The offseason free agent market just landed another pitcher to watch now that the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles have announced that they will post Hisashi Iwakuma, making him available to U.S. teams if they offer the Golden Eagles a sufficient posting fee.
Iwakuma has been one of the best pitches in Japan for several years. Here's our scouting report on Iwakuma from our World Baseball Classic Top 10 Prospects list compiled in early 2009.
3. Hisashi Iwakuma, rhp, Japan
While many of the players listed on this Top 10 are barely in their 20s, Iwakuma is a pitching veteran.
Unlike most of the other pitchers on this list, Iwakuma has had some health concerns, as he missed most of the 2006 season with a shoulder injury, and he struggled in 2007 as well. But he returned to full health in 2008, as he went 21-4, 1.87 to lead the Pacific League in ERA and wins to earn the league's MVP award.
Iwakuma doesn't light up a radar gun, as his fastball sits around 89-90 mph and tops out at 93, but he pairs it with a nasty split-finger fastball that dives at the plate and a solid-to-plus slider. As he showed throughout the World Baseball Classic, Iwakuma is extremely efficient. He carved up Cuba, needing only 66 pitches to work six innings.
Iwakuma could head to the U.S. as soon as his current contract is up. If he did, he would have little problem finding teams ready to plug him into their rotation.
"He would step into any rotation in the majors right now; he might be the No. 1 for half the teams in the majors," an American League scout said. "He's very impressive across the board."
Comments will be monitored prior to being added to the site. Comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be rejected. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed.
We have chosen to open up commenting to everyone, so comment away! We want to hear from each and every one of you! Leave a comment.
About This Blog
Syndicate This Blog
Search This Blog