• The 10 Japanese Starting Pitchers To Come To MLB Before The Age Of 30

    Posted by on January 22nd, 2014 · Comments (3)

    Here are their total career stats in the US, to-date for the ones still pitching:

    Rk Player WAR From To Age G GS GF W L W-L% SV IP BB SO ERA ERA+ HR BF
    1 Hideo Nomo 21.7 1995 2008 26-39 323 318 2 123 109 .530 0 1976.1 908 1918 4.24 97 251 8462
    2 Tomo Ohka 11.9 1999 2009 23-33 202 178 11 51 68 .429 0 1070.0 302 590 4.26 105 140 4620
    3 Shigetoshi Hasegawa 11.5 1997 2005 28-36 517 8 191 45 43 .511 33 720.1 265 447 3.70 125 76 3031
    4 Yu Darvish 9.7 2012 2013 25-26 61 61 0 29 18 .617 0 401.0 169 498 3.34 127 40 1657
    5 Daisuke Matsuzaka 9.1 2007 2013 26-32 124 123 1 53 40 .570 0 707.0 337 642 4.52 100 79 3085
    6 Hideki Irabu 3.3 1997 2002 28-33 126 80 28 34 35 .493 16 514.0 175 405 5.15 89 91 2236
    7 Junichi Tazawa 2.3 2009 2013 23-27 117 4 26 8 8 .500 1 140.2 27 134 3.45 124 15 599
    8 Kazuhito Tadano 0.2 2004 2005 24-25 15 4 2 1 1 .500 0 54.1 18 40 4.47 98 6 241
    9 Kazuhisa Ishii 0.2 2002 2005 28-31 105 102 0 39 34 .534 0 564.0 354 435 4.44 90 70 2496
    10 Kei Igawa -0.6 2007 2008 27-28 16 13 1 2 4 .333 0 71.2 37 53 6.66 68 15 337
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 1/22/2014.

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    So, how will Masahiro Tanaka do in the U.S. over the life of his contract, now that he is pitching here?  If he has an ERA+ over 100, he’ll be one of the few to do it.

    Comments on The 10 Japanese Starting Pitchers To Come To MLB Before The Age Of 30

    1. MJ Recanati
      January 22nd, 2014 | 2:34 pm

      Your player finder picked up Shigetoshi Hasegawa in a query about starters. Not sure that was your intent since he was overwhelmingly used in relief.

      Separately, if we exclude Hasegawa, the sample leaves only nine pitchers, four of whom pitched to an ERA+ of 100 or better. 44% of the sample therefore meets your criteria which is not a big enough sample to offer any predictive value but does refute your statement that he’d be “one of the few to do it” since 44% isn’t exactly “few.”

      To be clear, again, it’s a tiny sample. It’s not worth pointing out how other Japanese pitchers have fared since so few of them have pitched here in the States.

    2. January 22nd, 2014 | 3:37 pm

      I think Shigetoshi Hasegawa came over as a starter, IIRC.

      He was a SP for 6 years in Japan and then the Angels converted him when he came over.

    3. Evan3457
      January 24th, 2014 | 3:27 am

      Steve L. wrote:

      I think Shigetoshi Hasegawa came over as a starter, IIRC.
      He was a SP for 6 years in Japan and then the Angels converted him when he came over.

      Yep. 127 of 142 games in NPB were starts. 15 in relief in 6 years.

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