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Sponichi: Yu Darvish (HAM) and Munenori Kawasaki (SOF)

by on Jun.25, 2011 @ 2:06 pm, under MLB, NPB

A couple of Sponichi articles on Yu Darvish and Munenori Kawasaki:

The first, on Darvish and posting:

When Nippon Ham GM Masao Yamada was asked about what the team's plans were with regards to Yu Darvish and posting, Yamada said, "Players have to come to us and ask to be posted.  It isn't our job to walk up to players and ask them what they plan on doing."

It seems the Fighters, in general, do not approve of posting players.  However, they will make exceptions depending on the situation (taking into account both the team and player asking to be posted).  If Darvish were to ask after the season this year, the Fighters will most likely listen.

The second, on Darvish and scouts:

Mentions that while all 30 MLB clubs consider Darvish to be a better pitcher than Daisuke Matsuzaka, teams probably won't dish out as much on posting fees.  The article also notes that the timing of when Darvish gets posted will be important.

And the third, on Kawasaki:

Seattle Mariners scout Yasushi Yamamoto was on hand at last night's game to watch Kawasaki.  His comment on Kawasaki: "I think he's a better defender and runner than Tsuyoshi Nishioka and Hiroyuki Nakajima.  I think he'd find a role as an everyday player if he could bat at least .250 at the MLB level."

See also:

Sponichi: Texas Rangers’ Jon Daniels to check out Yu Darvish tonight

2 comments on “Sponichi: Yu Darvish (HAM) and Munenori Kawasaki (SOF)

  1. Chris

    I was reading an article over at NPBtracker that some scouts thought Darvish has less break on some of his pitches than he used too. Could this be the ball rather than him?

    1. Gen Post author

      I remember reading something similar at Sponichi a week or so ago.


      The ball probably does have something to do with it. And a little while back, Nikkan Sports mentioned Darvish complaining to umps about how slippery the ball was and how the NPB was now talking to Mizuno about changing the sand that’s used to take the sheen off new baseballs.


      Another thing to potentially consider is the work he did this off-season to add more weight/muscle. It’s possible he’s still adjusting to the changes in his body or maybe he inadvertently changed something in his mechanics. It’s hard to say because he may have changed something because of the new baseball as well.

      The other thing… I don’t remember reading any comments from non-MLB scouts mentioning less break. That doesn’t mean it isn’t true. But to me, it seems like a lot more fuss would have been made in the Japanese media if there really was something wrong with Darvish’s pitches. Then again, he’s having a pretty good season, so maybe no one thinks it’s a big deal. Or maybe Darvish just had a bad game (the game the scouts were at happens to be the same game in which Darvish complained to umps about how slippery the ball was).

      The fact that he has 106 strikeouts in 92 innings tells me that he’s doing something right. And while his K/9 could drop before the end of the year, it currently stands at 10.37. That’s better than the current career high 9.89 he set in 2010.

      Incidentally, his current career high for BB/9 is 1.97 (2008). Right now, his BB/9 is at 0.98. That tells me he has pretty good control over his pitches, which could mean there’s less overall movement going on with his pitches. But that isn’t necessarily turning into a higher hit rate either, which means his pitches probably aren’t flattening out so much that batters are having an easy go at reading his pitches.

      BTW: I haven’t seen Darvish pitch enough this year to make any judgements myself, but if you look at this highlight reel, you can see he has some pretty nasty movement on his pitches (this is from a game on 6/8, the one before the start in which he complained about the ball slipping):


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