• Iggy: More Splat Than Pop?

    Posted by on January 25th, 2007 · Comments (19)

    Via What Japan Thinks:

    Last weekend goo Research, in conjunction with Yomiuri Weekly, released the results of a survey into what people thought the coming year may bring. For a week spanning the end of November and the start of December 11,648 members of goo’s online monitor group successfully completed a private internet-based questionnaire.

    Here’s the part of the survey that caught my eye:


    Considering how the Yankees need Igawa to do well this year, this is not great news – even if you have modest expectations on Igawa. Those responding to this survey have probably seen him pitch more than most fans here.

    One thing that I did notice seeing some clips of Igawa the other day – he’s got a funky way of finishing off his delivery. It’s almost as if he’s just about ready to finish his delivery, the way you would expect a pitcher would, and then he stops and sort of freezes like he just saw Medusa – leaving his left foot hanging in the air for a second or two – before landing to field his position. If that’s his normal delivery, I have no idea if it will help him or hurt him in the United States. It could distract the hitter and/or put him in a position to get smacked with a batted ball. Hopefully it will be more of the former than the latter.

    Comments on Iggy: More Splat Than Pop?

    1. baileywalk
      January 25th, 2007 | 1:32 pm

      You think Igawa is going to any worse than Wright? Igawa was a stud in Japan for a few years. His 2001-2003 numbers are Cy Young-winner-like. He obviously didn’t remain on THAT level, but even when he slacked off, he still threw a lot of innings and still struck people out. His ERA has gone up over these last few years, but just last year he shared the strikeout crown with someone (194 strikeouts in 209 IP).

      The fact that Igawa strikes out so many people with an average fastball tells me that his breaking and off-speed stuff must be wicked (if you watch the clips of him striking out the big leaguers, they take some awkward hacks). I think the scouting reports must simply be wrong that he doesn’t have a third pitch. His changeup is supposed to be very good. If he can keep throwing strikes here in America and keep batters off-balance with his change and something else, he should be just fine.

      I think the important thing about Igawa is that he’s a workhorse. The Yankees probably looked and saw that this team’s offense helped Wright win 11 games in ’06 while only throwing 140 innings. That’s kind of pitiful, to be honest.

      They probably look at a guy like Igawa and think he can throw 200 innings for them, have the offense help him win 15 games, and be a guy who can save the bullpen some stress every fifth day. I don’t think it’s unreasonable that Igawa will take away forty or fifty innings’ of work that Wright burdened the bullpen with. And probably with a better ERA and strikeout total.

    2. MJ
      January 25th, 2007 | 1:38 pm

      this is not great news

      You’re going to let the results of some unscientific poll — more like a popularity contest — affect you optimism/outlook? That Ichiro and Hideki Matsui finished #1 and #3 on the list should really have no bearing on how you see things going. After all, those two have already proven that they can be successful in the big leagues. And Matsuzaka finishing ahead of Igawa is to be totally expected, given the fanfare surrounding Dice-K.

      This survey doesn’t tell us much of anything that we didn’t already know.

    3. January 25th, 2007 | 2:10 pm


      I think you’re overstating it… the question was phrased in a way to make it pretty pointless.

      60% of the voters think that established stars Matsui, Ichiro and Johjima will be the most successful and “National hero” Matsuzaka got a hype-driven 35%.

      But after all that – its simply a push poll. A better way to phrase the question would have been a 1-5 agree-disagree scale:

      “I think these Japanese ballplayers will be successful in the U.S. Major Leagues, one agree strongly… five disagree strongly.”

      Then list the players – In that case, I think while Igawa probably doesn’t measure to the established guys or to Matsuzaka, he’d come out much closer to average, which is all I think most Yankee fans are expecting.

    4. January 25th, 2007 | 2:46 pm

      I too, agree, that the poll is basically a popularity contest thing. But, don’t guys get popular because they are very good players?

    5. rbj
      January 25th, 2007 | 2:49 pm

      If Iggy ends the season with a 13-10 record, era of 4.03, would that be successful or not? Also, as a back end of the rotation guy, he’s more likely to oppose other teams’ #4 or 5 starter, so he should get good run support, right?

    6. January 25th, 2007 | 3:17 pm

      Steve. Seriously.

      That poll asked, Who, among these popular Japanese players, will be the most successful. It didn’t ask, “Will everyone be successful?” So of course, they’ll pick the one guy.

      Your interpretation of this would be the equivalent of this example.

      Which Yankee is going to have the best season this year?

      A. Bobby Abreu 2.1%
      B. Alex Rodriguez 16.3%
      C. Derek Jeter 37.4%
      D. Mariano Rivera 35.8%
      E. Hideki Matsui 4.1%

      Now it’s a safe bet that everyone’s going to have a pretty damn good season on that list. But because you have to choose one who will be “the best,” Yankee fans would be loathe to go for Matsui over the field or Abreu over the field. And since it’s a popularity contest, they won’t vote for A-Rod more.

      What this poll tells us is that Matsuzaka and Ichiro are more popular than Igawa is in Japan, and maybe – and I stress that maybe – maybe, they are regarded as better baseball players. That doesn’t mean Igawa is going to be terrible.

      Plus, all we’re asking him to do is give us some innings and not get blown out. Last year, the back-end of the Yankees’ rotation was terrible. It’s tough to believe Igawa will be worse than Chacon/Small/Ponson. Polls like this are meaningless.

    7. January 25th, 2007 | 3:24 pm

      Guys, hey, just for the record, 2 months ago, I said that 180 IP from Iggy would be nice and useful:


      But, then, now, that I realize that Iggy needs to be more than just OK for the Yankees to do well, and match up with the Sox pitching, seeing this poll concerns me – because it ties into all the reports from Japan that said people don’t think he will do well in the US.

      If, and it’s an if, Iggy fails in the US – like a Pavano type fail, the Yankees are in big trouble. Three starters ain’t enough in the AL East this year.

    8. January 25th, 2007 | 3:27 pm

      Steve! STOP IT. This poll does not suggest that he’s not going to do well. It simply says that people don’t think he’ll be the best. Hell, everyone could think he’ll be the second best but this poll wouldn’t reflect it.

      And if he fails, then Sanchez or Hughes or even Clemens could stop in. How can you be touting the Red Sox rotation after Beckett sucked last year and Wakefield and Schilling are a combined 85 years old? And Papelbon’s made three Major League starts?

      These aren’t scouts or baseball people telling you their opinions. These are 10,000 Japanese people who may not even be fans telling you what they think. It’s unscientific; it’s ridiculous; and you’re flipping out unnecessarily.

    9. January 25th, 2007 | 3:55 pm

      I’m flipping out?

    10. bloodyank78
      January 25th, 2007 | 4:40 pm

      Steve, someone posted the other day about the Yanks having the 3rd best bullpen in the Bigs this year. The poster gave you a link when you asked for it, and after you looked at the article your exact response was,
      “That report is soley based on opinion ‘tho, no?”
      Well so is this poll and you’re willing to put some stock into it? Steve, you often strike me as a guy who rarely thinks he is wrong.

    11. January 25th, 2007 | 4:54 pm

      That bullpen ranking was based on the opinion of one person. This poll is based on the opinion of 11,000. There’s a difference there, no?

    12. Raf
      January 25th, 2007 | 4:57 pm

      But, then, now, that I realize that Iggy needs to be more than just OK for the Yankees to do well, and match up with the Sox pitching, seeing this poll concerns me – because it ties into all the reports from Japan that said people don’t think he will do well in the US.
      Yanks haven’t matched up with Sox pitching before, and they haven’t finished in 2nd place since 1997

    13. JeremyM
      January 25th, 2007 | 9:00 pm

      This poll is meaningless. I always click and vote in those espn polls when a question catches my eye, and my opinion is pretty much worthless. And so is this poll. Not to get geeky, but “these aren’t the droids you’re looking for, move along.”

    14. David
      January 25th, 2007 | 9:28 pm

      “You think Igawa is going to any worse than Wright?” asked baileywalk. It’s just a guess, but I think Igawa won’t be better than Wright.

      Igawa’s performance tailed off in the last 3 years. We don’t know why. My guess is that after pitching so many innings, his arm isn’t quite what it used to be. So, we will get the 2006 Igawa (at best), not the 2000 – 2003 Igawa.

      I hope he proves me wrong.

    15. January 25th, 2007 | 10:24 pm

      ~~~Yanks haven’t matched up with Sox pitching before, and they haven’t finished in 2nd place since 1997~~~

      Which team has more World Series rings since 2001?

    16. January 25th, 2007 | 11:21 pm

      ~~~Which team has more World Series rings since 2001?~~~

      That’s a pointless argument, and you know it. The postseason is a crap shoot. And if it weren’t for a stolen base, a dunk basehit, a short wall and some bad managing. The Yanks would have been right in the Series in 2004. Gimme a break, Steve. You’re better than that.

    17. Raf
      January 26th, 2007 | 7:32 am

      Which team has more World Series rings since 2001?
      You’re really reaching, Steve; it’s a small wonder you didn’t pull something 😀

    18. January 26th, 2007 | 9:19 am

      If the post-season is just a crap-shoot, then why are we, as Yankees fans, so thrilled when we win it and so bummed when we lose it?

    19. Raf
      January 26th, 2007 | 9:31 am

      If the post-season is just a crap-shoot, then why are we, as Yankees fans, so thrilled when we win it and so bummed when we lose it?
      Presumably for the same reason(s) people who gamble are thrilled when they win, and bummed when they lose.

      The fact that the postseason is what it is, doesn’t take away from the accomplishments of the team that won the postseason tourney.

      Me, I’m just looking for baseball. After the Yanks were bounced, I continued watching the postseason. This offseason, whenever I could, I watched winter league baseball. The Serie del Caribe starts next week, which’ll take me into spring training 🙂

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