Saturday, January 5, 2013

Rakuten Golden Eagles Ni-Gun Prospects

I wanted to play with Ni-Gun (NPB minor leagues) numbers some more and include hitters this time instead of doing just individual pitching scouting reports. So here, I looked at the Rakuten Golden Eagles' Ni-Gun team and tried to created a sortable spreadsheet of the "prospects" statistically. Because, just like AAA in the MLB, the Ni-Gun is full of both veterans and prospects, I included the current age of each player (but included the veterans). 

For hitters, league average OPS (I didn't adjust for parks, because who knows) in the Western League was about .646 (.309 OBP and .337 SLG, so much like the NPB, offense is way down). To create an OPS +, I just subtracted the OPS minus the league average (.642) and then divided that answer by .642. Then I added 1 to that number and multiplied that number by 100. For example: 

.881-.642= .239. .239 divided by .642= .372274 + 1= 1.372274 x 100= ~137

It is excruciatingly simple, but it works for what we are doing. For defense, the NPB (only on the Japanese version of the site for some reason) does supply assists and putouts for the Ni-Gun teams, so at least we are able to calculate RF/G, and since the site provides it per position, we are able to do it more accurately than for college players. If the player played the minimum amount of games (I think I used 30 games as the minimum for including players) at 2 different positions, I included them twice on the spreadsheet. 

I didn't include catchers because range factor is misleading and extremely unhelpful for catchers. On the spreadsheet, I sorted them by age and then used OPS + for a tiebreaker. 

For Pitchers, I used 30 innings as the minimum. Western League Averages for strikeouts and walks were: 7.1 BB % and 16.4 K % in 2012. In the spreadsheet, I used kwERA (which is K-BB/PA (or BF) x 12 - 5.4). For reference, league average was 4.29. I also used FIP, which, because of the lack of homers, was much lower on average, as the Western League FIP was about 3.22.

Since all the pitchers that had at least 30 innings for Rakuten's Ni-Gun team have pitched in the NPB (or Ichi-Gun), I used NPB Tracker data and averaged the velocity for all the seasons and rounded. In the pitchers part of the spreadsheet, I sorted by age, then used velocity as the first tiebreaker and then kwERA as the 2nd tiebreaker. Because there wasn't a lot of data, I could fit hitters on one screenshot and pitchers on another. If you just want to look at the screenshots, they are below. If you want to download the spreadsheet, click on this hyperlink or copy and paste the address below:

The tab at the bottom of the spreadsheet (if you download it) will allow you to look at either pitchers or hitters. 

Pitchers Screenshot:

Hitters Screenshot:

It would seem that Rakuten's farm system is pretty awful, especially on the pitcher side. Wataru Karashima seems to be the best pitching prospect, with solid numbers, but he is 22 and not a very hard thrower. The hitters seem to be a little better, with Takumi Miyoshi and Aoi Enomoto showing some promise offensively (but if RF/G is any indication, Miyoshi is an awful shortstop and will have to move to another position). T. Nishida is not a great looking defender according to the data, but he does seem to have a solid stick and is 21, younger than any of the pitchers Rakuten allowed to throw 30 innings or more in the Ni-Gun. In the near future, I plan on taking a bigger look at Ni-Gun statistics and prospects and perhaps create some kind of ranking system. 

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