Saturday, November 2, 2013

Daisuke Miura Scouting Report

In my International Free Agent list, I somehow missed one of the more reliable starting pitchers in the NPB, Daisuke Miura of the Yokohama DeNA Baystars. Miura will turn 40 this offseason, entering the Ichi-gun with a cup of coffee in 1992 with 1995 being his first full season. The right-hander has racked up over 3000 career innings with a 3.97 career kwERA. With 2005-2006 as exceptions (and 2010-2011 being the bad exception years), Miura for the most part not been dominant, but reliable, above league average with a good amount of innings. In 2013, he had the 6th most innings pitched in the Central League with a  4.15 2013 kwERA, just worse than Bryan Bullington and Jason Standridge. Miura had a  4.42 kwERA over 2011-2012, so he actually improved in 2013 in walk and strikeout rates, but he really struggled with homers in 2013, something he has really struggled with over the past couple years on a whole:

Central League 2013: 2.16 HR %
Central League 2012: 1.42 %
Miura 2013: 3.56 HR %
Miura 2012: 2.03 %

He is probably most known for his ability to throw an extremely slow curve/eephus

His average curve velo, while still slow, has actually bumped up in the past couple of years as he has gone away from using the eephus as much. It seems to me that he is basically just using it as a joke in the All-Star Games now.

It seems a little silly to talk about the pitching mechanics of a 39 year old innings eater, as clearly he has something to work for him and that he can repeat. From a deception standpoint, he has a lot going on, getting in the middle of the air with his front leg, and not only pausing, but doing a motion that I can only describe as jiggling, bringing his leg slightly higher two to three times. After doing so, he brings his arm behind him, hiding the ball for another split second. The arm action seems to be a high 3/4ths, perhaps described as as over the top.

Along with the occasional curve, Miura throws four distinct pitches (excluding an occasional cutter according to the Yahoo data, which I think are just sliders that stay mid level and break into righties), the first being the most obvious, the fastball, a pitch that usually averages in the mid-80s. For the most part, he tries to move it around armside and gloveside and he keeps it pretty low, trying to get some movement instead of a lot of strikeouts with high whiffs.

Miura will also throw an occasional 2-seam/sinker, even against right-handed batters, breaking back into a righty. Here is an example of this working:

 Miura's second pitch, used almost as often as the fastball, is his slider:

Against lefties, Miura can also throw a forkball that really looks like a changeup to me (though it doesn't get the changeup designation).

Even if interested, I think it is hard to see any MLB teams wanting to guarantee Miura money if he decided he wanted to come to the States. He may be an interesting 5th starter type, but many teams don't like to guarantee money to those types. His strength is his ability to eat innings, but you have to believe that his changeup and slider are going to make his fastball play up, or else they won't be very effective innings. I do like the movement and deception Miura brings, but that can be hard to quantify objectively, especially how that will play on a different level. Also, with him being 40, counting on him to continue to soak up innings may be dangerous. I think he is one of many NPB players whose maximum value lies in the NPB, not the MLB, meaning he can continue to make more money in Japan, even though he was only making about 2 million dollars this year in the NPB.

No comments:

Post a Comment