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(Sporting News)   MLB scouts say Japanese star Shohei Ohtani can't hit big league pitching. Which means he will only be used when his team plays the Detroit Tigers   ( sportingnews.com) divider line
    More: Fail, high school hitter, Baseball, Fastball, Curveball, good MLB curveballs, major leagues, Shohei Ohtani, Clayton Kershaw  
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963 clicks; posted to Sports » on 12 Mar 2018 at 3:52 AM (18 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



29 Comments     (+0 »)
 
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2018-03-12 02:10:15 AM  
Why don't Japanese pitchers throw curveballs. Seems like if you could do that, you'd be OP.
 
2018-03-12 04:16:33 AM  
*Sigh* As an Angels fan since the early 70's, I'm not shocked at all. The hype surrounding him was unreal, the Angels and some of their fans felt like they'd made a major score by signing him (i.e. screwed the Dodgers).

1. He has/had a sore elbow
2. Hits at the level of an American high school player

Guess I can spend the money I was saving up for World Series tickets.
 
2018-03-12 04:24:54 AM  
He's viewed primarily as a starting pitching prospect anyway. Which makes him getting lit up by that Mexican team the other day more concerning than his hitting problems.
 
2018-03-12 04:56:58 AM  
Not sad.
 
2018-03-12 04:58:30 AM  
Jeez, he's been here more than a month and can't even hit Clayton Kershaw yet?
 
2018-03-12 07:22:23 AM  
Can anyone explain to me why this guy was so hyped?
 
2018-03-12 07:35:15 AM  

AntonChigger: Can anyone explain to me why this guy was so hyped?


Because he was really good in Japan. He could hit and pitch.

I guess the thinking was, if he could dominate Japanese baseball by hitting and pitching astonishingly well, he'd be able to do both pretty ok for an AL baseball team.

My bet is, he'll end up being an average reliever after he gets sent down to the minors for a season. I think he'll end up pitching because that's where his strength seems to be. On the pitching side, he's 80% there. On hitting, he's like 10% there. But, the dude wss basically flaming out after 2 innings, which is why I think he'll end up as a reliever.

That's my baseball answer. A more cynical possibility is that the angels and Dodgers really wanted him so they could sell more tickets to the growing/large Japanese communities near them.
 
2018-03-12 08:41:45 AM  

AntonChigger: Can anyone explain to me why this guy was so hyped?


Because he dominated a AAAA-level league.

Japanese pros are marginally better risks than guys who excel in AAA.
 
2018-03-12 09:56:50 AM  
Hey, now! The Tigers have Fulmer and... umm... well, never mind.
 
2018-03-12 11:59:28 AM  

meanmutton: Hey, now! The Tigers have Fulmer and... umm... well, never mind.


It's going to be a long road back to the top of the AL Central, but at least they got rid of Verlander's contract. I'm not quite sure what Ron Gardenhire is doing in Detroit though; surely there's a contender out there who could use a great coach like him. This is Victor Martinez's last year, so Cabrera and Zimmerman will be the only million dollar earners past 2018.
 
2018-03-12 12:04:48 PM  

AntonChigger: Can anyone explain to me why this guy was so hyped?


It's no different than any other super-hyped prospect. When you get a guy who can dominate AAA and AAAA players, that can go any number of ways. Maybe he's genuinely dominant and MLB talent won't be able to touch him either. Maybe he'll regress a bit, lose a bit of production due to facing better competition, but still be basically the same (really good) player. Maybe some pretty serious flaws in his game will be exposed when he's put up against players who can do things he'd never have seen before -- and in that case, maybe he'll be able to adjust, or maybe he'll sort of be able to adjust, or maybe it'll turn out that he genuinely can't adjust and he'll bounce back and forth between AAA and the majors until he gives up and decides to sell used cars.

Most highly-touted prospects don't become superstars. Lots of them don't even become major leaguers. We remember the successes and forget the failures, and that's just baseball.
 
2018-03-12 12:30:06 PM  

foo monkey: Why don't Japanese pitchers throw curveballs. Seems like if you could do that, you'd be OP.


You'd think that there are enough US prospects with a good curveball but lacking the speed for MLB scouts.  Presumably the Japanese put such a high priority on speed to lock them out.  Anyone who can throw fast enough for Japan and has a curve ball is already pitching in the MLB.
/Japanball has some weird features
//It wouldn't surprise me if no team was willing to win with a slow pitcher
///rather lose the game than lose face
 
2018-03-12 12:51:44 PM  

yet_another_wumpus: //It wouldn't surprise me if no team was willing to win with a slow pitcher


You see that in the US.

There's a huge bias towards guys with elite fastballs.

But if you look at the top of the modern pitcher-wins charts, you see guys with non-elite fastballs like Maddox, Glavine, Mussina, Pettitte, or later-career Colon. You see as many out-and-out junkballers (Niekro, Moyer, Tanana) as flamethrowers (Johnson, Clemens, Ryan).

No one values movement and control sufficiently, although Japan may be more biased than most.
 
2018-03-12 12:56:01 PM  

This text is now purple: yet_another_wumpus: //It wouldn't surprise me if no team was willing to win with a slow pitcher

You see that in the US.

There's a huge bias towards guys with elite fastballs.

But if you look at the top of the modern pitcher-wins charts, you see guys with non-elite fastballs like Maddox, Glavine, Mussina, Pettitte, or later-career Colon. You see as many out-and-out junkballers (Niekro, Moyer, Tanana) as flamethrowers (Johnson, Clemens, Ryan).

No one values movement and control sufficiently, although Japan may be more biased than most.


It's similar to the attitude towards quarterbacks - big arms are more desired than accurate passers. In both cases, it's the same reason: Teams feel they can coach accuracy but you can't coach a guy to throw hard.
 
2018-03-12 01:06:43 PM  

This text is now purple: yet_another_wumpus: //It wouldn't surprise me if no team was willing to win with a slow pitcher

You see that in the US.

There's a huge bias towards guys with elite fastballs.

But if you look at the top of the modern pitcher-wins charts, you see guys with non-elite fastballs like Maddox, Glavine, Mussina, Pettitte, or later-career Colon. You see as many out-and-out junkballers (Niekro, Moyer, Tanana) as flamethrowers (Johnson, Clemens, Ryan).

No one values movement and control sufficiently, although Japan may be more biased than most.


Mostly because evaluating that is difficult.  Barry Zito got a huge contract out of it and look how he panned out for the Giants.  For every Maddox there's a hundred soft tossers who don't even make it to Paul Byrd level.

Also, flamethrowers that flame out(typically because you need 4 good pitches as a starter) will be moved to reliever, where they can teach a guy to throw one other pitch and they'll be effective relievers until they blow their arms out.  You don't see many soft tossing relievers.  I'm not sure who the most successful recent one was, but I'd imagine Brian Fuentes is up on that list, and he was reliable, but his WHIP is not what you're looking for out of an elite reliever
 
2018-03-12 01:13:29 PM  
Let's look at his actual stats this Spring Training:

https://www.baseball-reference.com/re​g​ister/player.fcgi?id=otani-000sho

Oof, that's not good.  Batting .143 (two singles at 14 at bats (plus 3 walks)) with an OppQual of 7.6 is not promising at all.  His one pitching outing wasn't great either.  Of course, Spring Training stats are almost completely meaningless, but...
 
2018-03-12 01:22:20 PM  
I remember when people were saying he could be the next Babe Ruth.

I laughed hard then and I am laughing harder now
 
2018-03-12 01:25:59 PM  

This text is now purple: yet_another_wumpus: //It wouldn't surprise me if no team was willing to win with a slow pitcher

You see that in the US.

There's a huge bias towards guys with elite fastballs.

But if you look at the top of the modern pitcher-wins charts, you see guys with non-elite fastballs like Maddox, Glavine, Mussina, Pettitte, or later-career Colon. You see as many out-and-out junkballers (Niekro, Moyer, Tanana) as flamethrowers (Johnson, Clemens, Ryan).

No one values movement and control sufficiently, although Japan may be more biased than most.


Is that why the statisticians hate wins (on a pitcher)?  While I'm sure there are strong mathematical reasons for not caring about wins, that pretty much ignores the whole point of playing the game.  I remember Mike Mussina regularly pitching well and losing games as an Oriole (presumably not motivating the batters enough) and then going to the Yankees to become famous for losing post season games.

It might have something to do with managing pitchers.  A fastball pitcher is either going to excel or be injured, a junkballer has to maintain fine control or be shelled.  And it is never obvious which it is going to be.  Or just an opportunity for moneyball teams to fill the roster with junkballers and maybe a flamethrowing closer/setup man.
 
2018-03-12 01:53:31 PM  

yet_another_wumpus: Is that why the statisticians hate wins (on a pitcher)? While I'm sure there are strong mathematical reasons for not caring about wins, that pretty much ignores the whole point of playing the game.


It's not even math, it's logic. The "Win" stat is based on a ton of factors that have nothing to do with the pitcher, such as the performance of their own team's lineup, the defense behind them, the actions of pitchers that come in the game after them, etc. A good pitcher is more likely to be assigned a win, but using that statistic to evaluate players is dumb. The fact that no one with actual knowledge of evaluating players uses it has nothing to do with some sort of weird bias against control pitchers or whatever.
 
2018-03-12 02:06:22 PM  
Kluber doesn't have what today is considered an elite fastball and does pretty well. I think he threw fastballs on less than 40% of his pitches last year. Too lazy to look it up

Go Tribe.
 
2018-03-12 02:15:51 PM  

Cagey B: yet_another_wumpus: Is that why the statisticians hate wins (on a pitcher)? While I'm sure there are strong mathematical reasons for not caring about wins, that pretty much ignores the whole point of playing the game.

It's not even math, it's logic. The "Win" stat is based on a ton of factors that have nothing to do with the pitcher, such as the performance of their own team's lineup, the defense behind them, the actions of pitchers that come in the game after them, etc. A good pitcher is more likely to be assigned a win, but using that statistic to evaluate players is dumb. The fact that no one with actual knowledge of evaluating players uses it has nothing to do with some sort of weird bias against control pitchers or whatever.


I'd call it more of a "dead stat" (of old age and a changing game).  Back in the era of 4 man rotations and limited bullpens, 20 game winners were obviously great pitchers.  In games where 5-6 pitchers divide up the innings between them in a single game, the "winner" is more by luck.  There's also the issue that to even get the "win", a reliever may have had to give up runs.

If I was devising a "WAR" calculation for pitchers, I'd like my WAR to at least somewhat correlate with the wins of 1950s-1970s pitchers (obviously modified against overall record of the teams).  Modern records (where the bullpen pitches more than starters) wouldn't help the data at all.
 
2018-03-12 02:26:26 PM  

Cagey B: yet_another_wumpus: Is that why the statisticians hate wins (on a pitcher)? While I'm sure there are strong mathematical reasons for not caring about wins, that pretty much ignores the whole point of playing the game.

It's not even math, it's logic. The "Win" stat is based on a ton of factors that have nothing to do with the pitcher, such as the performance of their own team's lineup, the defense behind them, the actions of pitchers that come in the game after them, etc. A good pitcher is more likely to be assigned a win, but using that statistic to evaluate players is dumb. The fact that no one with actual knowledge of evaluating players uses it has nothing to do with some sort of weird bias against control pitchers or whatever.


Example: Rich Hill pitched a 9-inning no-hitter last season against the Pirates.  He was perfect through 8, but a teammate committed an error in the 9th.

He got the loss in the 10th inning, 1-0, off a solo home run.

About a week earlier, Jeff Samardzija gave up 8 hits and 4 runs in 6 innings but got the win because the relievers shut the Phillies down and the Giants' offense got five runs off Aaron Nola.

Which pitcher had a better game?
 
2018-03-12 03:37:17 PM  

This text is now purple: yet_another_wumpus: //It wouldn't surprise me if no team was willing to win with a slow pitcher

You see that in the US.

There's a huge bias towards guys with elite fastballs.

But if you look at the top of the modern pitcher-wins charts, you see guys with non-elite fastballs like Maddox, Glavine, Mussina, Pettitte, or later-career Colon. You see as many out-and-out junkballers (Niekro, Moyer, Tanana) as flamethrowers (Johnson, Clemens, Ryan).

No one values movement and control sufficiently, although Japan may be more biased than most.


For every good control pitcher like Maddox or Glavine, there's a lot more that didn't pan out. It's far more common to fool guys with a 97 mph fastball and then a 80 mph changeup than it is to continually fool them with offspeed stuff.
 
2018-03-12 04:17:08 PM  

This text is now purple: yet_another_wumpus: //It wouldn't surprise me if no team was willing to win with a slow pitcher

You see that in the US.

There's a huge bias towards guys with elite fastballs.

But if you look at the top of the modern pitcher-wins charts, you see guys with non-elite fastballs like Maddox, Glavine, Mussina, Pettitte, or later-career Colon. You see as many out-and-out junkballers (Niekro, Moyer, Tanana) as flamethrowers (Johnson, Clemens, Ryan).

No one values movement and control sufficiently, although Japan may be more biased than most.


Hey, Moyer could hit 99 on the radar gun.  Sure, that was kph, but he was still hitting 99.
2002 - Radar Gun
Youtube 3aE5BvyqiAU


I can't remember if it was Piniella or someone else who said he was going to have Moyer tested for steroids after he hit 80 on the radar gun in a game.
 
2018-03-12 06:28:31 PM  

This text is now purple: AntonChigger: Can anyone explain to me why this guy was so hyped?

Because he dominated a AAAA-level league.

Japanese pros are marginally better risks than guys who excel in AAA.


I'm not sure the numbers support this claim.
 
2018-03-12 06:39:09 PM  

Geotpf: Let's look at his actual stats this Spring Training:

https://www.baseball-reference.com/reg​ister/player.fcgi?id=otani-000sho

Oof, that's not good.  Batting .143 (two singles at 14 at bats (plus 3 walks)) with an OppQual of 7.6 is not promising at all.  His one pitching outing wasn't great either.  Of course, Spring Training stats are almost completely meaningless, but...


They're not completely meaningless.

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/​s​pring-training-matters/

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/​w​hen-spring-training-matters/
 
2018-03-12 06:43:48 PM  

bronyaur1: This text is now purple: AntonChigger: Can anyone explain to me why this guy was so hyped?

Because he dominated a AAAA-level league.

Japanese pros are marginally better risks than guys who excel in AAA.

I'm not sure the numbers support this claim.


Everybody considers the Japanese league to be between the majors and AAA in quality.  Of course, in every sport (and game-this applies to, say, poker players too (Phil Hellmuth immediately springs to mind)), there are guys that dominate the 80% guys but get simply killed by the 100% guys.  The theory here is that Ohtani is such a person.

Now, he might just need additional coaching, frankly.  This is what spring training is for, after all.
 
2018-03-12 07:10:28 PM  

Geotpf: bronyaur1: This text is now purple: AntonChigger: Can anyone explain to me why this guy was so hyped?

Because he dominated a AAAA-level league.

Japanese pros are marginally better risks than guys who excel in AAA.

I'm not sure the numbers support this claim.

Everybody considers the Japanese league to be between the majors and AAA in quality.  Of course, in every sport (and game-this applies to, say, poker players too (Phil Hellmuth immediately springs to mind)), there are guys that dominate the 80% guys but get simply killed by the 100% guys.  The theory here is that Ohtani is such a person.

Now, he might just need additional coaching, frankly.  This is what spring training is for, after all.


I think that the numbers would show much better correlation between AAA stats and MLB stats than Japanese stats and MLB stats, thanks, that the former is a better predictor of MLB success.  I know something about the KOTAH probit models for minors league preditive capability, Here's a bit of an explanation:  https://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/a-pr​im​er-on-a-new-and-improved-katoh/

I don't know of any similarly rigorous analysis of the predictive ability of Japanese stats to MLB stats, except Jim Albright's stuff - http://baseballguru.com/jalbright/​ However, the track record of Japanese players in MLB suggests rather strongly a limited ability of Japanese success predicting MLB success.
 
2018-03-12 09:55:25 PM  

yet_another_wumpus: This text is now purple: yet_another_wumpus: //It wouldn't surprise me if no team was willing to win with a slow pitcher

You see that in the US.

There's a huge bias towards guys with elite fastballs.

But if you look at the top of the modern pitcher-wins charts, you see guys with non-elite fastballs like Maddox, Glavine, Mussina, Pettitte, or later-career Colon. You see as many out-and-out junkballers (Niekro, Moyer, Tanana) as flamethrowers (Johnson, Clemens, Ryan).

No one values movement and control sufficiently, although Japan may be more biased than most.

Is that why the statisticians hate wins (on a pitcher)?  While I'm sure there are strong mathematical reasons for not caring about wins, that pretty much ignores the whole point of playing the game.  I remember Mike Mussina regularly pitching well and losing games as an Oriole (presumably not motivating the batters enough) and then going to the Yankees to become famous for losing post season games.


No, this is why statisticians hate perceptions like these.  Mussina "regularly losing games as an Oriole?"  He had a .645 winning percentage as an Oriole.  Famous for losing postseason games as a Yankee? Pretty sure he'll be remembered more for saving the Yankees when Clemens couldn't get any Boston hitter out and Moose shut them down, leading to Aaron Boone's memorable home run.  Or shutting down Oakland which let Jeter's flip play become legend (since the Yankees ended up winning 1-0, and if they'd lost, the Jeter play wouldn't have been nearly as legendary).  Not to mention his 3.42 career postseason ERA.

We're talking about a pitcher who won 270 games with a .638 winning percentage (and very possibly could have gotten to 300 wins if he wanted to stick around for a few more seasons). In what world is this a guy who "doesn't know how to win" or "whose teammates don't want to win for him?"
 
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