Via our buddy Mark Feinsand, we learn that the Yankees are taking this Japan thing seriously. Clearly wanting to avoid another Kei Igawa debacle, they’ve sent Gene Michael overseas to scout things out. Among the rumored targets are Koji Uehara, a 33-year-old righty, Kenshin Kawakami, another righty, and Hitoki Iwase, a lefty reliever. Cork Gaines at MLBTR brings up Yu Darvish as well, though it’s not likely he gets posted this winter.
Hey, when you need something done right, you send the guy or guys you trust most. You definitely don’t send Mike Pagliarulo to do the job. Or else you get a scouting report like this:
“(Igawa) is considered one of the best starters in Japan and is having a good season. He is doing a good job of moving the ball around the zone and seems to be conserving himself throughout the game … He showed a good split and was adding on to his fastball in tough situations. He has enough to be a fourth or fifth starter in the U.S.”
I wish we had more of Pags’s scouting report. I wonder if he mentioned anything about Igawa leaving his changeup high in the zone, a pitch that might fool some in Japan, but one that major league hitters will deposit over the wall. Or take and draw a walk.
Personally, I’m skeptical about talent, particularly pitching talent, coming from Japan. Have we seen any of them sustain success? You can point to Daisuke Matsuzaka, who with a 2.88 ERA is powering the Red Sox. He’s walked 84 in 146 innings, though, which is never a good sign. Can he have consistent success with control like that? History would say no.