Home PageClubhouse!

Baseball Analysis  The Baseball Guru Archives

[Previous entry: "VIVA BEISBOL Extra (Mexican Pro Baseball News)"] [Main Index] [Next entry: "VIVA BEISBOL (Mexican Pro Baseball News)"]

03/10/2006 Archived Entry: "Japanese Baseball: Orix Buffaloes Team Preview 2006"

Japanese Baseball: Orix Buffaloes Team Preview 2006
Glenn Davies, Tokyo

    The first season for the combined Orix Buffaloes team finished with them in fourth place after several years of last place finishes. Orix managed to revive fan interest by competing for a playoff spot in the final weeks of the season and if new additions pan out, they could find themselves in a fight for third again. Pitching looks strong enough to compete and the additions of Nakamura and Kiyohara are designed to provide the extra power needed to get them into third. Manager Katsuhiro Nakamura will however need to keep an eye on a free swinging lineup that has the unfortunate ability to hit .240 or so, feast or famine for the Buffaloes in 2006?

Probable Lineup
2005 Stats
1. CF Arihito Muramatsu .247 0 30 7
2. 2B Keichi Hirano .285 3 33 6
3. LF Yoshitomo Tani .248 6 36 3
4. DH Kazuhiro Kiyohara .212 22 52 0
5. 3B Norihiro Nakamura(LADod) .128 0 3 0
6. RF Karim Garcia .307 21 60 3
7. 1B Hirotoshi Kitagawa .259 16 67 3
8. SS Masahiro Abe .281 2 35 5
9. C Takeshi Hidaka .217 1 31 1
@ INF Jason Grabowski .161 4 12 1
@ OF Cliff Brumbaugh .263 19 57 0

 Muramatsu leads off but doesn't get on base enough or run as much as he once did and may be best suited to a spot in the lower order. Hirano at second provides a good glove but doesn't set the table well either. The always overrated Tani bats third but regularly underachieves and has lost a lot of bat speed. His HR totals and average have plummeted from 21 to 6 and .350 to .248 respectively in just 3 seasons. Once feared power hitters Kiyohara and Nakamura will be looking to re-establish their reputations with Orix. Kiyohara is perhaps in his last season and a few years of injury have seen his fielding and running skills all but vanish. Nakamura made no secret of his disappointment at not getting a better look in L.A and his 22HRs at AAA Las Vegas bode well for 2006. Both however tend to swing for the fences at the cost of average. Kitagawa, Abe and Hidaka need to make better contact to be more productive and keep Orix rallies going. Brumbaugh and Grabowski provide excellent fielding and power options for Orix.

Probable Rotation:
Name Games W L Sv ERA
SP Hidetaka Kawagoe 24 6 8 0 3.66
SP Masato Yoshii 15 6 5 0 4.03
SP Dan Serafini 27 11 4 0 2.91
SP Tom Davey 18 6 6 0 2.98
SP Katsuhiko Maekawa 2 0 0 0 2.45
SU Daisuke Katoh 60 6 3 2 2.76
CP Masanobu Okubo 39 2 2 22 1.60

With last years ace J.P off to the Giants, Kawagoe inherits the role. Kawagoe has yet to win 10 games or get anywhere the expected 200 innings desired from a starter. Yoshii bounced back from two poor seasons at Orix to record his first winning season since returning from the majors. He, like Kawagoe, is not overpowering and will need to pitch selectively to win more. Serafini comes over form Japan Series champions Chiba and will likely be the ace by mid- season. Davey comes in from Hiroshima where he provided quality starts with little run support. Maekawa is another newcomer , arriving via a trade from Hanshin. He will be hoping to reagin the starting form that saw him win 12 games in 2001 when he was with the then Kintetsu Buffaloes. Injures have limited Maekawa over the past two seasons. Katoh provided excellent mid-relief or set-up and has a very deceptive knuckleball. Okubo came back from two seasons of injury to record 22 saves in '05 and reestablish himself as a closer.

HomeGuru's Baseball Book StoreLink to UsBraintrust & Mailing ListsEmail the GuruContact InfoBaseball Analysis Home