At the Hall of Fame on Tuesday, I bumped into two people I knew, Waseda University manager Satoru Komiyama, and Hideaki Okubo, who is returning to manage corporate league team Eneos after a spell as Keio University’s manager.
I am keen to interview them and learn how they find and evaluate players.
The challenge is to stop trying to do everything by myself, but rather learn to ask for help from people who are willing to give it, and there are an amazing number of those people.
So today’s target is reaching out to six people: My teacher, Dan (for advice), the baseball editor of one of Japan’s major sports dailies, Komiyama and Okubo, and my two best NPB front office contacts.
Assignment 2: Pitcher Scouting Report
This time a pitcher. Since I’m a Swallows fan who focuses on pro ball so much, I was happy to find every pitch Yasunobu Okugawa threw in a 14-inning complete game at Koshien last year.
Again pressed for a physical description, I struggled until I say Kyle Hendricks.
I love Okugawa. The Swallows are one of the teams that do strength training so there’s a chance he won’t flat-line like Shintaro Fujinami.
My course is half over, and I’ve been dawdling about reaching out to people for interviews, so that’s my priority for today.
We need to do a minimum of two informational interviews for the course. In my analytics course, I made the mistake of not reading the syllabus before the start of the class, resulting in a lot of wasted time. I began reaching out the other day, starting with a scouting director for an NPB team I met a year ago.
Still, I need to break out of my comfort zone, which is casually contacting people I randomly run into in the course of writing about baseball. There is no plan or direction, but to be a scout in Japan will require building relationships with people all over the country and that means pursuing people I have no access to.
Assignment 1: Position Player Report
Our first scouting report assignment was to write about a position player. I picked Ryo Ota because he had a superb year in NPB’s Western League after being the Orix Buffaloes’ top draft pick out of powerhouse Tenri H.S.
I found a lot of youtube video of him from his school days, and a little from his pro debut and spring training BP.
Our scouting instructor, Hank Jones, wanted a physical comparison to an MLB player, but Ota isn’t like anyone I could find. He doesn’t look like Robinson Cano, although they are listed as the same height and weight, he sure does field like him.