Guess who’s coming to dinner

Japanese players likely to move to the majors…

Heading for MLB in 2020

As of this update, four players are seeking work in MLB this winter, pitcher Shun Yamaguchi and three position players, second baseman Ryosuke Kikuchi, center fielder Shogo Akiyama and left fielder Yoshitomo Tsutsugo.

The next wave, 2021 and beyond

We can still dream

A word about playing in Japan

There is a tendency to dismiss some ballplayers because of size and velocity because smaller players are less likely to succeed in the majors and pitchers with more velocity come with an asterisk that says they could be good if they harness their talent and learn better fundamentals.

But because Japan has traditionally seen the game in a different context, with players raised and trained in a different kind of tradition, the game has a different spin to it.

While some things, such as Japan’s emphasis on middle distance running as the basis for all sports training can be counterproductive, very basic things, such as insistence on fundamentals and the extreme importance of being a good teammate add value to the majority of Japanese players are easily overlooked when measuring physical attributes and skills.

Because Japanese players have been schooled — or brainwashed if one prefers — into hitting the ball up the middle and going the other way, it is — with few exceptions impossible to shift against them.

writing & research on Japanese baseball