Tuesday, November 20, 2007


So things might be picking up on the Kuroda front. According to the usually-reliable Larry LaRue over at the Tacoma News Trib, the M's are going to pack up Bavasi and crew and fly to Tokyo, where residents will be menaced by Bavasi's size and shiny head. But apparently, the M's are going beyond the general niceties of letting his agent know of their interest, what a great community Seattle has for Japanese folks, that the M's have a fighting chance of winning, and oh, our catcher will be able to understand what the hell it is you're saying. They may get down to brass-tax, which according to Larry, might run in the 11-million per year range, which is pretty terrifying.

I don't know a whole lot about Kuroda. I mean, yeah, I've looked at his numbers and they seem generally solid, if not great. But examples of good and bad imports abound.

I'm not sure if you've seen this, but there's a YouTube account out there called 'AceKuroda' where you can watch just about any video of our man of the hour. I watched quite a few of them, including the marathon at bat that Matsui had against him years ago. Seems like the guy has nice stuff, good slider and splitter, and what appears to be late movement on his fastball away from lefties. But I don't get where the article says "scouts say Kuroda throws 96" - based on these videos, he doesn't throw terribly hard - a lot of his fastballs registered at 145-146 km/h which is roughly 90 mph. Check out the conversion if you'd like to check for yourself. I'm no pitching coach, so I won't analyze his mechanics and make some sweeping generalization for health and success in the MLB.

If you'd like historical stats, you can find them here. I tend to like that he typically gives up fewer hits than innings pitched, seems to have pretty good control and he's got enough zip or deception to have about a 7 K's/per 9IP ratio. But he did give up 20 HR's last year - which is just three fewer than Jeff Weaver served up. I have no idea about park-effects in Japan, so I won't even venture to argue it...

Seems to me if we can sign him up for Batista-like money, it'd be a good risk. There's a chance he could come over here and perform like a #3 starter - win 13 or 14 games and chaw up innings; of course, then there's the chance that he sucks. But hey, he's got to be better than HoRam, right?

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