Sarris: Learning from the Japanese game

From SABR member Eno Sarris at on February 16, 2015:

There in the Giants clubhouse, behind the stars you’ve heard everything about, are two rare players. They’ve made a circuit that very few players have made before. After surviving the gauntlet, they took some time to pass on what they learned during their travels East.

New Giants’ third baseman Casey McGehee was pretty sure his Major League Baseball career was over when he packed his bags for Sendai in Japan. “Going over there, that was one of the toughest parts, I knew the chances of coming back weren’t great,” McGehee said before FanFest last week.

But both McGehee and right-hander Ryan Vogelsong made it back, and to the same team no less. Of the 167 foreigners who have played in Nippon Professional Baseball since 1998, Brian Cartwright found that only 11 position players have managed more than 100 plate appearances back in America. And only Julio Franco and McGehee managed as much as 300 in one season. Only nine pitchers pitched for more than one season in the majors after returning from Japan.

Or: Nobody since 1998 has come back from Japan and become a full-time starter like McGehee, and only Eric Stults, Colby Lewis and Ryan Vogelsong have returned and managed more than 100 innings twice in the big leagues.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: February 17, 2015. Last Updated: February 17, 2015.