Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A Little Reading

My first contribution to Baseball Prospectus went up today (subscription only). The piece is about baseball in Japan, the status it's afforded, and the importance of accounting for cultural factors in analyzing the style of play when compared to the Majors. It's more of a narrative piece to introduce my work there, but you may enjoy it. If you don't have a subscription, I highly recommend it. I don't say that because I now write for them, as I was a subscriber and a big fan long before this relationship ever began.

Also, I recently posted at Baseball Japan a background piece on Japan's next big hitter. No, not Kosuke Fukudome (MLB ETA: 2008). No, not Norichika Aoki (MLB ETA: unknown). This is a 17-year old phenom named Sho Nakata of Osaka Toin High School. He is a home run machine with size, power, and a rifle arm. He's in the rotation as a sometimes starter and features a 94 mph fastball, a curve, slider, and palm ball.

His favorite player is Daisuke Matsuzaka, but he toured the US a few years ago for the Continental Amateur Baseball Association's 15-Year Old World Series, winning the MVP, and announcing that he wanted to come back in a few years to pitch for the Yankees. With the posting of Matsuzaka, maybe he has his eyes set on the Red Sox now, but the Twins and Mets have scouted him, and he's on the MLB radar. Make no mistake, he's no pitcher, as good as he's been. He is a power hitting right fielder with a super high ceiling. One way or another he'll be a professional next season, either as a starter in the NPB or a farmhand in the US. Watch as this unfolds at Baseball Japan....