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  • Every strikeout and hit Shohei Otani compiled in 2016


    • Shohei Otani is the best baseball player currently working in Japan, a 6-foot-4 slugger who’s just 22 years old and who also happens to be able to throw a baseball 101 mph. He’s Japanese Babe Ruth, and when he finally does come to MLB (could be as early as next season, but probably another year), he is going to make a lot, lot, lot of money.

      Also this week, in an exhibition game for Team Japan against Holland in the WBC, he hit a baseball out of stadium through a small hole in the roof, and no one had any idea what to do.

      Kazuto Yamazaki @Kazuto_Yamazaki
      There's a chance Shohei Otani not being the best-known baseball player in Japan. It might be this guy:

      Report from Sponichi outlet link above and other media outlets coming from Japan… multiple MLB teams have scouted, and have also shown interest in 16 year old outfielder, Mannami (1st year high school, playing for Kanagawa, Yokohama)… Of the 5 reported teams coming from the Major leagues (Yankees, Blue Jays, Athletics, Padres, and Dodgers)… it was the Toronto Blue Jays team that has shown “serious” interest in the 16 year old right-handed hitter, Mannami, even keeping a close eye on him since the start of the 98th National high school Baseball championship tournament, that’s being held at Kanagawa Prefecture this month at Yokohama stadium.

      Dan Evans, a top scout of the Blue Jays have acknowledged Mannami as a pure power hitter, even calling him as one of those rare “monster” (top-class) high school Baseball players, notable lists of those includes; Yu Darvish, Shohei Otani, Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Hideki Matsui… In terms of power, he’s been compared to slugging Miami Marlins outfielder, Giancarlo Stanton (video link), the player he also idolizes, and hopes to see in the Major leagues someday… Other than his hitting skills, Dan Evans is also pretty surprised at Mannami’s build for a 16 year old, even asking him (in person), if he’s really 16 years old.

      The 188 cm, and 90 kg, Mannami, born from a Congolese father, and Japanese mother (DOB: April 7, year 2000, born in Tokyo, Japan)… can also play first base, and pitcher, other than the outfield (leftfield, as main) position. In pitching, he can top out at 138 kp/h on his fastball velocity.


      • The current CBA could be replaced by one as soon as Dec. 1, so it is possible that none of these current rules will apply. But if MLB continues to use current rules for international signees this offseason as expected, Otani would be treated the same way as a 22-year-old Cuban looking to sign.

        That means that he is only eligible to sign a minor league deal with a signing bonus—no major league deals allowed. That in itself largely eliminates the chances of Otani being posted this offseason. While pretty much every major league team would have interest in bidding the $20 million maximum posting fee for the chance to negotiate a major league deal with Otani, the inability to sign him to a major league deal hurts the negotiation for both major league teams and for Otani.

        For major league teams, it’s much easier to sign a top Japanese pitcher to a six-year, $60 million deal (like the one Yu Darvish received) where the paychecks are spread over many years, than it is to cut a one-time check of $50 million or $60 million to a player. From a cash-flow perspective, there are fewer teams that can get their ownership to spend such a large lump sum at one time.

        And since Otani is subject to bonus pools, it wouldn’t just be a check to Otani. To sign Otani, a team would first have to pay Hokkaido the posting fee (up to $20 million), then pay Otani a sizeable signing bonus and then pay a 100 percent tax on that signing bonus to MLB. So if a team offered a hypothetical $50 million signing bonus for Otani, it would actually cost the team $120 million ($20 million posting fee + $50 million bonus + $50 million penalty tax).

        And there are many reasons Otani would not want to be posted as well.

        “For Shohei Otani, he also has pros and cons. Looking from the outside, most of you guys probably only see the pros. For example, no matter how bad he feels, how sick he feels or how weak he feels that day, if I ask him, ‘are you OK today’, of course he’ll say yes.

        “Although he says he’s OK, he might not really be OK. I really need to think about the exact situation he’s in.

        “If you keep on playing him, if he’s fatigued his numbers are going to go down, which is going to affect the team in a negative way. I feel responsible when not able to manage my players. I feel like if I changed a little something, Otani could have better numbers or perform better. I feel like that’s the tough part about managing.”

        Just getting Otani on the roster was a big win for the Fighters. Otani had a stated desire to go to the major leagues, and was prepared to make the jump out of high school. The Fighters drafted him anyway, and convinced him to begin his career in Japan.

        “As a team, and as a manager, we try to think of Otani not as a player but as a family member,” Kuriyama said. “We understand his dream is to one day play in MLB. We were trying to plan out the best way, the easiest way, for him to actually play in MLB and have success. I made visits to his high school, but I never actually personally asked him to come to the Fighters.

        “What I explained to him when I met him was; when I was a reporter for TV, I visited the U.S. over a hundred times, interviewing different players, a lot of minor league players also. What I got from that was, the best way for Otani to have success in the major leagues is not to go straight to the U.S. but to join the Fighters, playing in Japan first and getting experience here.”

        Otani may still move to the majors one day, but according to his manager, money is not a motivating factor.

        “Money is the last thing on Otani’s mind,” Kuriyama said. “I can tell that because I deal with him everyday.”

        Money might be a consideration when it comes to the posting system. As it stands now, the maximum fee the Fighters could command is $20 million, a far cry from the $51.1 million the Seibu Lions got for Daisuke Matsuzaka in 2006 or the $51.7 million the Fighters got for Yu Darvish in 2012.

        “Right now, I don’t think this is the perfect plan,” Kuriyama said. “We’re going to keep on negotiating with MLB and NPB and try to figure out a better solution.

        “Twenty million dollars, which is the limit right now, is a lot of money. I’ve never even seen that much money. But since we compare it to what other people got in the past, it may sound small. But it’s really not. I don’t know what the best solution for the posting system is, but we’re going to try to find a way to make both sides, both Japan and America, happy.”
        Last edited by mingjungtc; 11-15-2016, 08:02 AM.


        • Shohei Otani was honored for both his batting and pitching Monday when he was named MVP of Japan's Pacific League.

          Otani helped the Nippon Ham Fighters win the Pacific League pennant and the Japan Series this season. The 22-year-old right-hander went 10-4 as a pitcher and batted .322 with a career-high 22 home runs.

          The fourth-year player earned 1,268 points in MVP voting, comfortably ahead of teammate Brandon Laird, who was second with 298 points.

          Otani renewed his own Japan record for the fastest pitch on three occasions this year, most recently clocking 165 kph (102.5 mph) during the playoffs.

          Last week, Otani was the first player ever to be named the Pacific League's best pitcher and best designated hitter.


          • Jesse Sanchez @JesseSanchezMLB
            Cuban LHP Osvaldo Hernandez, 18, declared FA & can sign. He's 92-94 mph. List of teams interested include SD, CIN, HOU, NYM, ATL, TEX, BOS.


            • (Google Translate) One of the best prospects of the Cuban pitcher was undoubtedly the left-handed pitcher, Osvaldo Hernández. The Artemis native received the much-desired Free Agency yesterday, a document that lets him negotiate with any Major League franchise.

              The Artemiseño is 18 years old and has a good arsenal of pitches plus an excellent command. His straight has touched 94 MPH while the Scouts do not stop praising his great curve and a launch in the form of Knuckleball that for many is unbeatable. In the past Pan American de Monterrey Osvaldo allowed only two hits to the strong set of Usa in 5 innings and a third where he prescribed a total of 5 strikeouts. In the same match he was relieved against the Mexican team and won the victory by throwing space for 4 innings where only allowed one race. In the game for the gold medal Osvaldo returned to see action as reliever against USA where he only allowed 2 hits in 5 innings.

              If we look at the numbers of Osvaldo Hernandez in the last national youth championship we realize that we are facing one of the best pitchers in the category. The left-hander left 8-1 with a clean average of 0.92 in more than 68 innings pitched. The opposites only connected him for 143 product of 32 hits allowed in 223 times at bat. One of the indicators that shows us his great talent is the WHIP, where 0.80 tells us that for tickets released less than one rider came to the first product of unstoppable or ticket.

              "... This lefty has the ability to get to the big leagues very fast ..." an international director of scouteo commented to this media.

              The pitcher is represented by the powerful Wasserman Media agency, which has players like Yasiel Puig and the Gurriel brothers.



              • (Google Translate) Diaz is the third Cuban player with 18 years or less who received free agency in the last two weeks and is part of a brand new phenomenon of prospects who are leaving the island legally.

                Prior to Diaz, the free agency also received left-handed pitcher Osvaldo Hernández (18) and outfielder Jaime Pérez (16), two others who must also reach pacts before the end of this cycle of international signatures.

                Born in Jaguey Grande, Matanzas, Díaz has performed several showcases for major league clubs, and has aroused a special interest among the scouts of the Colorado organization.

                The Rockies do not stop asking about this torpedo-Houston, Texas, Cincinnati and Philadelphia have also shown much interest - barely 17 years and, if you sign it, would make him the first Cuban to join the franchise set in the Rocky Mountains.
                Yoenis Céspedes shows his millionaire ranch in Florida

                "It is even considered that there is a very strong millionaire offer by Eddy." But if it is not Colorado, another team will do with its services. Every player can come with numbers from Cuba. The showcases at the end determine their true value and Eddy is putting his own up high. ''

                Diaz joined national teams since the age of 12 and in the Under-15 tournament he hit .390, while in the Under-18 - less than the required age - he hit .310.



                • Ben Badler @BenBadler
                  Rangers will be busy signing international prospects this year (shocking, I know). Rays, Mets and more to watch:


                  • "Personally, the new CBA rules do not mean much to me, and it is not going to stop me from going over to the States," Ohtani said. "The only thing that worries me is the other young players that might try to go overseas after me. I don't want to set the bar too low for them and have to get underpaid because of my decision."

                    If Otani does decide to make the jump after 2017, B/R listed the Yankees as one of the favorites to land him. A surprise entry to the market for star could also be in the mix.

                    And assuming MLB does not bend the rules and Ohtani can score only $5 million if he opts to sign in the States after the 2017 season, well, that means it will not only be the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Texas Rangers and other deep-pocketed clubs who will have a chance to sign him. It means mid- to small-market clubs may be able to box others out.

                    One B/R Japanese source thinks the San Diego Padres could even have an inside track, and given their working relationship with the Fighters, maybe that's not out of the question.



                    • Spring finally arrived for Shohei Otani as the two-way Nippon Ham Fighter smoked a two-run home run in his first appearance of the year in an instructional league game Saturday.

                      "It certainly helps you prepare better when you know what you're actually preparing for," said the right-hander, whose comeback as a pitcher is still up in the air.

                      He might normally be celebrating his return to action but on this day, Otani, who was still in high school six years ago, had bigger things on his mind.

                      "It's been six years, but I need to make sure to recommit myself to what I'm doing," Otani said.


                      Bluejays, Twins, Rangers, Astros, Phillies, Braves and Dodge scouts were there ro watch Shohei Otani


                      • The Rangers sign LHP Manuel Santiago (6' 0"/175)
                        Born: 10/15/1999 in Maracaibo, Venezuela

                        Pitched in prospects showcase in Dominican Republic

                        Large frame, athletic build and long loose limbs with broad shoulders. Impressive present strength despite young age. Natural, fluid mechanics with slight hip turn at apex of leg lift, repeats delivery well. Hides ball well on backside, quick arm coming through. Fastball up to 84 mph, solid downhill plane on pitch, able to locate offering well to glove side, shows natural armside run, can occasionally cut the fastball as well. Good feel for curveball in upper-60s, pitch has 12/6 shape and good depth, able to locate down in zone, although can slow delivery a bit. Also adeptly works in mid-70s changeup that has mild fading action, maintains solid armspeed. Impressive overall feel for pitching and ability to throw quality strikes.

                        SS Osman Guanipa (5' 10"/155)
                        Born: 3/17/1999

                        RHP Carlos Naveda (6' 2"/190)
                        Born: 7/5/1999



                        • Astros scouted Cuban outfielder Luis Robert with private workout next week



                          • Well-regarded Cuban outfield prospect Luis Robert held a showcase Thursday in the Dominican Republic, and “high-ranking team officials” from several major league clubs were on hand, according to Ben Badler of Baseball America. “Nearly all teams” sent someone to watch Robert, per Badler, who reported in March that the White Sox seem to be the likeliest landing spot for the 19-year-old. The White Sox sent special assistant Marco Paddy to observe Robert, and they have scheduled a private workout with him for next week. The Astros will also work out Robert, though they’ve already exceeded their 2016-17 international bonus pool.


                            Better than Cespedes? Cuban phenom wowing scouts

                            [Japan's] Shohei Ohtani is the best international player out there and he's a different animal because he would be the ace of a staff and he can hit," one National League international scouting director said. "But Robert is up there. He's a five-tool guy that can be in the big leagues soon. He has to be No. 2 behind Ohtani. He's that good."


                            At a recent showcase, many of the top international players for July 2nd were present. Early names with commitments are Venezuelan C Daniel Flores ( Texas Rangers).


                            Daniel Flores


                            • Cuban OF Robert cleared to sign May 20

                              The A's, Astros, Cardinals, White Sox, Padres and Reds are among the teams with strong interest in signing him.



                              • I come here first for news on international signings because, to be frank, ming is the best I've ever witnessed at finding that type information. He's always ahead of the game.

                                This year, I see the Rangers linked to Keyber Rodriguez, Wildred Patino, and Damian Mendoza.

                                Ming, do you have anyone else? Or any further info on these guys?