotte, though.

I think he's a cheap flyer for someone, but I don't know enough about him to have an opinion on whether or not he'll be good.

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I wish we were still involved in the Japanese market. I hoped the successes of Shingo and Tadahito had opened that door a bit wider. Those guys had some great times at Sox players.

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2 minutes ago, South Sider said:

I wish we were still involved in the Japanese market. I hoped the successes of Shingo and Tadahito had opened that door a bit wider. Those guys had some great times at Sox players.

We made a very significant offer to Tanaka and tried to sign Ohtani despite the odds being stacked against us.  Will be interesting if they have any interested in any of these guys.

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FWIW, Sugano has made his money, and seems like the type to pick his destination based on either legacy or chance to win. He famously refused to sign when originally drafted because he only wanted to play for the Giants, sat out a year and re-entered the draft where the Giants got him.

Which, I guess means he's probably going to the Yankees lol.

BUT, I think it means that an exciting young contender like the White Sox could conceivably have a chance if he prioritizes multiple WS shots above all else -- and decides he doesn't want to go to the Yankees...

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9 minutes ago, Eminor3rd said:

FWIW, Sugano has made his money, and seems like the type to pick his destination based on either legacy or chance to win. He famously refused to sign when originally drafted because he only wanted to play for the Giants, sat out a year and re-entered the draft where the Giants got him.

Which, I guess means he's probably going to the Yankees lol.

BUT, I think it means that an exciting young contender like the White Sox could conceivably have a chance if he prioritizes multiple WS shots above all else -- and decides he doesn't want to go to the Yankees...

Where would you rank Sugano against the remaining free agent pitchers?  Obviously he’s behind Bauer, but is it possible he’s in the mix for the next best pitcher?

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34 minutes ago, Chicago White Sox said:

Where would you rank Sugano against the remaining free agent pitchers?  Obviously he’s behind Bauer, but is it possible he’s in the mix for the next best pitcher?

Morton would be next of course but he's signed. I think Tanaka and Paxton are both better if totally healthy, but they probably aren't healthy. Chris Archer looks broken by Pittsburgh, but he could rebound with another org. Kluber basically hasn't pitched in two years at this point, so it's hard to assume he's what he used to be.  So yeah, I think he's in the conversation for next best, but that's more about how weak the class is than it is about how good Sugano is.

http://www.espn.com/mlb/freeagents/_/type/available/position/sp

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28 minutes ago, SouthWallace said:

 

He becomes priority #1 if he brings this trophy with him.

rvgtmh8cye161.png

 

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2 hours ago, SouthWallace said:

 

Left handed hitting right fielder? Sign me up. 

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Could someone I guess maybe change the title to "NPB/KBO/Asian Imports Thread"?

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The Nippon-Ham Fighters have officially posted CF Haruki Nishikawa: https://hochi.news/articles/20201203-OHT1T50105.html

Good defender, fast runner, relatively highly-disciplined slash and run contact hitter. He's athletic and big enough that he'll run into a few homers, but it's pretty much "gap power." He's very popular in Hokkaido, and his nickname roughly translates to "Speed Star."

I think he's a 4th/5th OF type in the MLB. He's just 28, but he's clearly not as good a hitter as Shogo Akiyama, and Akiyama's bat hasn't translated all that well. He's faster and more athletic, though, so should be useful for someone.

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On 11/26/2020 at 2:43 PM, Chicago White Sox said:

Where would you rank Sugano against the remaining free agent pitchers?  Obviously he’s behind Bauer, but is it possible he’s in the mix for the next best pitcher?

Yeah, I'd say so. I think that the 3 Japanese pitchers (Sugano, Arihara and Tanaka) are on a clear 2nd tier above the rest of the FA options. 

Edited by Jack Parkman
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4 hours ago, Jack Parkman said:

Yeah, I'd say so. I think that the 3 Japanese pitchers (Sugano, Arihara and Tanaka) are on a clear 2nd tier above the rest of the FA options. 

I would just qualify that by saying that Arihara is clearly behind both Sugano and Tanaka.

For example, Arihara's stuff/command profile pretty similarly to Yusei Kikuchi (handedness being the biggest difference), but Kikuchi put two really good seasons together in a row before he got posted. Arihara hasn't been able to have even one full year of dominance, due to less consistency of command.

Edited by Eminor3rd

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10 minutes ago, Eminor3rd said:

I would just qualify that by saying that Arihara is clearly behind both Sugano and Tanaka.

For example, Arihara's stuff/command profile pretty similarly to Yusei Kikuchi (handedness being the biggest difference), but Kikuchi put two really good seasons together in a row before he got posted. Arihara hasn't been able to have even one full year of dominance, due to less consistency of command.

How would you compare Arihara to guys like Quintana and Odorizzi? 

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28 minutes ago, Jack Parkman said:

How would you compare Arihara to guys like Quintana and Odorizzi? 

Stuff is probably similar in quality to Odirizzi, I think he's probably got similar upside but with more risk. To be honesty, I haven't seen a lot of the Cubs version of Quintana, but assuming it's a declined version of the one I knew and loved, Arihara's stuff is a tick or two better, but without the control.

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I wonder how Paddy has viewed Asia pipeline.

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