Former Royals in Japan (thru mid-June 2010)

Japanese pro baseball (NPB) has a lot of fascinating aspects to it. One of them is the reality that a lot of the American players in Japan are similar to the dudes that Allard Baird signed as reclamation projects. How Emil Brown hasn't had a stint in Japan is beyond me.

But another fun reality of Japanese baseball is how 4-A Royals are providing a lot of firepower for Japanese teams. Also, random Royals guys are hanging out there as Pitchers. Let's start with the hitters.

067_53155116_medium In some respects, the home run king of Japan is former Omaha Royals legend Craig Brazell. Brazell plays for the Hanshin Tigers (The Texas A&M Aggies of Japanese Baseball) and he leads the Central League in home runs with 19. He has a batting line of 287/328/588. He's on pace for 40 home runs, although this could change due to the Japanese baseball tendency of pitchers not giving sluggers anything to hit for weeks at a time.


I'm gonna assume that Brazell is hitting a home run here

005_93195114_medium Hot on the heels of Craig Brazell is Tokyo Yakult Swallows slugger Aaron Guiel. Guiel has 15 HRs so far and a batting line of 211/357/457. Guiel has played in Japan since 2007, hitting 88 home runs with a season-high of 35 home runs in 2007. Guiel has also been hit by 63 pitches while in Japan. Another oddity of his hitting is that he only has 4 doubles. Which probably means that he's old, slow, and willing to get hit by a 70mph curveball. At least the eye surgery paid off in some form.

042_81885131_medium Saitama Seibu Lions slugger Dee Brown is providing the power in the Pacific League with 13 HRs and a batting line of 230/317/452. Dee Brown's hitting stats are typical of American players in Japan, lots of strikeouts (weird how the strikezone expands, eh), some walks, home runs, and that's why they're there. The Pacific League leader in home runs is Jose Ortiz, a 32 year old Dominican slugger who was in the major leagues from 2000 to 2002 with the A's and Rockies (in fact Ortiz was one of 3 A's traded to the Rockies in exchange for Jermaine Dye). He was sent to Japan in 2003, playing for two years and returned in 2007.

011_01805131_medium Not every American hitter in Japan will be successful immediately. Hiroshima Toyo Carp first baseman/pinch runner Justin Huber started off very slowly in Japan before being sent to the Carp's AAA team. After hanging around there for May (with 5 hits in 26 AB and 3 HR while in Japanese AAA), Huber returned on June 12th with a 1 for 3 showing, and he followed it up with 1 for 4 with a home run. This elevates his batting line to 197/269/366 with 3 home runs, 5 walks, and 15 strikeouts in 78 PA. The Carp didn't play until today, and the publication of a box score is a bit late, so I can't tell you if Huber played. But with the absurdly large rosters every team shows (6 catchers on Hiroshima), Huber could be Hubered at any time.


"Oh no, I gave up a home run to Justin Huber!"

Some Royals pitchers in Japan include Justin Huber's teammate, John Bale. Bale has 14 Ks in 16 IP over 16 games. Fortunately for Bale, Japanese hotel doors are much easier to batter. The Yokohama BayStars counter the presence of John Bale with their lefty reliever Stephen Randolph, who was in the Royals organization for a few weeks last year. Nippon Ham Fighters reliever Buddy Carlyle pitched in the Royals minor league system in 2003, hanging out in Wichita then. Carlyle has 10 Ks and 10 walks in 22 1/3 innings, which means that he's probably coming back to America soon. Meanwhile the Chiba Lotte Marines welcomed Yasuhiko Yabuta back to their team and he has 28Ks in 27 2/3 IP. The best of all former Royals pitchers in Japan is Bobby Keppel, who is 8-1 with a 2.96 ERA and 36 K in 73 IP. Keppel's ERA is the 8th best in the Pacific League, as he and Buddy Carlyle presumably warn Yu Darvish about the Royals.


Traditionalists blamed a drop in Keppel's performance to him letting his family hang out on the field

Who would have known that so many members of the Royals organization in 2003 would be in Japan now? Or that in the Bautista/Huber trade, Huber would be the first guy brought to Japan as a mercenary bat?

To close this Royals in Japan update, here's a picture of a player acknowledging the World Cup:


Sayonara dudes


Extra info from Japan Baseball Daily:

Aaron Guiel was the first player to have two HBP in an inning and had elbow surgery after 2008 after an injury in April 2008. Or Huber got so Hubered that he grew 3 inches. Dee Brown's first hit was a home run, and he hit the 90,000th home run in NPB history. Brazell hit two home runs on the day that his son was born. Stephen Randolph was the first non-Japanese pitcher to hit a home run in his first PA. John Bale was the closer for Hiroshima until he pulled a groin muscle slipping on a rain soaked mound in 2006.

Former Royals who pitched in Japan randomly: Les Walrond (2009), Jonah Bayliss (2009, and who fans felt looked like Daniel Radcliffe), DJ Carrasco (who earned $2M in some form of currency for 10 1/3 IP over 3 starts in 2006), Scott Dohmann showed up there in 2009 as well. Mike Wood was 3-12 in Japan in 2008.

The only thing to conclude from that last paragraph is that Luis Mendoza will pitch in Japan before 2015, for 3 appearances.

This FanPost was written by a member of the Royals Review community. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and writers of this site.

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Royals Review

You must be a member of Royals Review to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Royals Review. You should read them.

Join Royals Review

You must be a member of Royals Review to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Royals Review. You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.