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NPB Stats: Looking for Japan’s Next Great Import

The MLB season is drawing to a close, which means it’s about time for rampant speculation about next year’s free agents. One of my favorite off-season storylines is that of the east Asian baseball markets both giving and absorbing talent.

This past off season, we witnessed the likes of Chad Tracy, Wladimir Balentien, and Micah Hoffpauer head west to the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) league while Japan sent Tsuyoshi Nishioka and Ryan Vogelsong Minnesota and California’s way.

Let’s look at the present NPB league statistics, so we can start writing our wishlists and dreaming about next year’s rosters.

(Odds are: You will need to refresh the page to see the Tableau document. Don’t ask me why; I just work here.)

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NOTE: I constructed the players’ FIPs and wOBAs using our typical MLB numbers (as in a 3.2 constant and this wOBA equation), but this is only for internal comparison purposes. An average wOBA in Japan is actually in the .280s and an average FIP is 3.45.

Also NOTE: The darkness of the bar indicates the size of the sample — whether it’s innings pitched or PAs.

Thoughts, observations, and fast-paced bullets:

Any other thoughts?