Eri Yoshida is coming to America

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Eri Yoshida AP.jpgEri Yoshida, for those of you who don’t know, is the Female knuckleballer who played for the Kobe 9 Cruise of the Japanese independent leagues last year. She went 0-2 in 11 games.  Having obviously conquered Japan, she’s now aiming her flutterball at the United States, saying on her blog that she’s going to pitch in the Arizona Winter League this January.

Though not much in the way of real baseball talent takes part in the Arizona Winter League — if you’re worth a damn you’re in someone’s spring training camp then — I’d still expect her to get shelled. Not because she’s a woman, but because she’s a seventeen year-old knuckleballer.  If all it took to compete with a knuckleball was the willingness to throw one, lots of high schoolers without any velocity would be throwing them. Heck, I would have been all over that back in the day.

They’re not, however, because a knuckleball takes a lot in the way of touch, practice and experience to get right.  And even if you get a respectable one, you have to be able to keep them honest with an occasional fastball or something. Even Wakefield does that, with a fastball that would be pretty darn good for a lot of seventeen year-olds.  Call me crazy, but I can’t see Yoshida possessing respectable enough gas to throw a get-me-over pitch when the knuckler isn’t dancing.

But I do love knuckleballers and I do love crazy publicity stunts, so I’ll be rooting for Erin Yoshida.

(Thanks to Ron of Baseball Over Here for the link)

Report: Angels to sign Cody Allen

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Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Angels and reliever Cody Allen are in agreement on a one-year contract, pending a physical. The value of the contract is not yet known.

Allen, 30, was looking for an opportunity to close and the Angels can certainly provide that. He will likely be the favorite to break camp as the closer. 2018 was the roughest year of his career, however, as he finished with a 4.70 ERA, 27 saves, and a 80/33 K/BB ratio in 67 innings. Among Allen’s six full seasons, his 27.7 strikeout rate and 11.4 percent walk rate represented career-worsts. FanGraphs also shows him losing nearly a full MPH on his average fastball velocity.

The Angels lost closer Keynan Middleton to Tommy John surgery early last season and he likely won’t return until the second half of the 2019 season. Blake Parker, who handled save situations in Middleton’s place, was non-tendered by the Angels in November and ended up signing with the Twins. The closer’s role is Allen’s to lose, it seems.