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  1. “When a league’s free agency market is only a couple of guys and there are only a handful of trades per year, there are no market efficiencies to exploit.”
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    The other way to exploit inefficiencies is through the draft. Does Japan have something analogous? Any indication either way that OBP is a focus in evaluating players, or that some of the advanced stats have found their way in the discussion?

    Comment by schmenkman — February 3, 2010 @ 3:41 pm

  2. Saw Darvish pitch in the World Baseball Classic last year. That splitter is NASTY.

    Comment by csteve — February 3, 2010 @ 4:19 pm

  3. Hey Patrick, here’s another question I just thought of that you may have insight into:

    What’s the state of baseball in Asia outside of the big 3 of Japan, Korea, and Chinese Taipei?

    Could China, the Philippines, and possibly Indonesia ever make strides internationally, and possibly provide MLB/NPB quality players in the near future? The size of those countries (China especially) suggests that it’s fully possible for the sport to develop more in the countries.

    Comment by Joe R — February 3, 2010 @ 5:29 pm

  4. 1) Are there any rule differences between American and Asian baseball? Is the DH used?

    Yes. Games are called as a tie after 12 innings. This means that the bullpen/bench management is totally different from the MLB since you know that (outside the playoffs) you will never have to play more than 12.

    3) Can you comment on the skill level differences between Japanese and American ball? How would you expect a .300/400/500 hitter to perform coming here from Japan?

    Hardballtimes created equivalents for Japanese players coming to the US, and US players coming to Japan prior to the arrival of Fukudome (I believe) most recently. The short of it is that their batting average and OBP don’t suffer too much, but their power drops off a cliff.

    Are Japanese teams beginning to run and model themselves in the same way that MLB teams have, sabermetrically? I ask this due to the number of monsters from Japan that average-ify state side.

    Absolutely not. There is unbelievably little sabermetric thinking in Japan (though it has been increasing slightly as of late among certain communities, it is nowhere near the impact that sabermetrics have had on the MLB).

    Stats, inc. has created a Japanese division, so that definitely has the potential to change how Japanese teams manage (if they can think of the massive subscription fee as worth it), but otherwise…

    The best chance (anyone with Japanese language skills listening?) would be to use sabermetrics to create betting manuals for high school baseball — there are zillions of Japanese betting on the yearly tournaments, who will happily look at new ideas if it helps them win those bets. There are already giant manuals of statistics/betting odds/whatever that come out every year…

    The other way to exploit inefficiencies is through the draft. Does Japan have something analogous? Any indication either way that OBP is a focus in evaluating players, or that some of the advanced stats have found their way in the discussion?

    The majority (?) of players are drafted from high schools, which means that they are playing in a highly variable league (like US high schools) and evaluating things like patience would be exceedingly difficult — how many HS players in the US start with patience after all?

    The people picked first are the guys who are the stars of the show — the ones who throw 200 pitches on consecutive days in the final games of the national baseball summer tournament. They are usually the same players who steal 3 bases and clock seventeen consecutive doubles, so really, it has nothing to do with their OBP most of the time — they’re winners!

    If you really want to look at it, you could take a draft class from year X and look at the BB% of players by their draft round.

    Comment by Sal Paradise — February 3, 2010 @ 8:05 pm

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