Monday, October 15, 2012

NPB Pitching Scouting Reports: Takada and Kishi

Here are scouting reports on 3 pitchers from the NPB (Japan) play-offs:

Shota Takada is just 19 years old and his debut season in the NPB was brilliant, as he struck out a batter an inning in 11 starts and gave up just 1 home run (and threw a complete game shutout. He has a slow loopy curve that was around 71- 76 that he can bury and throw for strikes. He had some control issues, but that is expected with his age (as someone who has been blogging a lot about college/minor league pitchers, it is easy to see that he is very advanced). He likes to throw the curve in what looks like any count to RHB and occasionally to LHB. Here is his pitch data courtesy of NPB tracker:

The fastball sat around 89 MPH when I saw him (perhaps he was a little tired at the end of the season, as I never saw him go much higher than that. He averages about 89-90 MPH, but throws up to 94 to 95 according to the data) and it was pretty straight other than some occasional drift to his arm side (e may have just been missing arm side as NPB Tracker's heat maps show that he likes to go glove side a little more than arm side usually. He did get it to tail a little bit but it stayed high). His overall command needs a bit of work and he has complicated mechanics that really affect his release point. He brings the ball below his knee (after he brings up his leg) before bringing it back up to throw. The 82 MPH slider actually looked more like a change to me (perhaps a baby slider) and it didn't have a ton of movement. Overall, he has pretty good pitchability with average to decent stuff if he can maintain his mechanics.

Takehito Kanzawa is a good sized (6-2 but 183) right-handed reliever for Softbank. The veteran (33 years old) has a pretty clean delivery with an impressive 77-78 MPH slider. It breaks mainly down (and is sharp), but also breaks to the left when thrown well. At least when I saw him, it was his favorite pitch. His problem is when it stays up too much. His fastball sits just 87-88 and he doesn't get many strikeouts at all. It is pretty straight, and he tries to jam right-handed batters with it. He has had success in the NPB, and it seems to be because of an ability to get weak contact and grounders.

Takayuki Kishi of Seibu sits about 87-88 MPH with his fastball. He really likes to keep the ball and work corner to corner. He doesn't throw many pitches high and stays out of the middle of the plate.

Kishi had his lowest walk rate of his career, which helped him have a career year ERA wise. He doesn't get a lot of strikeouts, but the 27 year old right-hander was still above league average in that department and did a slightly better than league average job of keeping the ball in the ballpark.

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