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

Thursday, November 9, 2017

NYDN: Yankees can pay most for Shohei Otani, with one exception

MLB rules prohibit the Yankees from blowing away the competition when it comes to paying Shohei Otani.

But they’ll still have advantage over 28 other teams when it comes to how much they can offer the 23-year-old, two-way star from Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball League, assuming he’s eligible to come to the majors in 2018.

The Bombers can offer Otani a $3.25 million signing bonus, according to a report from the Associated Press. Only the Rangers, at $3.535 million, can offer more. The Twins are next, at $3.245 million.

Other big market clubs can offer the following: Red Sox ($462,000), Cubs ($300,000), Dodgers ($300,000).

It must be noted, however, that Otani isn’t coming over strictly for the money. If that were the case, he’d wait until he turns 25, when there is no limit on how much teams can offer.

I’d like to think this is an advantage, but Otani doesn’t seem to be the type who cares about money as the last sentence notes.

I’m fairly certain the Yankees will pursue Otani heavily, and they should.  But so should every single team in baseball.  I would think AL teams will have an advantage as he’s pretty much strictly a DH when he’s not pitching now (has not seen the OF since six games in 2014).

The question we obviously must ask is how good will Otani be?  We can look at what he’s done so far in Japan, courtesy of Baseball Reference  First, here are his offensive numbers.  As noted,  although he played some OF his first two years, he’s been strictly a DH for the last three.

 Year  Age  Tm  Lg  Lev  G  PA  AB  R  H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  SB  CS  BB  SO  BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
 2013  18  Nippon Ham  JPPL Fgn 77  204   189  14  45  15  1  3   20  4  1  12  64  .238   .284  .376  .660 
 2014  19  Nippon Ham  JPPL Fgn 87  234   212  32  58  17  1  10   31  1  0  21  48  .274   .338  .505  .842 
 2015  20  Nippon Ham  JPPL Fgn 70  119   109  15  22  4  0  5   17  1  0  8  43  .202   .252  .376  .628 
 2016  21  Nippon Ham  JPPL Fgn 104   382  323  65  104  18  1   22  67  7  2  54  98   .322  .416  .588  1.004 
 2017  22  Nippon Ham  JPPL Fgn 65  231   202  24  67  16  1  8   31  0  1  24  63  .332   .403  .540  .942 
 Total      403  1170  1035  150   296  70  4  48  166  13   4  119  316  .286  .358   .500  .859 

That 2016 line really grabs your attention.  He has fought some injuries in 2017 but his production is still pretty solid, albeit with a bit less power.

Here’s are his lines on the mound.

 Year  Age Tm  Lg Lev  W L  ERA RAvg  G GS  IP H  R ER  HR BB  IBB SO
 2013  18  Nippon Ham  JPPL Fgn 3  0   4.23  4.38  13  11  61.2   57  30  29  4  33  0   46 
 2014  19  Nippon Ham  JPPL Fgn 11  4   2.61  2.9  24  24  155.1   125  50  45  7  57  0   179 
 2015  20  Nippon Ham  JPPL Fgn 15  5   2.24  2.24  22  22  160.2   100  40  40  7  46  0   196 
 2016  21  Nippon Ham  JPPL Fgn 10  4   1.86  2.12  21  20  140   89  33  29  4  45  0   174 
 2017  22  Nippon Ham  JPPL Fgn 3  2   3.2  3.2  5  5  25.1  13   9  9  2  19  0  29 
 Total      42  15  2.52  2.69  85   82  543  384  162  152   24  200  0  624 

Injuries have kept Otani off the mound for a lot of 2017.  For what it’s worth, here’s how a couple of other recent Japanese pitchers that came over to MLB did through age 22.

 Tanaka  Age Tm  Lg Lev  W L  ERA RAvg  G GS  IP H  R ER  HR BB  IBB SO
 2007  18  Rakuten  JPPL Fgn 11  7   3.82  4.01  28  28  186.3   183  83  79  17  68  2   196 
 2008  19  Rakuten  JPPL Fgn 9  7   3.49  3.7  25  24  172.7   171  71  67  9  54  3   159 
 2009  20  Rakuten  JPPL Fgn 15  6   2.33  2.42  25  24  189.7   170  51  49  13  43  0   171 
 2010  21  Rakuten  JPPL Fgn 11  6   2.5  2.73  20  20  155   159  47  43  9  32  1   119 
 2011  22  Rakuten  JPPL Fgn 19  5   1.27  1.39  27  27  226.3   171  35  32  8  27  0   241 
 Total      65  31  2.61  2.78  125   123  930  854  287  270   56  224  6  886 
 Darvish  Age Tm  Lg Lev  W L  ERA RAvg  G GS  IP H  R ER  HR BB  IBB SO
 2005  18  Nippon Ham  JPPL Fgn 5  5   3.53  3.53  14  14  94.33   97  37  37  7  48  1   52 
 2006  19  Nippon Ham  JPPL Fgn 12  5   2.89  3.31  25  24  149.7   128  55  48  12  64  0   115 
 2007  20  Nippon Ham  JPPL Fgn 15  5   1.82  2.08  26  26  207.7   123  48  42  9  49  1   210 
 2008  21  Nippon Ham  JPPL Fgn 16  4   1.88  1.97  25  24  200.7   136  44  42  11  44  0   208 
 2009  22  Nippon Ham  JPPL Fgn 15  5   1.73  1.78  23  23  182   118  36  35  9  45  0   167 
 Total      63  24  2.2  2.37  113   111  834.3  602  220  204   48  250  2  752 

On a rate basis, Otani’s been just about as good as Masahiro Tanaka and Yu Darvish were through the same age, although they both were able to log significantly more innings.  Darvish pitched for the same team as Otani but Tanaka also pitched in the Pacific League, which uses the DH.

Anyway, what he’s done so far in a different league may give us some inkling of his talent but it doesn’t necessarily tell us what he would do in MLB.  I’ve finished up my first set of CAIRO 2018 and although it may change, here’s the first crack at projecting Otani as a DH.

 Percentile  PA AB  R H  2B 3B  HR RBI  BB SO  SB CS  avg obp  slg ops  oWAR
 80%  385  346  61   104  24  3  18  57  39   76  8  0  .301  .387   .546  .933  2.5 
 65%  368  330  54   94  20  2  16  51  35   77  6  1  .286  .363   .504  .867  1.6 
 Baseline 350  315   48  85  17  2  13  45   30  78  5  2  .271  .340   .461  .801  0.7 
 35%  280  252  36   65  12  1  9  33  22   66  3  2  .256  .316   .419  .734  0.0 
 20%  210  189  25   46  8  0  6  23  15   52  2  2  .242  .292   .376  .668  -0.5 

The average slash line for DHs in the AL last year was .243/.317/.418.  Given Otani’s youth and the fact that he bats left-handed, it’s not crazy to think he could give you that 65% forecast out of DH if he were a Yankee.

Otani isn’t really being looked at for his offense though.  While there’s some potential to get some offense out of him, teams want him for his arm.

Percentile W  L IP  H R  ER HR  BB SO  RA ERA  FIP WAR
 80%  16  5  187   132  66  60  12  48  175   3.18  2.90  2.98  6.7 
 65%  13  6  168   129  66  60  13  49  157   3.54  3.23  3.28  5.3 
 Baseline 10  7   150  126  65  60  14  49   140  3.93  3.60  3.60  4.1 
 35%  7  6  115   105  56  51  12  42  107   4.35  3.99  3.96  2.6 
 20%  4  5  83   82  44  41  10  34  77   4.81  4.42  4.38  1.4 

The standard caveats about projections apply, but in Otani’s case doubly so.  That being said, you can sign Otani and imagine getting 10 WAR out of him at the plate and on the mound.  But even if he just hits that 35% forecast as a pitcher and as a hitter, he’s still going to a valuable player to have.  And you can dream on his tools and the potential to market him as a true two-way player, the likes of which the game hasn’t seen Brooks Kieschnick or Micah Owings.

On the mound, Ohtani has as good a fastball as anyone in baseball. He’s been up to 102 mph and touches triple digits with some regularity. Ohtani throws a nasty splitter and a slider that’s just as good, and it all comes from a loose, athletic, 6-foot-5 frame and delivery.

“He’s every bit of a top-end-of-the-rotation starter,” said another international scouting director who saw Ohtani pitch recently. “He threw well the other day, even if his command was a little off. The stuff is there. He has all the pitches he needs. He’s 23 and everything works. He’s shown he can put it together in the Japan League. For me, he would go straight to the big leagues and figure it out there.”

That report alone—three plus pitches, with a tall and athletic frame to go along with easily repeatable mechanics—would be more than enough to have teams line up to try and sign Ohtani. But even those who feel the arm is ahead of the bat agree there are some impressive offensive tools to consider.

“He’s a big, strong guy,” the second scouting director said. “At 6-foot-5, he’s a long-lever guy. He has shortened up his swing a little and has the chance to hit for some power. When you have a top-end-of-rotation guy, he’s more of a pitcher for me. But he has the chance to be a good hitter. He’s a very, very good athlete.”

“Ohtani is already hitting really well at [Japan’s] highest level,” a third director said. “But you don’t see the pitching there that you see here.”

The first scouting director said he’d put Ohtani’s raw power among the best of any player at any level currently and also had recorded home-to-first times at 3.9 seconds, which is well above average and a part of his game not often discussed. All agreed that if Ohtani wanted to just hit, teams would be very interested in his services.

I’ve read that Otani idolizes Darvish and whomever signs Darvish will have an edge in signing Otani as well.  Combined with the fact that they have the most to offer him and are probably interested in bringing back Darvish, I’d say the Rangers are probably the favorites to wind up with Otani.  But it would awesome if the Yankees somehow managed to snag him.

--Posted at 9:46 am by SG / 112 Comments | - (0)

Comments

Page 2 of 2 pages:  <  1 2

As Mike A. pointed out Coney was involved with the MLBPA and has pro labor sympathies which the Steins might not like,

That strikes me as totally irrelevant.  Cone wouldn’t negotiate player salaries or have anything to do with player-management relations. 

What does seem like a potential problem is when Levine mouths off on Betances, or (unnamed executive, probably also Levine) criticizes Bird—I find it difficult to imagine Cone swallowing hard and saying nothing.  Or sitting and nodding quietly when the Steins ream him because Judge is in a slump and the team just went 4-11.

Of course it should be irrelevant

Just watched ESPN The Day The Series Stopped about the 1989 World Series. Intense.

“Clueless Joe.”

That was about him being “dumb” enough to take a job that people felt was toxic at the time, though, not a knock on his managing.

The townies, Cardinals, Giants and Phillies all in on. Stanton.

I feel like Cone has too many skeletons in his closet to get the job. As those 3 ladies ar Shea Stadium back in the day.

I dunno, if groupie sex eliminated guys from being manager, how many managers would still have jobs?

[104] I lived through the quake. Was stuck at work, or at 5:05pm I would have been in the section of highway that collapsed in Oakland.

[109]  I am relieved to know you had a lousy job in 1989.

Had a friend, no shit, fired from his job on the 80th floor of the WTC about 4 months before 9/11.

Page 2 of 2 pages:  <  1 2

NY Post: Yankees in surprising push for once-celebrated prospect
(93 Comments - 11/19/2017 9:53:46 pm)

Yankees.com: Unanimous decision: Judge named AL ROY
(75 Comments - 11/16/2017 10:18:50 am)

NJ.com: What Yankees manager candidate Eric Wedge revealed about interview
(39 Comments - 11/13/2017 7:20:55 pm)

NYDN: Yankees can pay most for Shohei Otani, with one exception
(112 Comments - 11/11/2017 3:08:24 am)

Yankees.com: Judge up for ROY & MVP; Sevy for Cy Young
(64 Comments - 11/9/2017 1:48:23 pm)

NJ.com: Which prospects will Yankees protect from Rule 5 Draft?
(47 Comments - 11/7/2017 9:40:41 am)

Yankees.com: Tanaka declines to opt out, will stay with Yanks
(61 Comments - 11/6/2017 1:58:25 pm)

NY Post: Masahiro Tanaka is Yankees’ first offseason domino
(48 Comments - 11/3/2017 7:34:09 pm)

Yankees.com: Judge, Gardner among Gold Glove finalists
(113 Comments - 11/2/2017 11:30:29 am)

NY Times: Joe Girardi Is Out as Yankees’ Manager
(250 Comments - 10/30/2017 8:43:59 am)