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Japanese Born Pitchers Who Played In MLB

Posted by Steve Lombardi on November 8, 2010

The Oakland A's have won the rights to sign Hisashi Iwakuma to a contract.

Here's a list of all pitchers born in Japan to pitch in Major League Baseball (min. 10 IP) -

Rk Player ERA+ IP From To Age G GS GF W L W-L% SV BB SO ERA HR BF Tm  
1 Takashi Saito 200 299.1 2006 2010 36-40 292 0 182 17 13 .567 84 94 366 2.19 19 1195 LAD-BOS-ATL Miyagi, Japan
2 Akinori Otsuka 171 232.0 2004 2007 32-35 236 0 96 13 15 .464 39 80 217 2.44 12 951 SDP-TEX Chiba, Japan
3 Hideki Okajima 152 238.0 2007 2010 31-34 254 0 42 16 8 .667 6 81 209 3.06 26 1001 BOS Kyoto, Japan
4 Ken Takahashi 141 27.1 2009 2009 40-40 28 0 5 0 1 .000 0 14 23 2.96 2 116 NYM Yokohama, Japan
5 Kazuhiro Sasaki 138 223.1 2000 2003 32-35 228 0 201 7 16 .304 129 77 242 3.14 24 925 SEA Tokyo, Japan
6 Shingo Takatsu 138 98.2 2004 2005 35-36 99 0 69 8 6 .571 27 40 88 3.38 17 413 CHW-TOT Hiroshima, Japan
7 Shigetoshi Hasegawa 125 720.1 1997 2005 28-36 517 8 191 45 43 .511 33 265 447 3.70 76 3031 ANA-SEA Kobe, Japan
8 Koji Uehara 124 110.2 2009 2010 34-35 55 12 22 3 6 .333 13 17 103 3.58 12 453 BAL Osaka, Japan
9 Hiroki Kuroda 111 497.0 2008 2010 33-35 83 82 0 28 30 .483 0 114 362 3.60 40 2071 LAD Osaka, Japan
10 Keiichi Yabu 110 126.0 2005 2008 36-39 100 0 25 7 6 .538 1 58 92 4.00 9 564 OAK-SFG Mie, Japan
11 Daisuke Matsuzaka 110 585.1 2007 2010 26-29 98 98 0 46 27 .630 0 278 542 4.18 60 2537 BOS Tokyo, Japan
12 Hisanori Takahashi 108 122.0 2010 2010 35-35 53 12 21 10 6 .625 8 43 114 3.61 13 516 NYM Tokyo, Japan
13 Steve Chitren 107 78.0 1990 1991 23-24 64 0 24 2 4 .333 4 36 66 3.58 8 335 OAK Tokyo, Japan
14 Masanori Murakami 106 89.1 1964 1965 20-21 54 1 21 5 1 .833 9 23 100 3.43 10 357 SFG Otsuki, Japan
15 Tomo Ohka 104 1070.0 1999 2009 23-33 202 178 11 51 68 .429 0 302 590 4.26 140 4620 BOS-MON-TOT-MIL-TOR-CLE Kyoto, Japan
16 Masato Yoshii 101 757.1 1998 2002 33-37 162 118 9 32 47 .405 0 222 447 4.62 112 3219 NYM-COL-MON Osaka, Japan
17 Kazuhito Tadano 98 54.1 2004 2005 24-25 15 4 2 1 1 .500 0 18 40 4.47 6 241 CLE Tokyo, Japan
18 Hideo Nomo 98 1976.1 1995 2008 26-39 323 318 2 123 109 .530 0 908 1918 4.24 251 8462 LAD-TOT-MIL-DET-BOS-TBD-KCR Osaka, Japan
19 Takashi Kashiwada 96 31.1 1997 1997 26-26 35 0 11 3 1 .750 0 18 19 4.31 4 145 NYM Tokyo, Japan
20 Kenshin Kawakami 94 243.2 2009 2010 34-35 50 41 4 8 22 .267 1 89 164 4.32 25 1060 ATL Tokushima, Japan
21 Kazuhisa Ishii 90 564.0 2002 2005 28-31 105 102 0 39 34 .534 0 354 435 4.44 70 2496 LAD-NYM Chiba, Japan
22 Hideki Irabu 90 514.0 1997 2002 28-33 126 80 28 34 35 .493 16 175 405 5.15 91 2236 NYY-MON-TEX Hyogo, Japan
23 Mac Suzuki 86 465.2 1996 2002 21-27 117 67 11 16 31 .340 0 265 327 5.72 67 2126 SEA-TOT-KCR Kobe, Japan
24 Masahide Kobayashi 84 65.1 2008 2009 34-35 67 0 36 4 5 .444 6 18 39 5.10 10 289 CLE Yamanashi, Japan
25 Steve Randolph 84 155.0 2003 2007 29-33 109 6 18 10 7 .588 0 136 134 5.52 22 742 ARI-HOU Okinawa, Japan
26 Masao Kida 82 95.2 1999 2005 30-36 65 2 24 1 1 .500 1 39 68 5.83 9 432 DET-LAD-TOT-SEA Tokyo, Japan
27 Craig House 82 13.2 2000 2000 22-22 16 0 3 1 1 .500 0 17 8 7.24 3 69 COL Okinawa, Japan
28 Jeff McCurry 79 128.1 1995 1999 25-29 111 0 34 3 12 .200 1 63 60 5.89 24 594 DET-COL-PIT-HOU Tokyo, Japan
29 Satoru Komiyama 72 43.1 2002 2002 36-36 25 0 13 0 3 .000 0 12 33 5.61 7 194 NYM Chiba, Japan
30 Kei Igawa 68 71.2 2007 2008 27-28 16 13 1 2 4 .333 0 37 53 6.66 15 337 NYY Oarai, Japan
31 Micheal Nakamura 64 38.1 2003 2004 26-27 31 0 9 0 3 .000 1 9 38 7.51 11 176 MIN-TOR Nara, Japan
32 Junichi Tazawa 64 25.1 2009 2009 23-23 6 4 1 2 3 .400 0 9 13 7.46 4 130 BOS Yokohama, Japan
33 Yasuhiko Yabuta 62 51.2 2008 2009 35-36 43 0 15 3 4 .429 0 24 34 7.14 9 245 KCR Osaka, Japan
34 Ryota Igarashi 56 30.1 2010 2010 31-31 34 0 11 1 1 .500 0 18 25 7.12 4 135 NYM Chiba, Japan
35 Takahito Nomura 49 13.2 2002 2002 33-33 21 0 2 0 0   0 18 9 8.56 2 71 MIL Kouchi, Japan
36 Masumi Kuwata 47 21.0 2007 2007 39-39 19 0 3 0 1 .000 0 15 12 9.43 6 103 PIT Osaka, Japan
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 11/8/2010.

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What's your opinion on how Japanese born pitchers have done pitching in Major League Baseball?

This entry was posted on Monday, November 8th, 2010 at 2:25 pm and is filed under Season Finders. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

6 Responses to “Japanese Born Pitchers Who Played In MLB”

  1. I'm all for having Japanese players in the MLB. They have a good system in Japan. I remember when Kazuhiro Sasaki came in with Seattle and how hard the drop was on his fastball was. I loved watching him pitch!

  2. It does seem like the RP imports have done better than the SP imports. I wonder if that's because there's more rest between starts in Japan?

  3. DoubleDiamond Says:

    Seeing the names Steve Randolph, Craig House, and Jeff McCurry on this list makes me wonder if they were born in Japan to American parents because one parent (or even both) was in the service or was otherwise only there temporarily, especially if these guys basically grew up in the U.S. (or a combination of the U.S. and other countries as military "brats").

    Over the years, I've tended to break down foreign born players into three categories:

    1. Players who were born and raised in a foreign country to parents who were from that country, who did all or most of their baseball development there. Examples would be a great deal of the players from the Caribbean and Latin America.

    2. Players who were born in a foreign country to parents who were from that country but came to the U.S. to live while still young enough to do all or most of their baseball development here. Examples would be sons of European immigrants in the 1800s and the first half of the 1900s (including the recently deceased Bobby Thomson from Scotland) and the sons of immigrants from the Caribbean and Latin America in recent years (including Jose Canseco from Cuba).

    3. Players with at least one American parent who were born in a foreign country during a time when their parents were temporarily living there, usually due to military service, who then returned to the U.S. to do all or most of their baseball development here. Examples would be Giants manager Bruce Bochy and former Phillies shortstop Steve Jeltz, both of whom were born in France while a parent was stationed their in the service.

    One thing I have noticed over the years is that very few Asian Americans have become major leaguers, and most that have are from Hawaii.

  4. I loved watching Kazuhiro Sasaki pitch for the Mariners! He had a split that totally dropped out of the zone at the last second. He pitched very well for them and I was sorry to see him go.

    He pitched very well in the playoffs except for that 2001 ALCS game against the Yankees.

  5. Two things...
    1) A few years ago I noticed that most Japanese pitchers (and, I think, Korean too) seemed to have an immediate effect, but after two or three years become useless or a shell of themselves.

    2) Unless I missed somebody, particularly this year, no Japanese player has played more than a handful of games at 1B. Not a single Win Share, I think.

  6. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Ishikawa on the Giants plays first.

    .....aaaand I just looked him up and see he's American. Never mind.

    Per the PI, Norihiro Nakamura is the only Japanese to play 1B, 15 innings for the Dodgers in 2005.