Category Archives: Research

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Questions about Yoshinobu Yamamoto

Being at the winter meetings in Nashville allowed me to catch up with people I’d been seeing there since I first started going in 2014. With four Japanese pitchers moving to MLB this winter, there was a lot to talk about.

In the past, I’ve published injury and deactivation records of Japanese pitchers trying to play in MLB, but it has been a hectic offseason, and somehow I neglected that duty this year.

This brought a request from Eno Sarris of the Athletic::

“I’ve been furiously googling and going through your site and I can’t find anything on Yamamoto injuries — do you know off the top of your head what his major injuries were? Seems like he has a ton of innings every year except his first two?”

The answer to his injury history is that if there is one, it hasn’t been made public. The answer to his playing time requires an understanding of how NPB roster rules differ from those in MLB.

Yamamoto’s published injuries — as related to deactivations are listed below:

Continue reading Questions about Yoshinobu Yamamoto

Tatsunori Hara retrospective, part 1

In the aftermath of Tatsunori Hara’s “stepping down” as Giants manager for ostensibly the third and final time, I thought it was time to do some research into his interesting tenures in Yomiuri Land.

There were a variety of stories out there trying to explain Hara’s failure to get the league’s wealthiest team into the upper division for two consecutive seasons. One of the more interesting takes was the team’s failure to land free agent catcher and 2019 Pacific League MVP Tomoya Mori. Despite a personal appeal from Hara, Mori selected the two-time defending PL champions – and his hometown team – Osaka’s Orix Buffaloes.

This point was brought up in a few stories that also blamed Hara’s failure on his annual turnover of coaches, or player injuries, or the players simply not trying hard enough.

We assume that Yomiuri has the best access in NPB to domestic talent, both amateur and professional, but how much is that really worth on average each season? To find out, I looked up every player in NPB who had played for a different team the year before and how much they produced that year, while also making note of the team that lost that individual.

Hara won nine pennants with the Yomiuri Giants and three Japan Series championships, and won more regular season games than any other Yomiuri manager. Let’s see how he compares to other contemporary managers with 500 or more games managed.

Continue reading Tatsunori Hara retrospective, part 1