Former major leaguers in Japan – Pitchers

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In case you missed it, I ran down the hitters on Wednesday.

D.J. Houlton – 5-3, 2.13 ERA, 62/21 K/BB in 76 IP

Houlton ranks third in the Pacific League in ERA behind Masahiro Tanaka
and Yu Darvish. The 29-year-old was a swingman last year in his first
season in Japan. He had a 4.18 ERA in 28 innings out of the pen for the
Dodgers in 2007, but former GM Paul DePodesta was likely his biggest
backer in the organization and the new regime didn’t think he had much
to offer.

Colby Lewis – 4-3, 3.34 ERA, 69/5 K/BB in 59 1/3 IP

Lewis is off last year’s pace, as he went 15-8 with a 2.68 ERA and a
183/27 K/BB ratio in 178 innings in his first season with the Carp.
Still, there would likely be several teams interested if he opted to
return to the majors.

Mike Schultz – 2-0, 1 Sv, 1.17 ERA, 32/6 K/BB in 30 2/3 IP

Schultz’s major league experience consists of one inning with the
Diamondbacks in 2007. He was a fringe relief prospect for several years
before finding himself in Japan.

Marc Kroon – 0-1, 11 Sv, 1.13 ERA, 27/12 K/BB in 24 IP

Kroon’s outstanding fastball never made him a successful major
leaguer, as he gave up 23 runs and walked 26 in 26 2/3 innings in parts
of four seasons before leaving for Japan in 2005. He’s since saved 136
games as one of Japan’s premier closers.

Darrell Rasner – 3-4, 6.62 ERA, 34/16 K/BB in 51 2/3 IP

Rasner was the top pitcher to jump to Japan over the winter, with
the Yankees reportedly receiving $1 million for his rights. The move,
though, hasn’t worked out Rakuten so far.

Kazuhisa Ishii – 3-5, 5.33 ERA, 63/25 K/BB in 54 IP

The now 35-year-old Ishii has seen his ERA increase every season
since returning to Japan, going from 3.44 to 2006 to 4.14 in 2007 and
4.32 last year (he did switch from the non-DH league to the DH league
after 2007, so he was probably better in 2008 than the previous year).

Brian Falkenborg – 3-0, 1 Sv, 0.92 ERA, 35/2 K/B in 29 1/3 IP

Falkenborg had seen major league action in each of the last five
seasons, but since he never could establish himself, he opted to go to
Japan prior to this year. It seems likely to pay off, as he’s been one
of the country’s best relievers so far.

Others

Justin Germano – 2-0, 1.46 ERA, 2/0 K/BB in 12 1/3 IP
Ryan Glynn – 2-8, 5.05 ERA, 31/22 K/BB in 62 1/3 IP
Dicky Gonzalez – 6-1, 2.11 ERA, 33/4 K/BB in 55 1/3 IP
Seth Greisinger – 6-4, 4.26 ERA, 47/10 K/BB in 76 IP
Kameron Loe – 0-4, 6.33 ERA, 18/12 K/BB in 27 IP
Brian Sweeney – 2-3, 5.94 ERA, 28/21 K/BB in 53 IP
Les Walrond – 3-6, 3.72 ERA, 56/30 K/BB in 65 1/3 IP
John Wasdin – 2-2, 5.04 ERA, 10/11 K/BB in 30 1/3 IP

Scott Atchison – 3-2, 0 Sv, 2.91 ERA, 32/10 K/BB in 34 IP
Ricky Barrett – 0-1, 0 Sv, 5.40 ERA, 3/8 K/BB in 8 1/3 IP
Scott Dohmann – 0-0, 0 Sv, 17.28 ERA, 4/7 K/BB in 8 1/3 IP
Alex Graman – 0-2, 3 Sv, 5.40 ERA, 1/2 K/BB in 5 IP
Marcus Gwyn – 1-1, 1 Sv, 2.70 ERA, 22/11 K/BB in 23 1/3 IP
Jon Leicester – 0-1, 0 Sv, 4.32 ERA, 10/4 K/BB in 8 1/3 IP
Masao Kida – 3-3, 0 Sv, 5.67 ERA, 19/14 K/BB in 33 1/3 IP
Satoru Komiyama – 1-0, 0 Sv, 10.13 ERA, 7/1 K/BB in 13 1/3 IP
Michael Nakamura – 1-1, 0 Sv, 7.04 ERA, 12/7 K/BB in 15 1/3 IP
Tom Mastny – 0-2, 0 Sv, 4.14 ERA, 24/15 K/BB in 37 IP
Maximo Nelson – 0-2, 1 Sv, 3.81 ERA, 23/10 K/BB in 26 IP
Nelson Payano – 0-0, 0 Sv, 1.74 ERA, 13/7 K/BB in 10 1/3 IP
Brian Sikorski – 4-2, 1 Sv, 1.40 ERA, 30/8 K/BB in 25 2/3 IP
Kazuhito Tadano – 2-2, 0 Sv, 7.71 ERA, 8/7 K/BB in 21 IP
Ryan Vogelsong – 0-3, 0 Sv, 6.84 ERA, 33/10 K/BB in 25 IP
Jeff Williams – 1-1, 0 Sv, 3.28 ERA, 33/14 K/BB in 24 2/3 IP

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves