Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma said to be eyeing MLB

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Hisashi Iwakuma is one of the best pitchers in Japan and according to Jason Coskrey of the Japan Times he “wants to try and head to MLB via posting after the season.”
Coskey adds that Iwakuma’s team, the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, are “said to be reluctant” to let him go, no doubt in part because they still have the 29-year-old under contract for another season.
However, Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker and Fan Graphs told MLB Trade Rumors that the Golden Eagles may want to get value in return for Iwakuma before losing him for nothing as a free agent.
Newman recently pegged Iwakuma as “the second-best MLB pitching prospect” in Japan behind phenom Yu Darvish, calling him “a fairly standard fastball/slider/forkball righty” who “can reach 95 mph with his fastball, but mostly works around 90-91.”
Iwakuma has a 2.74 ERA and 138 strikeouts in 187 innings this season. His best year came in 2008, when he went 21-4 with a 1.87 ERA and 159 strikeouts in 201.2 innings. And, obviously, he looks dapper in a suit.

How Yu Darvish tipped his pitches during the World Series

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You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.

Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.

Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.

Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.