The Curse of Jerry Hairston, Jr./Eric Hinske:

Saturday, October 15, 2011

All Darvish, All the Time

Upon further reflection, I’ve decided to delve a bit deeper into the Yu Darvish situation.  In my first post about him, I used a matched set of innings for all pitchers that came to MLB from Japan as a way to try and estimate how Darvish’s performance may translate.  The problem is that when I looked a bit deeper into it, I found that most of the pitchers who came over were relievers and they generally had better success.  Since we know that relieving tends to be easier than starting, using those pitchers in the sample may not be all that telling.  I also wondered if using career statistics was of much use since player talent is not static.

So I decided to do the same basic idea from that same post, but restricted to the pitchers who were mainly starters in both Japan and MLB.  I’m also restricting the Japanese stats to the 3 years prior to coming to MLB, using a basic 3-2-1 weighing (most recent year weighted at 3).

It’s a much shorter list.

Igawa, Kei
Irabu, Hideki
Ishii, Kazuhisa
Kawakami, Kenshin
Kuroda, Hiroki
Matsuzaka, Daisuke
Nomo, Hideo
Yoshii, Masato

Because it’s a much shorter list, we of course have to be concerned about the dreaded small sample size thing.  But I think the readers here generally understand that, so we’ll press on.

Here are the stats of those pitchers over the three years prior to entering MLB plus their entire MLB record.

Player Year Team Lg Level Age IP H R ER HR BB SO RA ERA FIP
Igawa, Kei 2004 Hanshin Jap Cen Intl 24 200 190 95 83 29 54 228 4.27 3.73 3.61
Igawa, Kei 2005 Hanshin Jap Cen Intl 25 172 199 91 74 23 60 145 4.75 3.86 4.30
Igawa, Kei 2006 Hanshin Jap Cen Intl 26 209 180 77 69 17 49 194 3.32 2.97 3.10
Igawa, Kei 2004-2006 Hanshin Jap Cen Intl 24-26 195 188 85 73 21 54 183 3.90 3.36 3.54
MLB 72 89 54 53 15 37 53 6.78 6.66 5.99
Irabu, Hideki 1994 Chiba Lotte Jap Pac Intl 25 207 170 77 70 0 94 239 3.34 3.04 2.25
Irabu, Hideki 1995 Chiba Lotte Jap Pac Intl 26 203 158 70 57 0 72 239 3.10 2.53 1.91
Irabu, Hideki 1996 Chiba Lotte Jap Pac Intl 27 157 108 57 42 0 59 167 3.26 2.40 2.20
Irabu, Hideki 1994-1996 Chiba Lotte Jap Pac Intl 25-27 181 135 65 52 0 69 203 3.22 2.57 2.10
MLB 514 547 307 294 91 175 405 5.38 5.15 4.95
Ishii, Kazuhisa 1999 Yakult Jap Cen Intl 25 133 123 75 71 16 71 162 5.08 4.80 3.93
Ishii, Kazuhisa 2000 Yakult Jap Cen Intl 26 183 137 54 53 15 73 210 2.66 2.61 3.17
Ishii, Kazuhisa 2001 Yakult Jap Cen Intl 27 175 135 74 66 18 73 173 3.81 3.39 3.81
Ishii, Kazuhisa 1999-2001 Yakult Jap Cen Intl 25-27 171 134 68 63 17 73 184 3.56 3.30 3.60
MLB 564 508 310 278 70 354 435 4.95 4.44 5.15
Kawakami, Kenshin 2006 Chunichi Jap Cen Intl 31 215 166 74 60 22 39 194 3.10 2.51 3.27
Kawakami, Kenshin 2007 Chunichi Jap Cen Intl 32 167 175 72 66 18 23 145 3.87 3.55 3.28
Kawakami, Kenshin 2008 Chunichi Jap Cen Intl 33 117 99 33 30 11 25 112 2.53 2.30 3.15
Kawakami, Kenshin 2006-2008 Chunichi Jap Cen Intl 31-33 150 136 53 47 15 27 137 3.16 2.81 3.23
MLB 244 251 130 117 25 89 164 4.80 4.32 4.28
Kuroda, Hiroki 2005 Hiroshima Jap Cen Intl 30 213 183 76 75 17 42 165 3.22 3.17 3.28
Kuroda, Hiroki 2006 Hiroshima Jap Cen Intl 31 189 169 49 39 12 21 144 2.33 1.85 2.84
Kuroda, Hiroki 2007 Hiroshima Jap Cen Intl 32 180 176 78 71 20 42 123 3.91 3.56 3.98
Kuroda, Hiroki 2005-2007 Hiroshima Jap Cen Intl 30-32 188 175 68 61 17 35 137 3.25 2.91 3.46
MLB 699 667 308 268 64 163 523 3.97 3.45 3.59
Matsuzaka, Daisuke 2004 Seibu Jap Pac Intl 23 146 127 50 47 7 42 127 3.08 2.90 2.95
Matsuzaka, Daisuke 2005 Seibu Jap Pac Intl 24 215 172 63 55 13 49 226 2.64 2.30 2.57
Matsuzaka, Daisuke 2006 Seibu Jap Pac Intl 25 186 138 50 44 13 34 200 2.42 2.13 2.51
Matsuzaka, Daisuke 2004-2006 Seibu Jap Pac Intl 23-25 189 148 54 48 12 40 197 2.59 2.29 2.59
MLB 623 569 304 294 64 301 568 4.39 4.25 4.16
Nomo, Hideo 1992 Kinetsu Jap Pac Intl 23 217 150 72 64 0 117 228 2.99 2.66 2.72
Nomo, Hideo 1993 Kinetsu Jap Pac Intl 24 243 201 111 100 0 148 276 4.11 3.70 2.76
Nomo, Hideo 1994 Kinetsu Jap Pac Intl 25 114 94 52 46 0 86 126 4.11 3.63 3.25
Nomo, Hideo 1992-1994 Kinetsu Jap Pac Intl 23-25 174 139 75 67 0 112 193 3.87 3.46 2.91
MLB 1976 1768 993 932 251 908 1918 4.52 4.24 4.29
Yoshii, Masato 1995 Yakult Jap Cen Intl 30 147 126 59 51 0 39 91 3.60 3.12 2.76
Yoshii, Masato 1996 Yakult Jap Cen Intl 31 180 154 71 65 0 47 145 3.54 3.24 2.37
Yoshii, Masato 1997 Yakult Jap Cen Intl 32 174 149 61 58 0 48 104 3.15 2.99 2.83
Yoshii, Masato 1995-1997 Yakult Jap Cen Intl 30-32 172 147 64 59 0 46 116 3.35 3.10 2.66
Yoshii, Masato_MLB MLB 757 805 408 389 112 222 447 4.85 4.62 4.82

Same list, just looking at three-year weighed average and MLB career. I’ve pro-rated each pitcher’s innings to the smaller of the two.

Igawa, Kei Intl 72 69 31 27 8 20 67 3.90 3.36 3.54
MLB 72 89 54 53 15 37 53 6.78 6.66 5.99
Irabu, Hideki Intl 181 135 65 52 16 69 203 3.22 2.57 3.25
MLB 181 193 108 103 32 62 143 5.38 5.15 4.95
Ishii, Kazuhisa Intl 171 134 68 63 17 73 184 3.56 3.30 3.60
MLB 171 154 94 84 21 107 132 4.95 4.44 5.15
Kawakami, Kenshin Intl 150 136 53 47 15 27 137 3.16 2.81 3.23
MLB 150 155 80 72 15 55 101 4.80 4.32 4.28
Kuroda, Hiroki Intl 188 175 68 61 17 35 137 3.25 2.91 3.46
MLB 188 180 83 72 17 44 141 3.97 3.45 3.59
Matsuzaka, Daisuke Intl 189 148 54 48 12 40 197 2.59 2.29 2.59
MLB 189 173 92 89 19 91 173 4.39 4.25 4.16
Nomo, Hideo Intl 174 139 75 67 11 112 193 3.87 3.46 3.73
MLB 174 156 88 82 22 80 169 4.52 4.24 4.29
Yoshii, Masato Intl 172 147 64 59 12 46 116 3.35 3.10 3.57
MLB 172 183 93 88 25 50 101 4.85 4.62 4.82
Average Intl 162 135 60 53 13 53 154 3.31 2.94 3.35
MLB 162 160 86 81 21 66 127 4.80 4.47 4.54
%Change Intl->MLB 1.18 1.45 1.52 1.56 1.25 0.82 1.45 1.52 1.35

The data for Irabu, Nomo and Yoshii was missing HRs allowed, so I used the average of difference between MLB HRs and Japan HRs allowed by the others to fudge it.  That probably introduces more error in here, so keep it in mind.

This is not nearly as optimistic as the set of data that includes relievers, which I guess feels right to me.

Darvish, Yu 214 150 43 38 6 41 240 1.81 1.59 1.88
Darvish->Average 214 178 62 57 9 51 197 2.62 2.42 2.62
Darvish->Igawa, Kei 214 194 75 75 11 78 189 3.15 3.14 3.19
Darvish->Irabu, Hideki 214 214 72 75 11 37 168 3.03 3.18 2.83
Darvish->Ishii, Kazuhisa 214 173 60 51 7 61 172 2.52 2.14 2.88
Darvish->Kawakami, Kenshin 214 172 65 58 6 85 177 2.75 2.44 3.08
Darvish->Kuroda, Hiroki 214 155 52 45 6 52 247 2.21 1.88 1.97
Darvish->Matsuzaka, Daisuke 214 176 73 70 9 93 211 3.08 2.94 3.10
Darvish->Nomo, Hideo 214 169 50 46 11 29 210 2.11 1.95 2.34
Darvish->Yoshii, Masato 214 187 62 56 12 45 211 2.62 2.37 2.59

The first line here is Darvish’s 2009-2011 three-year weighed average.  Each subsequent line is what his stats would like if he saw the same % difference in his component stats that the average starter did, as well as how it would look if he ended up following the path of each individual starter.

Think about this.  If Darvish’s struggles to the same relative extent that Kei Igawa has, he’d have an ERA of 3.15.

I think Darvish very well might be one of the best pitchers on the planet right now.  He’s probably not, but the Yankees should really go all out for him.  Just in case he is.

--Posted at 9:28 am by SG / 62 Comments | - (0)


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Awesome work as always. Perfect read with a morning cup of coffee on Saturday.

Question for you SG - did you consider the run scoring context of each season?

This post really needs some pie charts.

So, Igawa is going to be a FA in 2 weeks, right? I wonder where he’ll catch on. I really hope he becomes a decent back of the rotation pitcher for an NL team. Seems like a good guy in a crappy situation.

Ok, ok, I’m sold. Yeesh.

I disagree with the conclusion.  I look at those guys and, except for maybe Koruda, I don’t see any Japanese guys who have come over and really been successful over a long period of time.  (And by “successful,” I mean achieved at the level of a no. 1 or 2, not just was average or at little above.  Not that the Yankees couldn’t use another league-average starter, but in this case, it’s going to cost a lot of yen to get him.)

IOW, we still haven’t seen the pitching equivalent to Ichiro or Matsui. 

I also question whether Darvish is THAT good.  I glanced at his stats this year, and it looks like he is one of the top 2-3-4 pitchers in Japan.  There were something like 26 of them who had sub-3 ERAs.  I would grant that he’s among the very best SPs in Japan, but I’m not convinced he’s head-and-shoulders above the rest of the field.

Again, if he magically appeared on the Yankees’ roster, I’d be excited to have him and see what he could do.  But it’s going to cost a lot of money and we would have no real idea of what we’d see from him.  We think it’s a big deal when a pitcher comes over from Pittsburgh; we’re not sure how he’s going to perform in the Bronx.  Coming from Japan to MLB is a much, much greater leap.  Seems far more likely the guy would disappoint than that he’d excel.

[6] I don’t think (but maybe I’m wrong) that anyone is saying this guy steps in as the #2 starter to begin the season.

I think of it this way, which is the way that SG or someone put it a few threads ago: Darvish’s background is, at least, comparable to a college pitcher. If he had these numbers as a 22/23 y/o college pitcher, he would be a top 10 pick.  Since the Yankees can never get a shot at a top 10 pick, why not just buy one?

I’d like them to grab Darvish, start him in SWB (wherever that may be) to get him used to pitching every 5 days.

I hope the Rangers aren’t aware of this blog.  Maybe some posts should only be readable by long-time commenters.

did you consider the run scoring context of each season?


There were something like 26 of them who had sub-3 ERAs.

Sub-3, 1.44.  Same thing really.  You’re only talking about a difference of 40 runs over 232 innings.  That’s basically nothing.

If i were the Yankees I’d start a PR campaign saying things like “we’ve learned our lesson when it comes to Japanese pitchers, the performance doesn’t translate.”

Hopefully that would depress the market and then they can back-channel woo him and bring him in for a non-crazy price tag.

“Hopefully that would depress the market”

I suspect that the other teams would interpret that as a head-fake.

The art of it is in how you sell the lie.

So, Igawa is going to be a FA in 2 weeks, right?

His contract is up, but I think the Yankees still control his rights for one or two more years.  He doesn’t have nearly enough MLB service time to be arbitration eligible, or enough MiL service time to be a MiL FA.  So it looks like they could just renew him if they wanted to, and he won’t be a FA unless and until they release him.  I think he’d be eligible for the rule 5 draft if they didn’t release him.

Seems like a good guy in a crappy situation.

Lots of good guys aren’t talented enough to pitch in MLB.

The Yankees need to hire SG.

Another Yankee farmhand we let get away:

Weeden idolized the Yankees while growing up in Edmond, Okla., and his favorite players were Derek Jeter and Don Mattingly. So when the team picked him as a pitcher in the second round of the 2002 amateur draft, Weeden said it was an easy call. He was traded in 2003 to the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of the deal for pitcher Kevin Brown, and also spent time with the Kansas City Royals, before shoulder problems wore down his pitching motion and ended his career after five seasons in the minors.

“The opportunity was too good, and baseball was always my thing,” Weeden said.

Weeden, who walked on at Oklahoma State in 2007 and redshirted, has completed 166 of 219 passes for 1,880 yards and 15 touchdowns this season. Of the Heisman-hopeful quarterbacks whose teams are ranked in the top 7, Weeden has the best completion percentage (75.8)

So he’s what, 28?

[14] Yeah, but that would suck for us.

[13] But they would have to put Igawa back on the 40 man to keep him around, and we know how much they value those spots. Just ask Al Aceves.

I’m very much starting to come around to the idea of a Darvish.  It’s really just the cost that’s a hangup for most, I would imagine.  Otherwise, it seems worth the risk since they don’t lose any draft picks.

And this rotation needs another top-end starter.  Not much else out there at this point.

[14] Seriously, does Cashman read this blog?  Is there any other yankees only blogs that break down numbers as well as this one?

[13] I think I read somewhere that Japanese players become FAs as soon as their initial U.S. contracts are up, regardless of service time or anything like that. I think MLB has some kind of compromise policy in place. So Igawa should be a free agent soon, even though he’s only been in MLB 5 years.

Updated: I found it on RAB. It is mentioned in the article here, though it isn’t really substantiated:

But they would have to put Igawa back on the 40 man to keep him around

Why?  How is Igawa’s situation different than any other player who was briefly in the majors and then cleared waivers and was outrighted to the minors?  He has less than one year of MLB service time.  He has five years in the organization; you need seven to become a minor league free agent.  AFAICT, he remains under team control and they could keep him in the minor league system for two more years unless someone picked him in the rule 5 draft.  And as we all know, any team that did that would have to keep him on their 25-man roster all year or offer him back.

Please don’t misunderstand—I can’t see them doing anything other than releasing him.  I’m just talking about what they do or don’t have to do.

16 yep

When does this posting take place if he decides to post?

[21] “Isn’t really substantiated” is putting it mildly.  If there were a policy in place, then Matsui wouldn’t have had to negotiate a clause in his contract to that effect, and Boras wouldn’t have been insisting on a similar clause for Matsuzaka until the Red Sox made the point moot by giving him a six-year contract.

[23] Darvish doesn’t get to decide.  He can ask to be posted, but his team doesn’t have to comply.  Financially, it makes a lot of sense for Nippon to get a big wad of cash in lieu of one more season of Darvish.  Of course, from the players’ POV, it might make a lot of financial sense to play out that final season and become a full-fledged free agent.

From the ever-reliable Wikipedia:

When a player under contract with a Nippon Professional Baseball team wishes to play in Major League Baseball, he must notify his current team’s management and request that they make him available for posting during the next posting period (November 1 – March 1).[4] The NPB team can reject this request, and the player will not be posted.[22] However, if the team consents, the player is presented to the MLB Commissioner. The Commissioner then notifies all MLB teams of the posted player and holds a four-day-long silent auction during which interested MLB teams submit sealed bids in U.S. dollars to the Commissioner’s Office. After the allotted four days have passed, the Commissioner closes the bidding process and notifies the posted player’s NPB team of the highest bid amount but not who the bidding team is. The NPB team then has four days to either accept or reject the non-negotiable bid amount.[16]

If the bid is rejected, the NPB team retains rights to the player. If it is accepted, the successful MLB team is granted the exclusive rights to negotiate with the player for 30 days. If the player and the MLB team agree on contract terms before the 30-day period has expired, the NPB team receives the bid amount as a transfer fee within five business days. The player is then free to play for his new MLB team in the coming season.[16] The transfer fee is not included when calculating an MLB team’s total payroll, which is subject to a luxury tax when it exceeds $155 million.[23][24] If the MLB team cannot come to a contract agreement with the posted player, then no fee is paid and the rights to the player revert to his NPB team. A player can request to be posted again in subsequent years, and the process is repeated with no advantage to the club that had won the bidding the previous year.[16]

[24] Something is seriously wrong when we’re arguing about the Ghost of Kei Igawa. You could be right, but I just don’t think it’s open and shut. Maybe Matsui and Matsuzaka just wanted to be extra cautious. Perhaps they wanted it in their contracts in case MLB decided to change the rules. You’ve never negotiated for something, even when you were aware of a general policy in place?

Occupy Yu Darvish.

[27] My what ?

[28] It’s an institute of higher education:  U. Darvish.

If he signs with us how many references to the The Mevlevi Order will we hear?  Serling will definitely call him Mevlevilik.

Something is seriously wrong when we’re arguing about the Ghost of Kei Igawa.

Something probably on the order of losing (again) to the Tigers in the first round so there are no real games to talk about.

And we dont have Cliff Lee or Jeter to kick around.

Maybe we can kick CC around? I hadn’t really thought of it this way:

[31] I’m protesting the end of the season by occupying my recliner and watching as much as possible until the end of the month when my Netflix cancelation takes effect.

[34] We all must make sacrifices for what we believe in.

Tigers suck they couldn’t beat….oh wait.

Not sure that leap was necessary, if your purpose is to catch the ball. It may have served other non-game-outcome-related purposes.

He only spent two years in Japan, but I think it’d be interesting to include Colby Lewis.  Are there any other MLB starting pitchers that went to Japan and came back?

SG, this is fascinating. What kind of scouting reports are there on Darvish? And compare them to the scouting reports that were received for Matsuzaka et al? For instance, how well does his stuff compare to, say, a Strasburg? O comparable college pitchers that are likely to command great interest, like Gerrit Cole?

From Wikipedia, his four seamer sits around 91-94, and tops out at 97. While that is not Strasburg, that seems David Robertson as a starting pitcher. But the same was the consensus on Matsuzaka as well.

Darvish seems a clear outlier compared to his peers in Japan. Is it because he has developed a good splitter, and splitters are not very common in Japan? I remember Matsui saying that the biggest adjustment he had to make was to get adjusted to the split finger fastball, so that may bode well to his adjustment compared to say, Kei Igawa, who had an average fastball, and insisted on pitching up in the zone.

But what if we compare him to Matsuzaka, who came with more or less a similar fanfare? I think Matsuzaka was another pitcher who had the repertoire to succeed in the MLB, in that he had a split finger fastball as well. But what I perceived to be Matsuzaka’s problem was the same one that Phil Hughes has had: inability to finish off hitters after getting ahead because of a lack of command. Or perhaps, almost always starting a hitter with a 2-0 count, and being then throw strikes when he absolutely has to. This could be because Japanese hitters are much less patient, and are more into NL style smallball: make contact and then run, whereas AL hitters make you throw strikes. If that is the case, then a pitcher in Japan will have a low BB rate, and be more efficient compared to MLB. When facing MLB hitters, this is the aspect that has the biggest impact on the hitters. I think it is no coincidence that the two most successful pitchers that came over from Japan, Nomo and later Kuroda, both plied their trades in the NL.

It might help that MLB is in a lower run environment these days, but I think there are some reasons to be cautious. But I agree, Darvish should be a prime target of the Yankees.

Seeing the extent of the Rangers celebration and remembering the 2009 alcs celebration makes me very happy to be a Yankee fan.

[40] Most scouting reports have been super positive. The stuff doesn’t seem drastically different in quality from Matsuzaka, but his command is supposed to be what really seperates him from the pack.

Fighting the last battle, I’d want to know that he’s able to pitch down in the zone.

This is from 2008:

and Pitch F/X info from the WBC:

“Up and away seems to be his preference, but down the pipe may be his favorite.”


[45] I think it’s important to note that this is from one 5 IP start during the WBC in 2009. But yeah, that’s not entirely what you want to hear.

[46] I don’t even know what the difference between “favorite” and “preference” is here.  And of course as you note it’s SSS, in a game where he had control problems early.  And presumably it’s not his regular catcher, or mound, and maybe the ball’s larger.  But the “they didn’t hit him hard, except for his four-seamer” bit also didn’t sound so great.

I’d be happy if the Yankees took a flyer on Yu in addition to (not instead of) whatever other moves they might make to shore up the rotation.  But I’m still really skeptical of the notion that, given a sufficient degree of success in Japan, a pitcher can be predicted to succeed in MLB (especially in the ALE).  It’s apparently either a very different game there, beginning with the fact that they use a different ball and a different strike zone as compared to MLB. 

I mentioned above there were 26 SPs in Japan this year with sub-3 ERAs.  Of course, Darvish’s ERA was 1.44, so perhaps my cutoff of 3.00 is unfair to him.  But there were still 5 SPs with sub-1.75 ERAs.  Darvish’s 1.44 was second-best behind the leader’s 1.33.  So Yu’s clearly among the best pitchers in Japan, but he’s not out ahead of the pack a la Secretariat.

BTW, it’s interesting to note some of the other pitchers putting up sparkling ERAs who might be available—and cheaper—if the Yankees want to take another shot at the Japanese leagues.  The Carp and the Tigers each have a 6’6” RH who put up ERAs of 2.50 and 2.72 this year.  The Tigers also have have a 6’4” rightie with a 2.90 ERA.  So maybe Cashman should make inquiries about Bryan Bullington, Randy Messenger, or Jason Standridge.

Irabu was 6’4”, 240 lbs.  Size isn’t everything.

I don’t even know what the difference between “favorite” and “preference” is here.

So inscrutable, those Japanese pitchers.

[48] I think it’s entirely reasonable to be concerned about a pitcher’s transition from Japan to MLB, for all the reasons given, plus perhaps one more: language barrier between the player and coaches, which might be an obstacle to helping with that transition. That and perhaps cultural differences that come into play. So, two.

It seem to me that in such a tenuous business, you’d want to be using something other than ERA, which is unreliable for evaluating pitcher talent and even worse at evaluating the talent difference between leagues.

And none of this really speaks to the question of how Matsuzaka’s (or anyone’s) difficulty in making the jump says anything about Darvish.

I do agree with the idea that this shouldn’t be a question of Darvish vs. any hypothetical trade. I think that should be subsequent to the whole FA vs. trade as a strategy question. Darvish vs. other FA’s on one hand, then each trade scenario against the others. Then pick one or both.

[48] What about over the past 3 years? Has anyone else had the same kind of sustained success/dominance that Darvish has displayed since going pro?

But can he close games? That would be valuable because we don’t know if Robertson can pitch the ninth when Mariano get beamed back to heaven.

[51]  I don’t have any idea.  My point is just that there doesn’t seem to be any reliable way to predict how a player from Japan will perform in MLB (other than to draw the broad conclusion that he won’t be as good).  This goes for scouting, too.  I seem to recall that the scouting reports generally touted Dice-K as a can’t-miss, top-of-the-rotation guy.

[53] Sort of like how you can’t always predict how a MiL player will end up in the ML. There are plenty of “can’t miss” prospects who miss. If Darvish is truly and elite 1st round talent, why not pay for him?

It’s not quite the same as signing a first round pick, but he’s also closer in readiness than 90% of draft picks. Since the posting fee does not count against luxury tax and his annual salary will probably be pretty reasonable given the possibility of his performance.

It certainly seems like a better idea than Brackman was.

This may be a bit of a side issue, I guess, but one that has puzzled me for some time:  Do we really know Kei Igawa is a 6 ERA/FIP/RA guy as opposed to a 7 or an 8?  I’m not talking about SSS per se, but just the fact that guys who put up 6-ish ERAs don’t continue to pitch in the majors.  And when they are pitching in the majors, they get removed from games, often with men on base, before they can give up even more runs. ISTM that while it’s theoretically possible for someone to have a true talent level that would translate into a 9 ERA, it would be practically impossible for him to actually generate those kinds of number over an entire season, for example, because no team would put up with somebody that bad.  To make a truly fair ERA/FIP/RA comparison between a guy like Igawa and an successful big-league pitcher, Igawa would not only have to pitch in the majors, but also pitch a comparable number of innings per start as the successful pitcher.  IOW, you’d have to hand him the ball 30 times a season and then leave him out there 6+ innings, come what may.  Or so I would think.  Am I missing something?

[55] I think that Igawa is probably a better true talent than his MLB record. But he seemed to have a very steep/long learning curve that the Yankees were not willing to wait for. I think he’s similar to Karstens in that he’ll be a decent starter in a larger or NL park.

[54]  I don’t really disagree with you, but it comes down to what it will cost.  A MiL prospect doesn’t present quite the same dynamic, because each team has x number of draft picks and you have to use them or lose them.  It’s a choice AMONG different potential picks, so you base that on whatever information you have.  With a Japanese player and posting fees, you have a choice whether or not to invest tens of millions of dollars in a player who has never played American baseball, or use that money for signing or re-signing FAs, for example. 

Again, I’m not opposed to the Yankees’ taking a flyer on Yu Darvish, but after the Dice-K and Igawa experiences, I wouldn’t want the Yankees in any way COUNTING on Darvish to make a successful transition from Japanese baseball to the Bronx.  I would support it as more of a depth move with considerable upside.

Yes, the extreme sucky-end tail of the distribution is artificially removed.  But how much does it matter, really?  As a practical matter, there’s no real difference between a 6+ FIP guy and a 7.5+ FIP guy, because neither one can actually be a productive MLB pitcher.  And when you do what SG is trying to do here, being off by that much on Igawa’s rather smallish contribution to the total sample doesn’t really skew the results all that much.  Possibly better to consider Igawa/total as the chance that somebody will simply turn out to be a total loss.

Or you could just use Igawa’s MLE’s.  rolleyes

He only spent two years in Japan, but I think it’d be interesting to include Colby Lewis.  Are there any other MLB starting pitchers that went to Japan and came back?

Former Yankee great Darrell May.  John Bale too, but he was a reliever primarily.  I can look at Lewis/May and anyone else that comes to mind some time over the next couple of days.

Gardner’s page at BBR is up for $280.  The TSBGFC can’t raise its dues enough to cover that.  Esp. since last time it was $30.

Joba’s page is at $110.

Yeah, Mo’s page was almost $1000 to renew so I had to pass.  Seems the recession isn’t affecting BBRef.

There’s also this guy who went the other direction at age 28.

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USA Today: Red Sox acquire Chris Sale in blockbuster trade with White Sox
(57 Comments - 12/8/2016 7:38:49 am) Yankees, Holliday agree to one-year deal
(46 Comments - 12/7/2016 2:27:06 am) Yanks pursuing Chapman, talking to Jansen
(70 Comments - 12/6/2016 5:35:04 pm) Yankees prep for non-tender deadline
(57 Comments - 12/5/2016 9:37:24 am) Peace & glove: Owners, players reach CBA deal
(12 Comments - 12/1/2016 8:33:36 pm)

Fox Sports: Sources: Baseball’s 21-year run of labor peace could be in jeopardy
(75 Comments - 12/1/2016 3:10:24 am) Eovaldi among three pitchers released by Yanks
(29 Comments - 12/1/2016 1:05:06 am)

Fox Sports: The Yankees are positioned to make major moves
(30 Comments - 11/26/2016 12:53:32 am)