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Baseball Draft Kit: Japanese Imports

Patrick Newman

Patrick Newman

Newman writes extensively about baseball in Japan on his blog, NPBTracker.com. He's lived in Japan and now works in Silicon Valley.

Yu Darvish (TEX) - Formerly of the Nippon Ham Fighters (2005-2011). Starting pitcher, right/right. Born August 16, 1986.

Hisashi Iwakuma (SEA) - Formerly of the Kintetsu Buffaloes (1999-2004) and Rakuten Golden Eagles (2005-2011). Starting pitcher, right/right. Born April 12, 1981.

Hiroyuki Nakajima - Formerly of the Seibu Lions (2002-2011). Shortstop/IF, right/right. Born July 31, 1982.

Tsuyoshi Wada (BAL) - Formerly of the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks (2003-2011). Starting pitcher, left/left. Born February 21, 1981.

Wei-Yin Chen (BAL) - Formerly of the Chunichi Dragons (2004-2011). Starting pitcher, left/left. Born July 21, 1985.

Norichika Aoki (MIL) - Formerly of the Yakult Swallows (2004-2011). OF, left/right. Born January 5, 1982.

Note: Effect of New NPB Ball

Prior to 2011, each NPB team was allowed to choose its own ball to use in its
home games. For 2011, NPB commissioner Ryozo Kato introduced a regulation ball to be used league-wide. The new ball more closely resembled the MLB ball, and had the effect of suppressing offense. NPB batters hit 666 fewer home runs in 2011 than they did in 2010,and NPB pitchers shaved a run off their collective ERAs. Make sure to apply these grains of salt when evaluating the players profiled here, particularly Tsuyoshi Wada. (Stats courtesy of Nikkan Sports,special thanks to Michael Westbay).

Outside of Japan

1. Yoenis Cespedes, OF, Cuba

2. Jorge Solar, OF, Cuba

3. Tae-Hyon Chong, P, South Korea