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Ohtani, 2 Yankees finalists for AL Rookie of the Year

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Ohtani is no rookie. If he wants rookie status then give up all his stats in the JPBL and take the average rookie salary.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Ohtani is awesome. Truly a special player. That said, he’s no more a “rookie” than Ichiro or Matsui were. NPB is not the minors.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

kurumazaka: NPB is not the minors.

It's most certainly not the majors, either.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

take the average rookie salary.

He's signed at the league-minimum salary of $545,000 per year, plus a one-time signing bonus of $2.3 million.

He's making the lowest the league is allowed to pay

An average rookie salary would be a raise

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It's most certainly not the majors, either.

True, but for some fans of Japanese baseball, they want to 'have their cake and eat it too.' They will make claims such as Ichiro has the most hits over Pete Rose because of his years racking up hits in Japan. They will claim that Sadaharu Oh is the Home Run King over Barry Bonds because of his homers for the Giants.

Regardless of Ohtani's pay scale, either he's a rookie, in which case his JPB stats are as meaningless as any other major league player's minor league stats, or he isn't, and isn't eligible for the ROY award.

Can't have their cake and eat it too.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

For the purposes of the Rookie of the Year award, Ohtani should not be considered. So simple.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

MLB rules state that a player is a rookie unless he has 130 at bats or 50 innings pitched (or more) in a previous major league season. Ohtani meets that requirement no problem.

True, but for some fans of Japanese baseball, they want to 'have their cake and eat it too.' They will make claims such as Ichiro has the most hits over Pete Rose because of his years racking up hits in Japan. They will claim that Sadaharu Oh is the Home Run King over Barry Bonds because of his homers for the Giants.

I'm not sure if those are examples of having cake and eating it too. Pete Rose is still the undisputed career hits leader in Major League baseball, while Ichiro is the undisputed career hits leader in NPB/MLB combined. Both of these records can co-exist without one taking away from the other, which is why I find people dumping on Ichiro over this to be unfair (especially considering that if Ichiro had played in MLB during his early years at the same level he was obviously capable of he would have had more, not less hits due to the longer MLB season).

Same with Oh and Bonds (or Hank Aaron who was the previous standard of comparison).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

rainyday: Pete Rose is still the undisputed career hits leader in Major League baseball, while Ichiro is the undisputed career hits leader in NPB/MLB combined. Both of these records can co-exist

No argument - that solution makes things easy.

However, I'll argue over the merit of "combined" records. MLB and NPB are simply different levels of baseball. Yes, NPB's top players can become top MLB players as well. But the mid- and lower-tier NPB players stand zero chance at playing in the MLB. The talent pool of the NPB is extremely shallow, in relation to the MLB. Why do you think only the top tier NPB players go to MLB? If the two were perfectly equal in playing skill, then mid- and lower-tier Japanese players would surely prefer to play in the MLB, which has higher salaries than NPB. But they don't, because they can't.

Japanese stars like Ichiro and Ohtani's NPB stats were racked up against the sub-par pitching found in the middle and end of rotations of NPB teams, which is why those stats don't translate to MLB stats. That doesn't make them bad players. It just means, we need to look at their MLB-only bodies of work in order to evaluate them against other MLB players like Rose and Bonds.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

However, I'll argue over the merit of "combined" records. MLB and NPB are simply different levels of baseball. Yes, NPB's top players can become top MLB players as well. But the mid- and lower-tier NPB players stand zero chance at playing in the MLB. The talent pool of the NPB is extremely shallow, in relation to the MLB.

I'm not sure how to evaluate combined records. On the one hand, I agree: MLB is clearly the superior league with a higher level of play and deeper talent. On the other, I don't think its fair to attribute zero significance to NPB statistics in cases like Ichiro's which is basically what one is doing if you reject the value of a combined record.

NPB isn't MLB, but it isn't Triple A either. When Ichiro played in NPB he was facing a lot of pitchers who would have been top starters in MLB (Hideo Nomo early in his career for example) and were quite a bit better than 3A level (of course there were many who would have been only minor leaguers in the US too).

Why do you think only the top tier NPB players go to MLB? If the two were perfectly equal in playing skill, then mid- and lower-tier Japanese players would surely prefer to play in the MLB, which has higher salaries than NPB. But they don't, because they can't.

I don't doubt that a large number of NPB players wouldn't be able to crack a MLB roster based on talent alone. But I don't think you can take the small number who have gone to MLB (relative to the overall number of NPB players) as an indication that only a few are talented enough, because there are a lot of other barriers that keep NPB talent in Japan. Japanese players once they sign with an NPB team don't attain free agency for seven years. So right off the bat they have seven seasons in their prime basically locked into a relationship with an NPB team which makes it difficult for them to jump to the MLB even if they are good enough.

If they want to go they have to do so through the posting system, which is very disadvantageous to them. Shouhei Ohtani despite being one of the biggest stars in baseball is only making 545,000$ in MLB because he went through that system, while the Angels paid 20$ million to the Nippon Ham Fighters for rights to his contract. For a guy like Ohtani who is still young he can bet that his future career as a superstar will allow him to move on to lucrative deals once he attains free agency, but he is a special case. If you are an NPB player who is good enough to play in MLB but not necessarily as a major star, you would probably be financially better off staying in NPB (Munenori Kawasaki for example would probably have made more money in NPB than he did in his years in MLB). So most probably make that choice.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

With regards to combined MLB/NPB stats, people would then also have to consider the stats of failed ex-MLB players who become successful in NPB:

Ex: Tuffy Rhodes who hit a combined 477 HRs (close to Lou Gehrig's 493 HRs)

And Wladimir Balentien's NPB season-record 60 HRs in 2013 (close to Roger Maris' single-season 61 HRs)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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