I am interested in finding out what this community knows about possible Japanese players coming to the US. Forget Aroldis Chapman – I really want to see Yu Darvish (2nd MVP award in 3 yrs., and he’s only 23) come to MLB, but frankly I doubt that’ll happen in the next few years, if at all. I’d also love to see Nori Aoki, a fine all-around hitting 27-year-old outfielder, but I also don’t know if he’ll be posting for another couple years.
Ryota Igarashi looks sure to come over. He had Tommy John surgery in 2007, but pitched well in 2008. Supposedly he can throw in the upper-90’s, but he is strictly a reliever. Another reliever I have some interest in is Kyuji Fujikawa, 29, who has posted lights-out numbers the last five years (era’s all under 2.00, with two years under 1.00, and K rates around 13/9), but I don’t know if he’s coming over or not.
Hisanori Takahashi also looks like he’s MLB-bound. He’s a 34-year-old lefty who went 10-6, with a 2.94 era for the NPB champs. Meh.
There are a couple young guys, a la Junichi Tazawa who could come over. 18-year-old Yusei Kikuchi was entertaining thoughts about it, but I think he signed in Japan. Yuki Saito, 21, nicknamed the Handkerchief Prince, could come over. He’s said to have Koji Uehara type stuff. I don’t know if he has the same control as Uehara. Also I hear Shota Ichinoseki, 20, is looking to try out for major league scouts, but I think his fastball tops out around 90, and I don’t know how great a prospect he is.
All in all, it doesn’t look like there’s anyone’s bandwagon to jump on. Any other thoughts or comments from the peanut gallery?