10.3 billion Chiga and 12.4 billion Tadashi Yoshida also have concerns… “Surprising Japanese players who are likely to be very active” in the Majors next season. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

10.3 billion Chiga and 12.4 billion Tadashi Yoshida also have concerns… “Surprising Japanese players who are likely to be very active” in the Majors next season.

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Senga achieved 1,000 strikeouts in November 2008. The “Ghost Fork” is likely to be a big hit in the Majors.

A number of major contracts have been signed by Japanese players who will challenge the Majors next season.

Kota Senga (29), who exercised his overseas FA rights from SoftBank and agreed with the Mets to a five-year, $75 million (10.332 billion yen) contract. Masanao Yoshida, 29, who decided to join the Red Sox from the Orix via the posting system, is worth $90 million (about 12.398 billion yen). The amount of money shows how highly the two are valued.

The Mets are serious about winning the World Series next season. They acquired Verlander, a Cy Young Award-winning pitcher, for a total of $86.7 million over two years (about 11.939 billion yen), and Quintana, who has won 89 games in all, for $26 million (about 3.58 billion yen). The team’s owner, millionaire Cohen, isn’t willing to pay a lot of money for the first championship in 37 years. Senga is also expected to be a pillar of the starting lineup along with ace Scherzer and others.

The Red Sox seem to envision Yoshida as their top hitter. This season, the Red Sox’s No. 1 hitter has a .235 batting average and a .295 on-base percentage, one of their weak points. Yoshida has led the league in on base percentage for two straight years, hitting .427 to .429 since 2009, and boasts a .327 on base percentage overall. Fenway Park, where the Red Sox are based, has a narrow right field, which is an advantage for Yoshida, a left-handed hitter,” said a sports reporter.

Yoshida played only 39 games on defense.

Yoshida (left) participated in the parade in Osaka City after the Orix won the Japan championship. On the right is manager Satoshi Nakajima (Image: Jiji Press)

However, there is also a great deal of uncertainty about the two players.

Yoshida has been injured a lot,” said Nakajima. Senga injured his right shoulder in 2002, his back in 2005, and his right calf in 2009. He has a fastball with a velocity of 164 km/h and a drop ball that he cannot hit even though he knows it is called a “ghost fork,” but the fact that he has won only 13 games in his career is probably not unrelated to his injuries.

Yoshida also has a chronic back pain. He also has concerns about his defense and shoulders. He has played in 119 games this season, but has only played in 39 games defensively due to the strain on his back. His shoulders, which are considered important in the majors, have also been pointed out as a weakness.

The talent of Senga and Yoshida and their track record in Japan may be enough. However, it remains to be seen whether they will be able to play well throughout the year. On the other hand, there are players who may not have the same track record as these two, but are likely to be very successful. One such player is Shintaro Fujinami, 28, of the Hanshin baseball team, who will use the posting system to challenge for a major league contract. Sports journalist Nachi Tomonari, who is well versed in the major league scene, explains.

The conditions for a successful pitcher in the majors are a high fastball and a low split. Hideo Nomo, Masahiro Sasaki, Masahiro Tanaka, and others were successful because they had these two types of pitches. Fujinami also has a fastball with a maximum speed of 162 km/h and a split of nearly 150 km/h. Fujinami has a fastball that can reach 162km/h and a split that can reach 150km/h. He is injury-free and tough, which makes him suitable for the Majors. He has the physical strength to be on the mound all year round.

The downside is his poor control. Because he has to throw more pitches on four pitches, it is difficult for him to pitch more than five innings as a starter in the Majors, where there is a 100-pitch limit. However, I think he can be counted on as a long reliever who can pitch across innings.

As of December 14, Fujinami is said to be under investigation by several teams, including the Red Sox, Diamondbacks, and Athletics. Even if he does not sign a high-cost multi-year contract like Senga and Yoshida, he may stand out as a surprising “bargain” for a big hitter in the majors.

In December 2008, Fujinami was interviewed directly by “Friday. He talked about his thoughts on the Majors.
  • Photo by Kei Kato Jiji Press

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