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Japanese ace Yamamoto headed to MLB after Orix agrees to transfer

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It was either let him go now and get money in return, or wait and get nothing!

Can't blame him nor the other good Japanese pro players for wanting to go to the MLB. More money and higher level of competition.

Like it or not, Japanese Pro Baseball is like 4A, not quite "Major" league, but just a hair above the minors!

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He threw 138 pitches in that last game - is this normal for Japanese pitchers? I only watch Ohtani games usually :)

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@Yubaru--but if that were true, the Samurai would have had trouble with the all-minor league US team at the Olympics. Or the stronger competition at the WBC this year. Keep stretching your imagination and say NPB is like 5A or 6A while the Samurai continue to hoard gold.

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@fxgai--no, that was not normal but YY was pitching a shutout in his last appearance before the offseason. Some fans were crying in the stands to witness his farewell game. Fairly clear why the manager gave him all 9 innings.

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Big up to Yamamoto - he has been a pro since he was 18 and given great service. Nothing left to achieve in Japan - and yet to reach his peak as a pitcher, hopefully. Good luck in the MLB!

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TorafusuTorasanToday 05:31 pm JST

@Yubaru--but if that were true, the Samurai would have had trouble with the all-minor league US team at the Olympics. Or the stronger competition at the WBC this year. Keep stretching your imagination and say NPB is like 5A or 6A while the Samurai continue to hoard gold

Anyone who knows baseball knows the NBP is good but the reason a lot of their stars go to MLB is because of the top-level competition that you can't find here in Japan. Last night's hero, Neuse, and many others on Hanshin and Orix would gladly go to the States but they'd probably be on AAA teams. The Samurai do get gold, but, again, anyone who knows baseball knows that the championship round has always been best of seven, not a winner-take-all game. That's why it is called it the World Series.

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Sure, those are all good points. But the name World Series is really just an old brand name for MLBs domestic league final. Simultaneously, MLB is promoting an international World Baseball Classic for national teams. Again, branding. Not much point in trying to parse the meaning of Classic or, in NFL, the Super Bowl. Just the jargon of its day: golly that was a super duper sock hop last Saturday, gosh!

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If Japanese baseball is so inferior to US baseball, why are there so many stars there who are Japanese? Shohei Ohtani is doing very well as a dominant player. Ichiro is a first year of eligibility Hall of Famer, Hideki Matsui was a key player for the Yankees for a good number of years, Hideo Nomo was the first Japanese born player since the 1964 and 1965 seasons and was a sensation in the US, Yu Darvish has fallen off the last few seasons but was a dominant pitcher for years when he went to the US, and under the radar Masataka Yoshida

had a good year with the Red Sox this year and will only get better. And there are others. I'd say Japanese baseball is pretty close to the US in talent and competitiveness. One can only wonder how well Sadaharu Oh would have done if the borders were open then. Only Masanori Murakami in the 1960s made it over, but since then there have been whopping good Japanese players in the US.

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Mocheake

Anyone who knows baseball knows the NBP is good but the reason a lot of their stars go to MLB is because of the top-level competition that you can't find here in Japan. 

It's more likely they go for the money. If they made more staying here, very few would choose "top-level competition" over "top-level money".

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Gene HennighNov. 6 10:11 pm JST

If Japanese baseball is so inferior to US baseball, why are there so many stars there who are Japanese? Shohei Ohtani is doing very well as a dominant player. Ichiro is a first year of eligibility Hall of Famer, Hideki Matsui was a key player for the Yankees for a good number of years, Hideo Nomo was the first Japanese born player since the 1964 and 1965 seasons and was a sensation in the US, Yu Darvish has fallen off the last few seasons but was a dominant pitcher for years when he went to the US, and under the radar Masataka Yoshida had a good year with the Red Sox this year and will only get better. And there are others. I'd say Japanese baseball is pretty close to the US in talent and competitiveness. One can only wonder how well Sadaharu Oh would have done if the borders were open then. Only Masanori Murakami in the 1960s made it over, but since then there have been whopping good Japanese players in the US.

You named like, seven guys spanning 60 years. Nice try, though. A lot of posters let their love for Japan blind them. There have been far more Japanese players who were average to below average in MLB than ones who have been stars and only a small handful have been superstars. As it stands, two will make the Hall of Fame. Conversely, send all the Americans here and most of the Japanese players would be out of jobs, hence the quota on foreign players. Look it up, it isn't talk. It's facts.

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Mocheake

In baseball over the last two decades over 70, perhaps more, Japanese players have been in the MLB. How many American and Hispanic players have been average to below average in history? My guess is that percentagewise the totals are probably equal or close to equal. Most players who try to get into the majors never make it. A look at Baseball Reference the Baseball Encyclopedia shows an enormous number of players who played in just one game. So a guy (from wherever) who plays the average of 5 1/2 half years is at least good enough to have stuck around, average or below average. So the Japanese players have done pretty well there. Making the move from overseas (there have been a few Australian players, but not too very many) is a trickier move than coming up from Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, etc. Those countries are closer and far easier to scout and to sign. Japan and even Australia have sent some pretty good players even though the move is much more difficult. The level of play in other countries is obviously closer to MLB level than appreciated.

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The Samurai would have had trouble with the all-minor league US team at the Olympics. Or the stronger competition at the WBC this year. Keep stretching your imagination and say NPB is like 5A or 6A while the Samurai continue to hoard gold.

Look at what you wrote here. So you are saying Japanese Professional Baseball has only 1 team?

You are comparing apples and oranges here.

MLB is a mixture of players from all over the world, including Japan. When the USA puts together a true "national" team, then let's talk. Until then, you are living in fantasy land.

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Mocheake makes a great point. If Japanese pro ball players were so great, pray tell why there is a limit on the number of foreign players on each team? Everyone knows the answer, but they just like to keep their heads in the sand and ignore it!

Nothing like that in MLB. JPB gets washed up MLB players or borderline players who need practice and experience. Even Japanese stars go to the MLB, better competition and pay too.

Oh and the way the Japanese series is played....please let them play all 7 games, and stop giving one team a 1 game advantage.

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If Japanese baseball is so inferior to US baseball, why are there so many stars there who are Japanese? Shohei Ohtani is doing very well as a dominant player. Ichiro is a first year of eligibility Hall of Famer, Hideki Matsui was a key player for the Yankees for a good number of years, Hideo Nomo was the first Japanese born player since the 1964 and 1965 seasons and was a sensation in the US, Yu Darvish has fallen off the last few seasons but was a dominant pitcher for years when he went to the US, and under the radar Masataka Yoshida

I never stated it was "so inferior", but it is definitely not on par with MLB as a whole. You can pick and choose a handful of players that have performed well, but there are just as many who have failed or been "average" at best.

However, even and "average" MLB player would still be one of, if not THE best on any Japanese pro-team.

Nomo was only a sensation for a couple of years, then was an "average" to "above average" pitcher, much like Uehara, and Matsuzaka. None of whom are going to make it into the HOF based on their accomplishments. So far ONLY Ichiro fits that bill. Otani will make it one day, even for his limited "experience" purely because of his dual threat ability.

Darvish, just like, what seems to be all Japanese pitchers, gets injured too often!

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