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.
- Shun Yamaguchi, RHP — posted until Jan. 2, signed with Toronto Blue Jays,
- Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, LF — signed with Tampa Bay Rays
- Shogo Akiyama, CF — free agent
The next wave, 2021 and beyond
- Kodai Senga, RHP — expressed desire to be posted
- Tomoyuki Sugano, RHP — expressed desire to play in MLB
- Seiya Suzuki, RF — Young, strong with 5 tools but playing it cool
- Haruki Nishikawa, CF — expressed desire to be posted
- Kohei Arihara, RHP — expressed desire to be posted
- Ayumu Ishikawa, RHP — expressed desire to be posted
We can still dream
- Yuki Yanagita, CF — signed 7-year extension in Dec. 2019
- Ryosuke Kikuchi, 2B — Returned to Hiroshima Carp on 4-year extension
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.