Tag: ryota igarashi

2010 Analysis: Ryota Igarashi

When the Mets opened camp in mid-February, Kelvim Escobar was penciled in as the setup man. Because of Escobar’s injury history, the Mets signed fireballing Japanese closer Ryota Igarashi as a backup plan. On Planet Omar, it made plenty of sense to stack two high risks into the second-most vital bullpen role.

All the hype around the Japanese import suggested that it Minaya might have something in Igarashi. He came to the US with armed with a blazing fastball, drop-dead splitter, and both a slider and curve. At one point during the winter Igarashi excitedly told reporters that he wanted to sing “God Bless America” and hit 100 MPH on the radar gun (though not necessarily at the same time). As it turned out, Igarashi had trouble adjusting to American baseball – and possibly the baseball itself.

My original suggestion that Igarashi would wind up being somewhere between Jorge Julio and Fernando Rodney was close – depending on which of Julio’s seasons you refer to. Occasionally, Igarashi showed flashes of competency, but overall, he looked overwhelmed and overmatched. He never came close to reaching triple digits, but he did reach the mid-90s. However, his secondary stuff was nonexistent and he lacked command, serving up 18 walks in 30 innings. When he did throw strikes, he was hit hard – 12 of the 29 hits he allowed were for extra bases, including 4 homers.

2011 Projection

The Mets signed Igarashi to a two-year deal, so they have him next year for $1.75M. Truthfully, there was never anything wrong with the signing – it was, in fact, a fairly strong pickup. The problem was with the expectation; he never should have been expected to fill a key bullpen role. The signing, associated fanfare, and first-season blues were startlingly reminiscent of the Kaz Matsui affair. However, for 2011 there are no expectations; Igarashi may not even be expected to make the big-league roster. That could play in his favor; like Matsui, Igarashi might have a better chance to succeed now that he has spent a year in the US and no longer has the pressure to succeed weighing on his shoulders.

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2010 Analysis: Sean Green


Remember when the Mets traded Endy Chavez, Aaron Heilman, Joe Smith, Jason Vargas, Ezequiel Carrera, and Maikel Cleto in return for Sean Green and two other Seattle Mariners? Seems like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it?

Green was supposed to be Pedro Feliciano’s foil – a right-handed situational reliever with the ability to occasionally step in as a setup man. Fans who rejoiced at the arrival of Green and the departure of Heilman soon learned that you must be careful what you wish for. Sure, Green never had the opportunity to allow a postseason homerun; but at the same time, the Mets’ dependence on talents such as Green to fill key bullpen roles was at least part of the reason they’ve been watching the playoffs from home since 2006. For those who forgot, Green was penciled in as the backup to the backup setup man in early 2010 — the man who would step in if Kelvim Escobar and Ryota Igarashi didn’t work out.

2011 Projection

Green’s time as a Met has been marked by inconsistency and injury. In an effort to salvage his career, he converted from sidearmer to submariner – a move that might’ve panned out had he given it enough time. But now that he’s back to being a sidewinder with sporadic control who turns 32 shortly after Opening Day, I’m not sure where he fits in to the Mets’ plans. He’s under the team’s control, but after earning $975K in 2010, does it make sense to renew or go the arbitration route? My guess is they’ll cut him loose and try to re-sign him on a minor-league deal.

Click here to read the 2009 Analysis of Sean Green

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Mets Game 49: Loss to Brewers

Brewers 2 Mets 0

The bad news: the 1969 Mets record of 42 consecutive scoreless innings remains intact.

Sorry, no good news.

Johan Santana and Yovani Gallardo locked horns in a good old fashioned pitchers’ duel — a real barn-burner of a contest, matching goose eggs for 8 innings. The Mets had a couple of mild threats that were extinguished, and in the end it was the Brewers who finally crossed home plate — but not before Mets pitchers extended their scoreless innings streak to 35 2/3.

Game Notes

Johan Santana allowed only 3 hits and 2 walks in 8 shutout innings, expending 105 pitches. If I were manager, I might’ve allowed Santana to go out there for the ninth. But I’m just a blogger, second-guessing from the comfort of my couch.

Yovani Gallardo gave up 8 hits and a walk, but went the distance, earning the first shutout of his career and completing only his second game ever. He struck out 7 and tossed 121 pitches in all. Several Mets batters were miffed by called strikes by home plate umpire Jeff Nelson, but from the perspective of our TV viewing angle, it appeared that Nelson was fairly consistent with the zone for both sides. Yes, many pitches were close, but I don’t trust the off-center cameras to give us the best viewpoint. Santana was getting several close calls as well.

Interestingly, Santana and Rod Barajas were the only Mets to collect more than one hit in the game. Santana blasted a double off the rightfield wall literally moments after SNY announcer Gary Cohen suggested that Johan could swing for a homerun.

Ryota Igarashi was the scapegoat and losing pitcher, as he allowed an infield single to Ryan Braun and a walkoff 2-run homer to Corey Hart with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.

Next Mets Game

The Mets face the Brewers again on Saturday night at 7:10 PM in Milwaukee. Fernando Nieve attempts to keep his arm anatomically connected while Manny Parra takes the mound for the Brew Crew.

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Mets Game 45: Win Over Yankees

Mets 6 Yankees 4

Jerry Manuel keeps his job for at least another week, maybe two.

Jason Bay continued his red-hot hitting — he is about as locked in as a batter can be right now — and Johan Santana put forth perhaps his best, most clutch outing of the year as the Mets beat the Yankees and won their first “rubber match” of 2010.

Game Notes

Johan Santana was spectacular through 7 2/3, allowing only 1 earned run on 6 hits and 3 walks, striking out three, relying predominantly on fastballs up and well-placed changeups down. He cruised from his first pitch through his 86th, but quickly lost his command in the eighth as the Yankees loaded the bases on two walks and a single. However, Pedro Feliciano came in and struck out Robinson Cano on three straight sliders — perhaps the sharpest he’s thrown all season.

Meanwhile, Jason Bay continued to carry the Mets on his back, hitting 2 homeruns in as many at-bats, walking once, and getting plunked (unintentionally). He scored two and drove in three. For those who were up in arms about Bay for the first month and a half of the season, you were told he was “streaky”.

Jose Reyes had another two hits and is starting to look a little better at the plate. Remember he sat on a couch for over a month.

Luis Castillo was a late scratch from the lineup and Alex Cora took over the #2 hole. He made all of us eat crow with another clutch 2-out, 2-RBI single, followed by a stolen base. Championship ballplayer, or performing well enough in spots to create that illusion? You decide.

There are rumblings that Castillo will need to go on the DL shortly. If so there’s an outside chance that Cora’s vesting option for 2011 automatically kicks in based on games started (he needs to start 80, he’s started in 17 thus far).

Ryota Igarashi, who was activated from the DL a few hours before game time, came on in the ninth to protect a 6-1 lead. He proceeded to throw the ball all over the place and allow the Yankees to rally, forcing Jerry Manuel to bring in K-Rod. Iggy’s final line was 1/3 inning, 3 runs, 2 hits, 1 walk, 18 pitches.

Francisco Rodriguez caused everyone a minor heart attack en route to his 8th save. He threw 21 pitches in the process, following up his 5-out, 28-pitch performance on Saturday night. That’s 49 pitches in two days and 63 pitches over the last four. The Mets have an off day on Monday but will that be enough rest before they face the Phillies on Tuesday?

Next Mets Game

As just mentioned, Mets have off on Monday then start a three-game set vs. the first-place Phillies in Flushing on Tuesday at 7:10 PM. R.A. Dickey takes the mound against Jamie Moyer in what promises to be the MLB game with the lowest average MPH per pitch.

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Kelvim Escobar Out for the Year

Stunning, shocking headline, I know. We were all counting on the once-nearly-good Escobar to handle the eighth inning for the Mets, but he has suffered an out-of-the-blue setback that requires season-ending surgery.

This wasn’t even going to be given the importance of a post, since we more or less wrote off Escobar the day we heard he couldn’t grip a baseball (and for those who kept the faith, his “weakness” might have sent you toward reality). The idea that he might pitch at all in 2010 was considered a joke, in fact.

But after the official news of Escobar’s impending surgery broke, I received several emails from you, the loyal readership, and felt compelled to address the issue.

So … there goes $1.5M down the drain. To be fair, it was much less painful (pardon the pun) a loss than last year’s J.J. Putz debacle. Had the Mets signed him to be an extra arm, or “gravy”, rather than as “the guy” for the 8th inning, it would have been a logical, safe gamble.

The good news is, the Mets have a backup plan in place named Ryota Igarashi.

Oh, wait … he’s on the DL, isn’t he? So then it must be Sean Gre… never mind. I guess I meant Kiko Calero. Oh shoot, Calero is in AAA because he was signed so late (after it was discovered Escobar could grip a pen but not a ball), and he allowed 7 runs in his last outing for Buffalo, didn’t he? Well, that’s better than Johan Santana did in his last appearance, so there’s that. Luckily, the Mets have Brian Stokes. Er, I mean … Bobby Parnell. No, that’s not right, either … um … who IS the setup man?

Ah, relief pitching is overrated anyway … better to have spent big bucks on second-string catchers and experienced backup infielders.

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Is That a Balk?

Check out the video of Japanese hurler Ryota Igarashi posted by Matt Cerrone at MetsBlog:

OK, watch it again.

One more time, please.

Is it me, or is “Gimme Three Steps” by Lynyrd Skynyrd running through Igarashi’s head when he comes to the set from the stretch position?

All that footwork ain’t gonna fly come game time. He’s balking, and umpires will call it. I vaguely remember other Japanese imports having similar hitches and hesitations in their motion, which caused problems in their MLB rookie seasons. Apparently the rules are a little different in NPB.

I don’t bring this up to be negative, but in the hopes that someone (Dan Warthen) takes note and adjusts his routine accordingly now rather than later. Left uncorrected all spring, it could turn out to be a major issue.

By the way, big kudos to Matt Cerrone for his massive, multi-channel, multimedia coverage of spring training. He’s like James Brown — the hardest-working man in the Mets blogosphere.

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Igarashi May Sing God Bless America

We may have to start a Ryota Igarashi series to chronicle all the plans, activities, and goals developed by the Mets’ newest free agent signee.

Check out this tidbit that was posted earlier this month on our new favorite Japanese blog, YakyuBaka.com:

Ryota Igarashi still doesn’t have an MLB home, but that hasn’t stopped him from thinking about singing “God Bless America” during his press conference (whenever and with whomever it might be with).

“I’m going to sing a song. God Bless America would be nice. Everyone in the US knows it and it’s a really famous song. I think it’ll show people how much I love the US,” said Igarashi.

I’m posting this item today because “God Bless America” seems to be a hot topic. Thomas Boswell recently suggested 10 ways to speed up baseball, which included removal of the playing of the song at games. Boswell’s list was subsequently analyzed by Rob Neyer, and Neyer agreed with Boswell’s recommendation regarding “God Bless America”. And as the world wide web turns, Ted Berg also supports the idea.

Whatever happens with “God Bless America” during ballgames is up to Bud Selig, but I’ll go on a limb and guess that Igarashi’s rendition won’t be heard after his press conference — if it’s heard at all.

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