Some notable numbers from Japan: Pacific League stats


Now a look through the Pacific League stats. It’s all about the pitching there right now: in a six-team league, there are 12 starters with sub-2.00 ERAs.

Here was the Central League rundown, if you missed it.

First the bats:

Aarom Baldiris: .231/.329/.331, 3 HR, 13 RBI, 1 SB in 121 AB
Dee Brown: .161/.188/.194, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 0 SB in 31 AB
Alex Cabrera: .184/.247/.320, 5 HR, 17 RBI, 0 SB in 147 AB
Jose Fernandez: .239/.274/.394, 6 HR, 17 RBI, 0 SB in 155 AB
Mike Hessman: .210/.264/.395, 4 HR, 7 RBI, 0 SB in 81 AB
Micah Hoffpauir: .240/.306/.463, 7 HR, 16 RBI, 0 SB in 121 AB
Tadahito Iguchi: .351/.465/.520, 4 HR, 33 RBI, 0 SB in 148 AB
Akinori Iwamura: .165/.226/.195, 0 HR, 1 RBI, 0 SB in 77 AB
Kaz Matsui: .238/.286/.348, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 4 SB in 164 AB
Jose Ortiz: .234/.308/.447, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 0 SB in 47 AB
Randy Ruiz: .155/.183/.293, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 0 SB in 58 AB
So Taguchi: .364/.462/.439, 0 HR, 5 RBI, 3 SB in 66 AB

– Cabrera, Japan’s top power hitter over the last 10 years, appears to be fading at age 39.  The current Pacific League home run leader is Takeya Nakamura with 13.

– Former Royals prospect Dee Brown put together a respectable first year in Japan in 2010, hitting .241/.319/.436 with 21 homers and 76 RBI.  However, he’s going to need to bounce back in a big way if he expects the Seibu Lions to bring him back in 2012.

– Taguchi is having an exceptional year as a part-timer even though he’s less than four weeks away from turning 42.


Yu Darvish: 8-1, 1.42 ERA, 83/10 K/BB in 76 IP
Alfredo Figaro: 5-2, 1.73 ERA, 40/16 K/BB in 52 IP
Alex Graman: 1-0, 1 Sv, 3.65 ERA, 6/9 K/BB in 12.1 IP
D.J. Houlton: 6-2, 2.10 ERA, 41/7 K/BB in 55.2 IP
Kazuhisa Ishii: 2-2, 4.32 ERA, 25/5 K/BB in 25 IP
Hisashi Iwakuma: 3-2, 1.72 ERA, 418 K/BB in 47 IP
Bob Keppel: 5-1, 2.47 ERA, 17/17 K/BB in 51 IP
Bill Murphy: 2-1, 3.31 ERA, 12/12 K/BB in 32.2 IP
Chan Ho Park: 1-5, 4.29 ERA, 21/12 K/BB in 42 IP
Hayden Penn: 1-0, 1.11 ERA, 3/2 K/BB in 8 IP
Darrell Rasner: 2-2, 3.57 ERA, 17/12 K/BB in 22.2 IP
Carlos Rosa: 0-3, 2.66 ERA, 17/3 K/BB in 23 2/3 IP
Romulo Sanchez: 0-2, 4.73 ERA, 18/7 K/BB in 13.1 IP
Ryan Speier: 1-1, 6 Sv, 2.40 ERA, 17/2 K/BB in 15 IP
Brian Wolfe: 6-1, 2.44 ERA, 26/12 K/BB in 48 IP

– Darvish is third in the league with his 1.42 ERA.  His last three starts have all been shutouts, tying a record in Japan.  There hasn’t been much chatter of late about him coming over to the U.S. in 2012, but that may pick up again as the year goes on. Still years away from free agency, he’d have to be posted by the Nippon Ham Fighters.

– Iwakuma was won by the A’s through the posting system last winter, then returned to Japan after failing to work out a contract.  He’ll be a free agent this winter, allowing him to negotiate with every team, and expectations are that he will make the jump to MLB.

– As Aaron mentioned last week, Park was recently sent to the minors by the Buffaloes.

Congress to pass bill depriving minor leaguers of minimum wage rights

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We saw this coming and wrote about it last weekend, but now it’s official: the new spending bill from Congress contains a gift for Major League and Minor League Baseball in the form of a provision classifying minor leaguers as seasonal workers, exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act. Practically speaking, this means that minor leaguers are not required to be paid minimum wage or have other basic protections to which even part-timers at fast food restaurants are entitled.

The relevant provision — buried on page 1,967 of the 2,232-page spending bill, which will get almost zero time to be read and processed by most people before it’s ultimately passed signed into law by tomorrow — is farcically entitled the “Save America’s Pastime Act.” It exempts from the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 people who fit this description:

[A]ny employee employed to play baseball who is compensated pursuant to a contract that provides for a weekly salary for services performed during the league’s championship season (but not on spring training or the off season) at a rate that is not less than a weekly salary equal to the minimum wage under section 6(a) for a workweek of 40 hours, irrespective of the number of hours the employee devotes to baseball related activities.

It may be news to you that the multi-billion baseball industry, run by a few dozen billionaires and billion-dollar businesses, needed to be “saved” in such a fashion. Congress knew though. Maybe because Congress is so benevolent and wise. Or, maybe, because baseball’s lobbying operation spent millions plying Congressmen for this special law to keep it from having to pay workers a living wage.

Based on the response to our past writings on this topic, I suspect most of you won’t care all that much. You either believe that all or most of these players are wealthy via six or seven-figure signing bonuses or will make serious money in the big leagues one day. That’s not true, but many of you believe it. Or, alternatively, maybe you view minor leaguers as a bunch of kids farting around with a hobby until they start their “real life,” so why should they make a living wage?

To the extent you believe that and to the extent this does not bother you, I’d simply suggest that you ask how much money minor league and major league organizations make via the playing and marketing of minor league baseball and how much Major League Baseball benefits by having its training and development system costs legislatively controlled. Ask yourself whether the company that gave you your first entry-level position would’ve loved to have a law allowing it to pay you less than minimum wage and how you would’ve felt if that was the case in your situation. Ask yourself if anyone else would have cared all that much about the job you had when you were 22 and whether that would make a difference to you as you made the equivalent of $5 or $6 an hour for a multi-billion dollar business.

Maybe that still doesn’t sway you. But it doesn’t change the fact that this is a greedy cash grab by baseball which now, thanks to specially-requested government intervention, institutionalizes and legitimizes the exploitation of young men with very little power and even less money. That you may be OK with it doesn’t make it right. In fact, it’s very, very wrong.