NPB news of Oct. 27, 2019

My prospective MLB player page “Guess who’s coming to dinner” has been updated HERE.

Eagles’ Mima to test free agency

Rakuten Eagles right-hander Manabu Mima, who posted a 4.01 ERA in 143-2/3 innings this year and has a career 51-60 record, said Sunday he would file for domestic free agency. He’s one of the few Japanese pitchers to regularly feature a two-seam fastball, and throws his slider nearly as often as his 143.6 kph four-seamer.

Nomura to stick with Carp

Saying that he “loves the Hiroshima Carp,” right-hander Yusuke Nomura said this week that he would not file for domestic free agency in order to remain in Hiroshima.

The 30-year-old, a 16-game winner when the Carp ended their 24-year championship drought in 2016, has struggled the last two season, not reaching 120 innings or having an ERA below 4.00.

Stewart heads home

Carter Stewart Jr returned to the United States on Sunday after completing his first season of pro ball in Japan competing for the SoftBank Hawks’ third team. The third-team is typically composed of players on developmental contracts and does not compete in a league, but rather plays amateur and independent minor league teams.

Nikkan Sports reported on his departure. According to their report, Stewart won four games with a 4.36 ERA, and said he hopes to impress in spring training so that he can compete for the Hawks’ top farm team in the Western League and make his Pacific League debut with the big club.

The 19-year-old right-hander who declined to sign with the Atlanta Braves in 2018 as the eighth player taken in MLB’s June amateur draft that year, will be eligible to enter MLB as an international free agent after turning 25 with six seasons of pro baseball under his belt.

Nikkan sports, translating his English into Japanese, reported that he said he had gotten used to Japanese ball. He pitched in two instructional league games prior to his departure and was handed an offseason training menu before his departure.

Stewart is a client of Scott Boras, who in December told me a player such as his client would be unable to qualify for international free agency and would have to re-enter MLB’s draft. So either Boras was lying to throw me off the scent, or didn’t know. If so, he was not alone, as two other agents also told me that week that U.S. and Canadian citizens could not circumvent the draft by playing abroad.

Don’t believe me, believe Scott:

Scott Boras in December 2018 on the possibility of circumventing MLB draft

Jim Allen

sports editor for a wire service in Tokyo

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