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The Pro Yakyu Report 1.28 - Does NPB Raise BA by 50 Points?

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Featuring Michael Westbay (a.k.a. westbaystars)

Michael Westbay has been blogging about Pro Yakyu since before the word "blog" entered the vernacular. Here he writes about Pro Yakyu in general, and the Yokohama BayStars in particular.


The Pro Yakyu Report 1.28 - Does NPB Raise BA by 50 Points?

3 replies. Most recent reply: Jul 8, 2013 9:12 PM by Guest

An Internet trollish person claims that moving from the MLB to NPB will raise one's batting average 50 points. Is that true? I explore the question with this year's new foreign imports.



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Sources
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Duty Calls (xkcd)

Eyewitness update on Nishi, now an All-Star (Star Tribune)

ESPN Player Profiles

The Baseball Cube

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Pocket Calendar
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July 8, 2013 - Japan Baseball Weekly Podcast featuring an interview with Rami-chan. Also planned is a discussion about the upcoming All Stars, "Top Performers" for June, and the home run race. [Japan Baseball Daily]
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Re: The Pro Yakyu Report 1.28 - Does NPB Raise BA by 50 Points?

[ Author: Guest: Azza | Posted: Jul 8, 2013 5:23 PM ]
Very good show!

I hate the ignorance people often have regarding baseball outside USA

I remember reading an article on Brad Eldred when he signed for Hiroshima, someone commented that he can't hit a breaking ball or off speed pitches in MLB so he is better off in Japan...

Now let me see, wouldn't it make it even worse for him in Japan where breaking balls and off speed pitches occur more readily and more often than not from pitchers with fantastic control?

We all know Japanese coaches are more hands on than MLB coaches and they will work endlessly on you if they see flaws, of course some coaches are better than others at doing this. Colby Lewis and Ryan Vogelsong for example left Japan better players and Vogelsong even became an All Star, Lewis learnt how to throw much better off speed pitches and was probably the Rangers' best post season pitcher.

Going back in history a bit, Cecil Fielder was a struggling player in America and after being in Japan he learnt to be more patient and managed to hit 51 homeruns on his return to MLB, if i am correct that is more than what he hit in NPB, so if we use some of the MLB fan logic, does that mean NPB is stronger than MLB?

Vogelsong's numbers weren't anything special in NPB and managed two great seasons for the Giants in MLB

Jim Allen said in one of the JBW podcast and he is not alone, but many players who come to Japan are better players than what the MLB organisations give them credit for and many actually improve by playing in Japan]

I do find that MLB organisations do discard players too quickly without giving them a real chance, a couple of pinch hits is not giving a player a real shot and even with a lot of pitchers, they go on the mound as a reliever, pitch well yet they still don't get recalled, there are lots of players who do quite well with limited chances but because they are merely injury replacement players or its late in the season where the team has nothing to really play for, the moment the stars return from injury its back to the minors they go

Westbay-san, the topic makes my blood boil as well on how misinformed people really can be, I can go on and on, but yeah, that will take forever so i better not

Re: The Pro Yakyu Report 1.28 - Does NPB Raise BA by 50 Points?

[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Jul 8, 2013 8:15 PM | Posts: 35252 | From: Yokohama, Japan | YBS Fan | Registered: Aug, 2001 ]
Thanks, Azza-san. You clearly got my point with the XKCD comic about "someone said something wrong on the Internet." The duty of correcting all such occurrences will take a lifetime.

One caution, though. I don't necessarily think that many Japanese coaches are much better than their North American counterparts. And there are great coaches on both sides.

I think that perhaps I should have emphasized that all exchanges going either way should be handled on a player by player basis. Each individual adjust differently. Some better than others. Some quicker than others. So there is no broad generalizations to describe players going either way.

Most of the players in the list did improve in Japan. But one had to look at the reasons behind many of those increases. Andruw Jones had the worst year of his career in 2012. Anything would be an improvement. If I'd have done the study a month earlier, Nyjer Morgan would have been a net loss instead of an improvement.

It was just the belittling attitude of the post that bothered me. Now that I've had my rant, I'm at peace with the world again.

Re: The Pro Yakyu Report 1.28 - Does NPB Raise BA by 50 Points?

[ Author: Guest: Azza | Posted: Jul 8, 2013 9:12 PM ]
For sure, there are good coaches on either side of the Pacific and there are some pretty pathetic ones on either side, as i said, some are better than others

I do believe there are a good number of NPB players who are "MLB-calibre" players, you just need to have the right player at the right place at the right time. Even some superstars in MLB IMHO would have trouble adjusting to NPB

On the field they have to contend with more breaking balls and off-speed pitches if you are a position player. No doubt the humidity levels can play a factor too if you are from certain areas of USA, it could be an adjustment in itself with the climatic differences. As a Gaijin, you also have to pressure to succeed, you are being paid more than a lot of players on the team afterall.

As a pitcher, one has to deal with the different styles of batting, yes there are less power hitters, but there are many fantastic contact hitters, on the field itself there are countless adjustments one has to make

Then you have off the field ones like cultural differences and all that goes with it, so even if you are a superstar in MLB, the homesickness factor can play a big part in your mental well being

I remember reading blogs and articles and people tend to cite homesickness in Gaijin in NPB, its a fair point and i am not disputing it at all, but at the same time, a lot of writers don't seem to think Japanese players can get homesick in MLB

I do completely agree with you that we need to look at each player case by case, I have definitely seen some very good Gaijin players and some pretty horrible ones

Makes me wonder... which team tends to have the best success with Gaijin players, i know success can be very subjective though
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