Brim: The ‘Quad-A’ myth: How many potential MLB players are playing in Japan?

From Daniel Brim at The Athletic on April 25, 2018:

There is a common misconception among baseball fans when judging the talent level of Nippon Professional Baseball, Japan’s top-level league. A common shorthand way to classify NPB among MLB fans and evaluators is to call it a “quad-A level” of play. This classification is often backed up with the stories of players who did not succeed in Major League Baseball doing well in Japan; the accomplishments of hitters like Wladimir Balentien and Matt Murton are used to denigrate the quality of the league as a whole, since, the argument goes, they were not high-quality MLB players before moving overseas.

However, calling NPB “quad-A” is a critical mistake. It implies the talent level is relatively flat. Calling it a “level” is, in fact, an oversimplification, one which serves to downplay the competition that NPB players face.

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Originally published: April 25, 2018. Last Updated: April 25, 2018.