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[j-ball] 1999 picks

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  • Jim Allen
    Rob s analysis was very thoughtful. I d like to add some comments to the discussion. ... The lack of offense is partly Hoshino s emphasis on defense in his
    Message 1 of 3 , Mar 31, 1999
      Rob's analysis was very thoughtful. I'd like to add some comments to the
      At 4:54 PM +0000 99.3.31, Rob Magee wrote:
      > Central League
      > Chunichi Dragons
      > I'm a fan, but that's not why. Best pitching in the league, starting,
      > middle relief (short and long) and closing. Even writing off Imanaka
      > and Yamamoto, they're well-stocked with pitchers from both sides. A
      > manager who at times knows how to use it. No offense to speak of save
      > Gomez and some good speed. Great depth offensively -- a whole pile of
      > .245 hitters with good speed, good gloves and no power. Fewest errors
      > in the field last year despite Yokohama picking up all the gold gloves.
      > (But they would have had more errors if Lee had played the full season
      > at short.) Their biggest potential problem is that pitchers may give up
      > after going out time after time and not getting any run support.
      > Manager Hoshino oscillates between genius and *what???*
      > (Hmm. Actually, the Drags' inoffensive offense may make me reconsider
      > this pick, but they should be in the top half and the top half should be
      > a closely grouped bunch. I'll keep them here.)

      The lack of offense is partly Hoshino's emphasis on defense in his second
      season in the dome--causing him to play fewer guys who are defensive
      liabilities but good hitters, and partly due to the Nagoya Dome which
      probably cost their offense 80 to 100 runs last season.
      last years Dragons lineup was far more potent than the Swallows who
      probably picked up 50 runs playing in Jingu.

      > Yomiuri Giants
      > Potentially the best offense in the league, but pitching is very
      > suspect. The veterans could perform as expected and the younger players
      > could start to shine, but it's more likely that the vets (Makihara,
      > Saito, Kuwata) will be ineffective or injured. Any younger players that
      > show promise will be burned out by JPB's least competent manager. But I
      > expect decent showings from Galvez, given the proper sedatives, and
      > Iriki. (Ah, the younger one, I think, not the former Buffalo.) Lack of
      > a catcher also a big minus, but the line-up can support a guy who can't
      > hit if he calls a decent game. Only in second place because good
      > pitching should beat good hitting, and because if it's a close race late
      > in the season the Giants' manager can be trusted to screw things up. No
      > effective LHPs, save perhaps Nomura, whose role for 1999 is unclear.
      tend to agree here but I'd cut "potentially" from the first sentence. The
      Giants will be more powerful this season than last.
      > Yokohama BayStars
      > Even if you don't buy the argument that 1998 saw a lot of career years
      > from average-to-good players, I don't see much depth (aside from Pozo,
      > who may be one of the best non-starters in JPB this year), and even if
      > they keep out of trouble with the tax people you can't expect them to be
      > as injury-free as they were last year. Picked up a good starter in
      > Yano, and Gondo knows how to get the most out of his pitchers. The best
      > all-round balance of any team in the league and a legitimate contender.

      Who had career years that were out of context with the current stage of
      their career? None that I can see. Everyone did more or less than what we
      have expected. Perhaps they were lucky in the sense of having most of the
      regulars playing near the upper boundry of their normal expectations, so I
      see what people say.

      > Yakult Swallows
      > New manager is learning on the job. A good mix of veterans and rookies,
      > but not enough quality players in either group to challenge the top
      > three. Best catcher in JPB. Sawamura-winner Kawasaki could have done
      > even better last year if he had had a few more runs behind him. Best
      > new foreign (ah, non-Japanese) players in the league. They had a good
      > surge late in the season last year (and much of it was flailing on my
      > Dragons). Lots of question marks, but if a lot of things work in their
      > favor they can't be ruled out.

      agree. If either Petagine or Smith can be consistant run producers, the
      Swallows will move into the top group. Wakamatsu will have to prove that he
      can manage a bullpen and a pitching staff. Not every manager can. Furuta
      says the team is really psyched by Nomura being gone.

      > Hanshin Tigers
      > Nomura doesn't have a lot to work with, but he has grabbed a few
      > veterans here and there (Sasaki from Seibu and Jo (Joh?) from Yakult),
      > and shipped some guys out (Furumizo! Who OWNED the Drags!). He should
      > be able to get enough out of the team to beat Hiroshima, and the
      > big-whoop Giants-Tigers rivalry will have better ratings than in recent
      > years, but don't expect much else. Shinjo has no business pitching,
      > just as he has no business taking up a slot in the Tigers' ichi-gun.
      > Giving regular playing time to a guy hitting .222 with 6 homers (and a
      > career .242 average?) while there are hungry kids who could use the time
      > and experience to develop is inexcusable and it makes JPB look like a
      > farce.

      With the Swallows, Nomura had two good players in their prime when he
      arrived, Ikeyama and Hirosawa, and a mixed bag of veteran and young
      pitchers. Generally, (Dan correct me if I'm wrong) he would fill holes with
      veterans and then bring along a younger guy who he expected to do the job
      in a year or two. With his pitchers he used anyone who could get a batter

      With the Tigers he has one great young player, Imaoka. He has Tsuboi a
      slightly lesser talent but a good solid player and then he has a stack of
      veterans. He'll use his good young players and once he finds out which
      veterans he can use he'll dump the rest. One or two underperforming
      veterans will see a real boost in their performance when Nomura corrects
      some aspect of their play.

      > Hiroshima Carp
      > The Carp usually have a decent offense until one important player goes
      > down with an injury. Then the team slides and the season is over. Is
      > new manager Tatsukawa's punishing training regimen of fielding 10000
      > grounders and running 100 miles a day (ok, I exaggerate) going to make
      > older veterans Eto and co. any more likely to last the whole season
      > through? Pitching: Nate Minchey eats a lot of innings, but he can't
      > start every game for them. Maybe one or two other pitchers, and then a
      > lot of question marks.
      sounds right to me

      > Pacific League
      > It's a tough league. Last season finished pretty well, despite at one
      > point a huge lead by the Fighters. Only the Hawks trail -- the others
      > are pretty closely matched.
      > Nippon Ham Fighters
      > The Buffs are a little stronger, but their history of folding is more
      > consistent than the Fighters'.
      > Kintetsu Buffaloes
      > (See choke comment above.)
      > Chiba Lotte Marines
      > New manager has a most controversial attitude -- stressing preparation
      > and physical health? What about fielding 10000 grounders? What about
      > "guts play" and other displays of fighting spirit most managers demand?
      > Orix BlueWave
      > I'm betting some earlier draft picks will blossom this season. But
      > seven non-Japanese on the roster is sort of hedging their bets.

      one indicator of future performance is how well a team plays from aug.1.
      Orix was tremendous.

      > Seibu Lions
      > Bigger ballpark, less power without Martinez. Expect little help from
      > new foreigners. Dome will force team to use 4th and 5th starters, where
      > before they just called games (on account of... high humidity?) when it
      > was cloudy and the rotation was in the trough.

      not much bigger. the foul lines used to intersect the curve of the stannds
      so they were short, but they deepened rapidly to the power alleys the way
      they do in Hiroshima. Now, there is a notch in the corner so the foul pole
      is about 3 meters deeper and adds about 8 square meters to the field in
      each corner. Iunderstand they did something to the alleys and to center
      but its hard to see what it was except for taking out the grass on the
      embankment and replacing it with...astroturf. Looks hideous.

      I like Blosser a bit, if only because he said he expects to hit 30 homers.
      If he does that will be the first time the Lions have had three solid
      outfielders in living memory. All the time Mori was the manager they had a
      platoon in left.

      If Cianfrancco hits, Ken will play first, but they don't have a dh. Taisei
      Takagi is out indefinitely so that will hurt.

      > Daiei Hawks
      > A nuisance factor at best. Some power, some good hitters, but....
      > And just for kicks:
      > Rookies of the Year
      > CL Eiji Yano, BayStars
      > PL Daisuke Matsuzaka
      > If Fukudome hits .275 with 15 HR it will have a bigger impact on the
      > Drags' season than successful seasons from Yano or the Giants' Nioka or
      > Uehara because he could fill one of his team's great needs (where the
      > others are just gravy, more or less). But it's hard to give RotY to
      > .275, 15.

      Yes, know what you mean. Fukudome will be great if he is a better shortstop
      than Lee, and he hits .250 with 10 homers. It would be a great start. He
      could be Cal ripken in a year or two

      Nioka will have a big impact as he looks to be a grade A fielder--what the
      Giants really needed. His bat will be gravy.

      > Ryo Yoshimoto for Daiei and Kintetsu's top two picks, C Akihito Fujii
      > and side-arm RHP Shinji Udaka, could perform at the top level right
      > away, though Udaka was hit hard (and called for a couple of balks) in
      > the spring season. But Matsuzaka shows the most promise at this stage
      > in his career.

      Jim Allen

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    • Te-Kan Yin
      ... . . ... OF/DH Tetsuya Kakiuchi may play an important role for supplying power. His hitting was pretty hot during the OPEN-SEN, maybe he can come back to
      Message 2 of 3 , Apr 1, 1999
        Jim Allen wrote:

        > Seibu Lions
        >I like Blosser a bit, if only because he said he expects to hit 30 homers.
        >If he does that will be the first time the Lions have had three solid
        >outfielders in living memory. All the time Mori was the manager they had a
        >platoon in left.
        >If Cianfrancco hits, Ken will play first, but they don't have a dh. Taisei
        >Takagi is out indefinitely so that will hurt.

        OF/DH Tetsuya Kakiuchi may play an important role for supplying
        power. His hitting was pretty hot during the OPEN-SEN,
        maybe he can come back to the form several years ago. My bet is that
        he will log in lots of time playing DH before Taisei Takagi comes back,
        and once in a while Kakiuchi may play a bit OF such that Blosser
        can take some time off or do DH-ing.

        Best regards,

        --Steve Yin

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