FanDuel - WFBC

October 16, 2006

Who is Daisuke Matsuzaka?: A pitcher, a member of the Seibu Lions and potentially this year's biggest free agent prize. The attraction, despite his protestations to the contrary, is his gyro pitchYouTube (Wikipedia citation). See previous Spofi discussion of the pitch and the pitcher.

posted by yerfatma to baseball at 10:27 AM - 28 comments

will carroll recently conceded that Matsuzaka doesn't actually throw a gyro.

posted by goddam at 10:40 AM on October 16

The attraction, despite his protestations to the contrary, is his gyro pitchYouTube (Wikipedia citation). goddam beat me to the punch on citing gyromaster Will Carroll as saying that Matsuzaka doesn't actually throw a gyro. The main attraction, as I see it, is that he is in all probability the best (potential) free agent SP in a typically weak market for such types.

posted by holden at 11:08 AM on October 16

As a Yankee fan, one name keeps going through my mind: Hideki Irabu.

posted by dyams at 11:15 AM on October 16

Ah, thanks for the clarification.

posted by yerfatma at 11:17 AM on October 16

All this talk about gyros is making me hungry.

posted by tommytrump at 12:23 PM on October 16

He also was the starting pitcher of the final game of the WBC and won MVP honors of that tournament. He'll be worth every penny the Yankees pay for him.

posted by mmoschella at 12:32 PM on October 16

The grip he has on the "Gyro" pitch looks like a cross between a 2-seam fastball and a split-finger. I notice that he has it held to the side of the ball as well. This could account for the movement inward on a right-handed batter, and the sinking action is the result of the somewhat split grip. If he can throw this thing, whatever it is, with any consistency, and keep his fastball in the zone without getting it hit, he could be a very formidable pitcher. By the way, I'm with you, tt. When I read the article, I had the powerful urge to head for my favorite Greek restaurant.

posted by Howard_T at 12:57 PM on October 16

posted by yerfatma at 01:12 PM on October 16

The main attraction, as I see it, is that he is in all probability the best (potential) free agent SP in a typically weak market for such types. I'm not sure that's entirely true. Here is at least a partial list of free agent pitchers (source: me, could be some errors): Jason Schmidt Ted Lilly Barry Zito Mike Mussina Gil Meche Roger Clemens Byung-Hyun Kim Andy Pettitte Vicente Padilla Carlos Silva Greg Maddux Jeff Weaver Woody Williams Jamie Moyer Jason Johnson Aaron Sele Brian Moehler Randy Wolf Mark Mulder Jamey Wright Shawn Chacon Miguel Batista Sidney Ponson Randy Wolf Rodrigo Lopez Chan Ho Park Rodrigo Lopez The guys in bold each have substantial potential to be the ace on the club that signs him. (Re: Mulder, maybe not right away, but eventually.) I personally think Matsuzaka is the best available pitcher (think "Hideo Nomo"... but better). But the fact is that there are several other options without dropping too far down on the scale. Even given the Dais-man's tremendous potential, I would not want to be the team that gets him. I want to be the team that trades for him after his adjustment season makes him appear to be a disappointment.

posted by BullpenPro at 01:46 PM on October 16

Bullpen, I think you forgot the bold on Chan Ho Park.

posted by tron7 at 01:56 PM on October 16

Bullpen, I think you forgot the bold on Chan Ho Park. Ha-Ha!

posted by dyams at 02:52 PM on October 16

I'm not sure that's entirely true. Here is at least a partial list of free agent pitchers (source: me, could be some errors): I think any type of pronouncement about which FA player is better than another is certainly highly subjective and open for debate. Instead of getting into the specifics of whether the bolded pitchers on BPP's list are actually better than Matsuzaka (which is really impossible to measure anyway), let me clarify my point a bit. I think Matsuzaka will likely be the best free agent signing this offseason. This is largely because, while the bolded players in BPP's list have arguably been "aces" at some point in their careers, they are all, with the exception of Zito (who hasn't pitched like an ace since 200w and who had pretty poor defense-independent stats this year) and Mulder (who is a huge gamble coming off of shoulder surgery and who hasn't pitched like an ace since 2003 or the first half of 2004), on the wrong side of 30 and past their peaks. On the other hand, whoever gets Matsuzaka will get him through his peak years. Any team that signs any of the bolded pitchers to a deal of 3 years or longer will almost certainly not be getting value for that pitcher by year 2 or 3 (and probably not even in year 1). Matsuzaka has way more upside.

posted by holden at 04:34 PM on October 16

BP- No offense, but half of the pitchers on your list are terrible, or cannot be a number 1 or 2 starter in a rotation. Chan Ho Park Rodrigo Lopez Byung-Hyun Kim Shawn Chacon Randy Wolf Sidney Ponson Jeff Weaver Brian Moehler Probably some others that I don't know that well.... Pitching is always something that you cannot have enough of, and you also have to realize that half of these guys will remain with the same teams. Just between the Yankees and Red Sox, somewhere in the range of 3-5 guys will be taken off this list. The value of this guy (Matsuzaka), could be a deciding factor for some teams down the stretch next season. You also have to consider marketing purposes- look at Yankee Stadium. There are somewhere in the range of 2-6 gigantic billboards in Japanese or Chinease or something. This guy has way more potential than any upcoming free agent this season.

posted by Kendall at 06:16 PM on October 16

BPP: all of the names you highlight are at least four years older than Matsuzaka, most of them much older. They are apparently looking for a 6 year deal for Matsuzaka; no one in their right mind would give that to anyone on your highlighted list except maybe Mulder, and even that would be a stretch with his shoulder problems.

posted by tieguy at 08:18 PM on October 16

Is it just me or does that Youtube clip just sort of look like a good changeup or something? It doesn't have any of the frisbee-like sideways motion that the articles seem to describe. Looks like a hell of a pitch, just not at all like the descriptions.

posted by Bernreuther at 08:48 PM on October 16

I personally think Matsuzaka is the best available pitcher...But the fact is that there are several other options without dropping too far down on the scale. posted by BullpenPro at 1:46 PM CDT on October 16 I never said Matsuzaka was better than anyone on the list, and I never made a qualitative comment about the players on my list that weren't in bold; I only said they are all free agents. Because of Matsi's high price tag, the teams that will be in contention to bid on him will be primarily (not exclusively, but still) teams that are in the market to win next year (because most teams with that kind of payroll generally try to win every year). Many of these teams will be willing to bow out if the bidding gets crazy because they will be able to shore up their pitching holes elsewhere, for less money and fewer years, with guys who are actually league-tested and mother-approved (unlike last year, where the best FA's were A.J. Burnett, Kevin Millwood and Matt Morris and it went steeply downhill after that -- fine, Kenny Rogers... FINE! OKAY?). So, it bears repeating: I would not want to be the team that gets him. I want to be the team that trades for him after his adjustment season makes him appear to be a disappointment. Those are Dais worth rolling. (Kendall, as a Yankee fan, are you seriously telling me you haven't figured out in what language those billboards are? Seriously? I do have to find a use for the word "Chinease," though. "He manipulated his chopsticks with Chinease." What ugly Americans we are.)

posted by BullpenPro at 08:53 PM on October 16

I see many uses for this "Chinease" and it's associated Jabberwocky. "Perhaps due to his imposing presence on the mound, Yao Ming's transition from basketball center to baseball pitcher is expected to done with typical Chinease." or "Matsui and Ichiro were unable to enjoy the dim sum because of their Chin-unease with the menu." BP- No offense, but half the pitchers on your list are terrible The unhighlighted list contains some guys who had a pretty solid year, (by todays standards, say, around 200 IP and ERA of 4.50 or less) and would not surprise anyone if they did the same, namely, Meche, Padilla, Moyer, Lilly, Batista, and Williams. The rest are a crapshoot, but 1 or 2 will have a great year, you can bet on it. I'd take a chance on Wolf, Kim, Weaver, Silva, Sele, and Wright if the price was right, and I fully expect half of the rest of 'em to be wearing Texas Rangers uniforms.

posted by mjkredliner at 07:29 AM on October 17

To follow up mjk's comment, being a terrible pitcher these days doesn't preclude you from having a long major league career.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 09:54 AM on October 17

being a terrible pitcher these days doesn't preclude you from having a long major league career. Absolutely. I've never, in all my years following the sport, seen a time when so many third-rate (at best) pitchers are comprising staffs. They're also prospering financially, which is the equivalent of larceny. I hope baseball doesn't become like the NBA, with all the talent in drafts coming from overseas while any North American-born players are basically afterthoughts.

posted by dyams at 10:16 AM on October 17

I hope baseball doesn't become like the NBA, with all the talent in drafts coming from overseas while any North American-born players are basically afterthoughts. Uh, what are you talking about? If the NA players were better than the Euros, don't you think they'd be drafted? Or is this a modicum of Xenophobia? Besides the fact that the NBA probably has more American-born players than any other pro league. Certainly more the baseball. In fact - WAY more.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 10:35 AM on October 17

dyams, while in years previous to you following baseball when they had four-man rotations and fewer teams, they were also only drawing from a talent pool of white Americans.

posted by yerfatma at 11:04 AM on October 17

in years previous to you following baseball when they had four-man rotations and fewer teams, they were also only drawing from a talent pool of white Americans. And now as baseball development programs continue to slowly dwindle in the US, more and more talent keeps increasing from elsewhere. There are too many major league teams now, I agree. I guess my labeling some of the North American talent as "afterthoughts" really was misleading. If they're talented, they'll be drafted. I guess I'm just seeing the trend as being the most desirable pitchers/players being from many other countries. And yes, the NBA does still have more American-born players than any league, but each year the NBA draft has a bigger and bigger influx of foreign players. Just as most fans in North America don't know who the hell Daisuke Matsuzaka is, (with the exception of one WBC tournament) or how he could wind up being the most coveted major league prospect, possibly worthy of being a staff ace, how do NBA fans know if some of these guys from other countries being drafted in the drafts first few rounds are worthy, logical choices for the teams they follow? There's just been a slow, watering down of talent to the point mediocre players (in many sports) are being over-valued, often before ever really proving their worth.

posted by dyams at 12:08 PM on October 17

Besides the fact that the NBA probably has more American-born players than any other pro league. Certainly more the baseball. In fact - WAY more. I would think purely because of roster sizes and where the game is played, that the NFL has more American-born players than any other league. I'm also not sure whether baseball doesn't have more American-born players in terms of raw numbers (certainly more than the NBA if you count the minor leagues*), but perhaps the NBA has more American-born players as a percentage of all players than MLB (but certainly not the NFL). * According to the Baseball Almanac, there were 974 MLB players from the U.S. in 2006. I assume this includes players on each team's 40-man roster. That 974 number is presumably more players than the NBA has altogether.

posted by holden at 12:54 PM on October 17

Yes, I meant as a per capita total.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 01:22 PM on October 17

dyams, I don't get it. Why does an influx of foreign-born talent mean that the overall talent pool is diluted? Why would a foreign-born prospect be more likely to underachieve in the pros than a North American prospect? I think you are conflating two gripes. First, the idea that over-expansion has diluted the average talent levels of pro teams. Second, the increase in drafting of relatively unknown foreign talent takes some of the wind out of the draft-day hype bubble. Although I don't think these two [potential] problems are related at all, you seem to flip back and forth between them as if they are. I guess all I can say is that homegrown prospects can disappoint just as effectively as unknown foreigners (cough cough, Ben McDonald). As long as the quality of play on the field is good, I don't really care where the players come from. They can sign a space alien if he can paint the corners with a 99 mph fastball.

posted by Venicemenace at 02:47 PM on October 17

Even per-capita, the NFL would take the cake. No one else plays american football, so there is no one outside the US to draft. You get the occasional soccer/rugby player-turned-kicker, and once in a while a Canadian or Mexican-born player, but that's about it. The NBA's starting lineups are about 15% foreign-born (according to this article); no way the NFL comes anywhere near that*. Would be interesting to see the percentages for MLB/NHL/NBA, though. *NASCAR probably takes the cake, though- is there any NASCAR driver other than Juan Pablo Montoya born outside the US? [Tangentially, anyone else fascinated by Montoya's entry into NASCAR and/or waiting for him to french kiss Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in victory lane?]

posted by tieguy at 02:51 PM on October 17

Why does an influx of foreign-born talent mean that the overall talent pool is diluted? My point is this guy from Japan, who many have never heard of, seen, followed, or know anything about, is already at the top of the list of pitchers available? The guy dominates baseball in Japan, now all the teams are expected to start a bidding war? That list above that Bullpen Pro generated is 3/4 turds. I mentioned Hideki Irabu above, who was a pitcher who was supposed to be a bonafide ace. Jose Contreras generated interest as the guy who was unbeatable with Cuba, but until the past year or so he's really shown nothing. With all the watered-down talent on pitching mounds around the league, I don't want teams to start grasping at every foreign hurler that a buzz starts over as possibly being the next Sandy Koufax.

posted by dyams at 04:07 PM on October 17

With all the watered-down talent on pitching mounds around the league, I don't want teams to start grasping at every foreign hurler that a buzz starts over as possibly being the next Sandy Koufax. 2006 ERA leaders (AL) #1 Johan Santana #6 Kelvim Escobar #8 Chien-Ming Wang #9 Erik Bedard The above were all "foreign-born". The kicker is that only Bedard was drafted, while the rest were amateur free agent signings. Until MLB institutes a world-wide draft system (like the NHL and NBA), taking long shots (and big contracts) on foreign-born pitchers is going to be a common (and acceptable) strategy. My point is this guy from Japan, who many have never heard of, seen, followed, or know anything about, is already at the top of the list of [players] available? The guy dominates baseball in Japan, now all the teams are expected to start a bidding war? Sounds like someone else I know...hmmm...who is it? The point is that he's not some unheard of player. The scouts watch him (or tape of him). The stats guys pour over the numbers. The research is done before the offer is made.

posted by grum@work at 07:53 PM on October 17

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.