Tag Archives: Adam Jones

Camping world: Feb. 9, 2020

Here are some tidbits from NPB spring training from the Japanese language media on Sunday, Feb. 9.

Jones stands in for fellow new Orix import Higgins

Former San Diego Padres minor leaguer Tyler Higgins threw his third bullpen of the spring at the Orix Buffaloes camp on Sunday, this time with Adam Jones standing in the right-handed batter’s box. According to Sankei Sports, Higgins wanted to Jones’ view of his pitches, saying that as a quality hitter his opinion might be different from others.

Giants manager Hara impressed with Diplan

Yomiuri Giants manager Tatsunori Hara is keeping his eye on 26-year-old Dominican right-hander Nattino Diplan, who joined the club over the winter on a developmental contract, Sports Nippon Annex reports.

The 1.9-meter, 81-kilogram Diplan, who pitched in Double A last season for the Milwaukee Brewers. After watching him in the bullpen and in a simulated game, Hara said he expected Diplan to touch 160 kph (100 miles per hour). On Sunday, Diplan, who is working out with the Giants two farm clubs, hit 93.8 miles per hour and broke a bat in an intrasquad game. After which Hara said the right-hander is a candidate to join the big club in camp when it moves to Okinawa on Saturday.

According to the story, Diplan was motivated to play in Japan after being impressed by Shohei Ohtani.

Jones bonds with Orix outfielders over steak, picks up tab

New import Adam Jones joined eight other Orix Buffaloes outfielders for dinner at a swanky steak place in Miyazaki on Friday night for talk about baseball and other things, according to a Daily News report, and picked up the tab — in excess of $2,700.

On Sunday, Jones was a hot item as he and teammates conducted a baseball clinic after nearly 300 elementary school kids from Miyazaki Prefecture attended the Buffaloes practice session.

The kotatsu league: Orix signs Padres minor leaguers Higgins, Rodriguez

Former San Diego Padres minor leaguers Tyler Higgins and Aderlin Rodriguez have signed with the Orix Buffaloes of Japan’s Pacific League, the club announced Monday according to online site fullcount.

HIggins, who began his career with the Miami Marlins, is a 28-year-old right-hander who has spent most of his career at Double-A. At Triple-A El Paso last year, where former Japan closer Akinori Otsuka served as a pitching coach, Higgins struck out 50 batters in 45-2/3 innings while issuing 13 walks and surrendering 13 home runs.

Rodriguez, who is from the Dominican Republic and turned 28 in November, is a right-handed hitter who hit 19 home runs in 289 plate appearances for El Paso while striking out 46 times and drawing 14 walks. It was his lone season in Triple-A.

The Buffaloes have also acquired veteran major league outfielder Adam Jones on a two-year deal, and are bringing back outfielder-first baseman Steven Moya, starting pitcher Andrew Albers and closer Brandon Dickson.

Lotte signs Dominican amateur Acosta: report

The Lotte Marines have signed hard-throwing Dominican amateur Jose Acosta to a developmental contract, the Hochi Shimbun reported Monday, citing informed sources.

According to the report, the acquisition of 25-year-old Acosta, who has no pro experience, and 30-year-old Venezuelan Jose Flores, who pitched this year for the Toyama Thunderbirds of the independent BC League, will be announced in the coming days.

Acosta, a 1.87-meter, 89-kilogram right-hander, pitched for his country in this summer’s Pan Am Games. His fastball has been recorded at 164 kilometers per hour. He also possesses an effective slider and change.

At a tryout in the Dominican, his average fastball velocity was 157 kph.

The 1.91-meter, 120-kg Flores, who throws in the 150-159 kph range, tried out for the club in October at the Pacific League club’s home park, Zozo Marine Stadium, in Chiba. He is also headed for a developmental contract, that does not count against the team’s 70-man roster and does not allow him to play on the top team.

Adam Jones’ historic comps

There’s a ton of optimism going on after the Orix Buffaloes signed veteran major league outfielder Adam Jones to a two-year contract during the baseball winter meetings.

How does his acquisition compare to other veteran MLB power hitters coming over in the past?

Since he signed a two-year deal, let’s eliminate guys like Bob Horner, Tony Batista, and Larry Doby, who only played a single season in Japan. That leaves 20 players who came to NPB with 100 or more home runs in MLB. In terms of what they did before they came, Jones is now third on the list behind Andruw Jones (434) and Reggie Smith (313).

Here are the top five with their ages on Opening Day of their first season (rounded to the nearest integer)

NameAgeMLB HRsNPB HRs
Andruw Jones3643450
Reggie Smith3831445
Larry Parrish3525670
Ben Oglivie3823546
Dick Stuart3422849

Pointless trivia: I didn’t know this until I was cleaning this data set, but Dick Stuart went to Sequoia High School in Redwood City, CA, about three miles from my childhood home. I didn’t go there but my two stepbrothers did, and it was said the greatest athlete from that school had been Heisman Trophy winner Gary Beban — a UCLA quarterback who was a rival and contemporary of San Francisco native O.J. Simpson.

Adam Jones will be the 10th youngest of those 20 players. Here’s that list with No. 11 George Altman added.

NameAgeMLB HRNPB HR
Jack Howell31108100
Willy Upshaw3212339
Davey Johnson3211439
Lloyd Moseby3216929
Mel Hall3313464
Glenn Davis3419028
Mike Pagliarulo341347
Willie Kirkland34148126
Dick Stuart3422849
Adam Jones35282
George Altman35101205

And here’s the list of the top 10 home run hitters in NPB from the “real major leaguers” as Jones was referred to by Orix GM Junichi Fukura:

NameAgeMLB HRsNPB HRS
George Altman35101205
Daryl Spencer36105152
Willie Kirkland34148126
Jack Howell31108100
Clete Boyer3516271
Larry Parrish3525670
Mel Hall3313464
Roy White3616054
Andruw Jones3643450
Dick Stuart3422849

The kotatsu league: Buffaloes Jonesing for proven big-league power

The Orix Buffaloes announced Tuesday they had signed veteran major league outfielder Adam Jones to a two-year deal, according to Kyodo News. Junichi Fukura, the Pacific League club’s general manager, said he expects the 34-year-old to be able to adjust to Japan’s game.

Here’s Jones’ agent, Nez Balelo, talking at the baseball winter meetings about his client’s move:

Nez Balelo: “We didn’t kick around Andruw Jones.”

“A lot of foreign batters struggle with inside pitches, but from the video we’ve seen, it appears he can handle those,” Fukura told reporters at the baseball winter meetings in San Diego.

The contract is reported as being worth $8 million.

HERE’s a link to my review of veteran major-league home run hitters coming to Japan and playing more than one season.

Akiyama, Kikuchi in town for winter meetings

Free agent outfielder Shogo Akiyama arrived at the site of the winter meetings on Tuesday, while Mike Seal, the agent for Hiroshima Carp second baseman Ryosuke Kikuchi revealed to Kyodo News that his client, too, is in San Diego with roughly three weeks to go before the deadline for Kikuchi to sign a contract.

DeNA BayStars outfielder Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, whose posting period will end this week, is also currently in southern California.

Johnson takes his leave of Tigers

Right-handed reliever Pierce Johnson will not return to the Central League’s Hanshin Tigers for a second season, the Daily Sports reported on Tuesday.

Here’s Johnson’s NPB player page.

Johnson’s 40 holds was third in NPB behind Pacific League leader Naoki Miyanishi of the Nippon Ham Fighters’ 43, and Chunichi Dragons lefty Joely Rodriguez‘s 41. Rodriguez has since agreed to a two-year deal with the Texas Rangers.

Johnson’s curveball was rated by Delta Graphs as the most effective of any right-handed pitcher with over 40 innings last season, while his four-seam fastball was well above average.

According to the Daily Sports report, his agent, John Boggs, said he was in talks with nine to 10 big-league clubs.

Meanwhile, the Tigers have reached an agreement to sign pitcher Robert Suarez, who was released by the SoftBank Hawks.

Orix, Jones and Japan’s favorite game

Expect Adam Jones to be playing in Japan next year.

A day after Kyodo News reported in Japanese that the Orix Buffaloes had reached an agreement with the veteran big-league outfielder, the club’s GM, Junichi Fukura told reporters outside the winter meetings in San Diego that the two sides were “close and that talks were progressing well.”

But because it was not a complete and total rejection, Fukura’s non-denial denial amounts to a confirmation that the deal is done.

This may sound like a contradiction, but it’s not. Rather, it’s proof that the Buffaloes are playing Japanese sports’ favorite game: waiting on the time that suits the team to actually admit what everybody knows — while pretending nothing happens until they say so.

Japanese clubs do things at their speed, almost as if the news doesn’t exist unless they themselves announce it. It was that way with the Yomiuri Giants and the posting of pitcher Shun Yamaguchi. Numerous news agency’s all “broke” the news at the same time. The truth was out there before but the Giants had their timetable. This is not to pick on the Giants. Japanese soccer and rugby teams are famous for doing the same.

The kotatsu league: Kansai buzz

Tuesday’s news in Japan centered on the Hanshin Tigers and the Orix Buffaloes.

Jefry Marte‘s greatest Hanshin hits from 2019

Marte back for 2020

The Hanshin Tigers provided the real news on Tuesday, by announcing that first baseman Jefry Marte would be back for 2020 after concluding a $1.3 million contract after a debut season in which he posted a .381 on-base percentage and a .444 slugging average.

Marte’s NPB page is HERE.

He was quoted by the team in a press release as vowing to build on his first season by going all out from camp to win the pennant.

Jones in talks with Buffaloes

The Orix Buffaloes have been in talks with veteran big-league outfielder Adam Jones on a multiyear contract according to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com. Although the Buffaloes and their predecessors, the Orix BlueWave and Hankyu Braves have a history of big performances by foreign players, none have ever come with the kind of experience Jones had prior to arriving in Japan.

The Nikkan Sports indicated one obvious advantage to playing in Japan, being able to compete in the 2020 Olympic baseball tournament, which the majors will “support fully” by preventing its top players from participating.

Rodriguez to Rangers

The Texas Rangers added to their reputation as NPB’s biggest trading partner by signing lefty middle reliever Joely Rodriguez to a two-year deal worth 5.5 million, the Dallas Morning News confirmed after an initial report by MLB Network.

Rodriguez’s English language NPB player page is HERE.

The 28-year-old led the CL in holds and hold points (holds plus relief wins) in 2019. He threw his changeup a lot more in Japan and got a higher percentage of swings and misses, which could be a good sign when he returns to MLB.

Chicago’s Fighters

The Chicago Cubs’ 2020 coaching staff for new manager David Ross via Yahoo Sports, includes former Nippon Ham Fighters Andy Green and Terrmel Sledge. The Cubs also have former Fighter Yu Darvish, and Jim Adduci — whose dad played for the Taiyo Whales in 1987.

Here’s Sledge talking about being an MLB coach and playing in Japan.