Some notable numbers from Japan: Pacific League stats

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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.

Pitching:

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.

Royals sign Drew Storen to minor league deal

Drew Storen
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The Royals are in agreement with right-handed reliever Drew Storen on a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Per Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the deal is worth $1.25 million if the veteran righty breaks camp with the club this spring. Additional, albeit unspecified incentives will be included in the contract as well.

Storen, 31, is coming off of a protracted absence from any MLB duties. After inking a one-year deal with the Reds in 2017, he sustained a right elbow sprain toward the end of the year and underwent Tommy John surgery that October. He was effectively decommissioned for the club’s entire 2018 run and generated little interest around the league this winter, perhaps due in part to the uninspired 4.45 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, 7.9 SO/9, and career-low -0.2 fWAR he posted across 54 2/3 innings during his last healthy season.

While it’s not immediately clear what kind of performance the Royals can expect from Storen in spring training, they’re not exactly in a position to be choosy. Their bullpen ranked dead last among all MLB teams with a collective 5.04 ERA, 4.85 FIP, and -2.2 fWAR last year, and still appears to be in a state of flux as they approach Opening Day. Skipper Ned Yost told reporters Wednesday that he intends to eschew the traditional closer appointment in 2019 and will instead utilize a combination of right-handers Wily Peralta and Brad Boxberger, lefty Tim Hill, and various others as he tackles high-leverage situations in the future.