Monday, April 30, 2007

Subscriber Reading

Hey all. I haven't been as prolific here as I would have liked so far, but you can find my work in a lot of other places these days. I've stretched myself thin between baseball writing, my job, my family, and various other things, so I don't get around to these parts as often. The best thing to do here is subscribe to the Atom feed at the top right of the page, and wait for the updates to be sent to you.....I use the word subscribe, but everything is free, of course.

What's not free is my work over at Baseball Prospectus. You'll need a subscription to their premium content to get my articles on Japanese baseball, but I think you'll find that it's money well spent. The writers at "BP" are of the finest quality, and their coverage of the sport takes fandom to the next level. Here are the links to my pieces at Baseball Prospectus. You'll get the first paragraph of each piece if you haven't purchased a subscription, but the rest will be blocked. Sign up, get your fill of great baseball writing, and keep checking in here for more. I'll do my best to update this blog more often during the season.

Live From Akita City: The Nippon Professional League
Mike shares his perspective on the roots of Japanese baseball, and readies you for a season preview.

Live From Akita City: Pacific League Preview
Mike takes the plunge with the six team Pacific League division, spotlighting outstanding talent across Japan.

Connecting the Dots: Central League Preview
Mike turns his attention to the second Japanese major league, and makes predictions as to how it's going to shake down.

Impact Talent in Japan: Give Us Your Best, Yearning to Be Enriched
A review of who might come to the States as free agents, through the posting system, and names you just want to know.

The Foreigners: Impact Imports in the NPB
Which foreign-born ballplayers in the Japanese leagues should you know something about?

Coming up at BP in the next week, Central and Pacific recaps of the first month of the 2007 campaign. I highlight each team and some of the main storylines that are important to the position each team holds in the standings. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Something New

Sorry I haven't been by to give you anything new recently, but I'm back. Today's item is a congratulations to Masahiro Tanaka of Rakuten on his 1st professional win. Tanaka is the ultra-famous and super-gifted rookie who led Komadai Tomakomai High School to three consecutive Summer Koshien title games, winning the 1st two before succumbing to Yuki Saito in 2006.

Tanaka has been shaky in his first three starts, combining for:

14.2 IP
16 hits
11 walks
15 K
10 ER
6.34 ERA
1.841 WHIP
1.36 K/BB
9.20 K/9

The biggest problem for the talented young righty has been the lack of control that has added 11 baserunners by free pass. That's just beating yourself. Tonight was a different story against the potent SoftBank Hawks. Tanaka produced a gem with the following line:

9 IP
9 hits
1 walk
13 K
2 ER

He lowered his ERA to 4.56 and boosted the K/BB ratio from 1.36 to 2.33. The K-rate also rose from 9.20 (which is already impressive) to 10.65! If he can string together a few more of those outings, he'll be on his way. Nice to get the first one under your belt though. Congrats again kiddo!