Tag Archives: Alex Guerrero

Giants, Swallows swap

The Yomiuri Giants sent 25-year-old left-handed pitcher Kazuto Taguchi to the Central League rival Yakult Swallows on Monday in exchange for power-hitting 23-year-old infielder Taishi Hirooka in what is looking like a pattern for the Giants.

Taguchi, who has been primarily a fastball, slider pitcher, had big seasons for the Giants in 2016 and 2017. His fastball (average velocity 135.7 kph according to Delta Graphs) was the slowest among ERA-title qualified pitchers in 2016 and second slowest in 2017. In relief the past two seasons, he’s ratcheted that up to 140 kph or so. He began using a split two years ago.

Hirooka strikes out and hasn’t hit for average but does have power, which makes this a kind of bookend to the trade that sent Hirokazu Sawamura to Lotte for slugging infielder Kazuya Katsuki.

That trade sent a right-handed pitcher making $1.5 million for a young left-handed hitting slugging minor league infielder making close to the NPB minimum $60,000. This one sent a left-hander making about $670,000 and brought in a young right-handed slugging infielder making about a quarter of that.

Both of those moves came after we heard the Giants front office justify dumping outfielder Alex Guerrero “to save money,” a phrase the Giants are not well known for using.

As I noted somewhere, Kazuya Katsuki did extremely well for the Giants in the Eastern League after the Sawamura trade. This happens a lot, but if it continues, chalk one up for the Giants’ analytics and pro scouting staff for seeing a player whose ability was under-represented by his performance data.

Steve Martin’s staff

Does anyone remember the Steve Martin line from when he was doing comedy about not getting high but “getting small?” With the addition of the 1.71-meter Taguchi, the Swallows now have three of the 10 first-team pitchers from last season who were under 1.72 meters tall.

The median weighted height of all 12 pitching staffs last season was 181.35 meters. The figures in the table below are based on those published on NPB’s website.

TeamAvg height weighted by IP
Swallows179.01 cm
Marines180.48 cm
Eagles181.09 cm
Dragons181.26 cm
Lions181.47 cm
Buffaloes182.33 cm
Giants182.38 cm
BayStars182.41 cm
Hawks183.16 cm
Carp183.83 cm
Fighters184.33 cm
Tigers185.52 cm

NPB games, news of July 28, 2019

The league leaders fired warning shots over the bows of their pursuers on Sunday as both the Pacific League’s SoftBank Hawks and the Central League’s Yomiuri Giants won lopsided games to avoid being swept at home.

Central League

Giants 16, Tigers 4

At Tokyo Dome, Alex Guerrero and Ginjiro Sumitani each hit grand slams for Yomiuri as right-hander Toshiki Sakurai (5-1) watched as his teammates overturned a 1-0 first-inning deficit with seven runs in the bottom of the first.

Sakurai struck out six while allowing three runs over seven innings.

Former Chicago Cub Kosuke Fukudome homered for the Tigers, becoming the 42nd player in Japan to score 1,000 runs.

Game highlights are HERE.

Dragons 4, BayStars 2

At Nagoya Dome, two streaks were snapped as lefty Kotaro Kasahara (3-1), in his second start back from a three-month injury layoff, allowed two runs over six innings.

Three of Chunichi’s runs came on sacrifice flies, as did one of DeNA’s — when the BayStars loaded the bases in the sixth with no outs. Neftali Soto, last year’s CL home run leader drove in that run and also hit his 27th home run.

The Dragons’ win snapped an eight-game losing streak, while the BayStars had pushed into second place on the back of a seven-game win streak.

Carp 12, Swallows 5

At Jingu Stadium, Allen Kuri (5-5) allowed two runs over seven innings, while 19-year-old rookie Kaito Kozono went 3-for-4 with a homer, a walk, two runs and two RBIs as Hiroshima smashed Yakult.

The Carp’s eight-game win streak is now their second-longest of the season and ties the SoftBank Hawks for NPB’s second longest.

Pacific League

Hawks 9, Buffaloes 2

At Yafuoku Dome, SoftBank’s Cuban lefty Ariel Miranda (4-3) won for the first time since May 19 with six shutout innings, while Orix’s Daichi Takeyasu suffered his first career defeat. The rookie, who was acquired as free agent compensation from the Hanshin Tigers, fell to 2-1 after surrendering seven runs on seven hits and a walk over two-plus innings.

After the game, Orix manager Norifumi Nishimura blamed Takeyasu’s lack of control and the inability to bunt in the top of the first after the leadoff man reached as the key factors in the loss. This led me to do some quick research HERE.

Seiichi Uchikawa, one of two players to win batting championships in each league, had his 350th career double in the first inning. he’s fourth among active players. The others are Kosuke Fukudome (389), Kazuya Fukuura (388), and Shinnosuke Abe (353).

Game highlights are HERE.

Marines 4, Eagles 3

At Zozo Marine Stadium, Seiya Inoue walked three times, scored twice himself and contributed to the winning run by drawing a leadoff walk in the ninth. Pinch-runner Hiromi Oka stole second, was sacrificed to third and scored on an Ikuhiro Kiyota’s sac fly as Lotte beat Rakuten.

Game highlights are HERE.

Lions 8, Fighters 7, 10 innings

At MetLife Dome, Seibu closer Tatsushi Masuda surrendered a three-run, game-tying homer in the ninth to Kensuke Kondo, but Fumikazu Kimura singled in the 10th and scored from first base on a throwing error by Nippon Ham shortstop Takuya Nakashima.

Lions starter Zach Neal appeared set for the win having allowed three runs over seven innings while striking out seven, while Deunte Heath (1-2) did get the decision after striking out two in a 1-2-3 10th.

Japan home run leader Hotaka Yamakawa, one of the Lions who didn’t go deep in Saturday’s six-home run loss to Nippon Ham, hit his 31st homer and drove in four runs for the Lions.

Game highlights are HERE.