Video of Kyuji Fujikawa


h/t Carne Harris for the video link!

Looks pretty impressive. Has some nice life on his fastball up in the zone and shows a very good splitter in the video. Delivery is a little max effort but he's gotten by with it so far. Of course, this is a short sample and it's not enough to make a full scouting report, but it's fun to watch and it gives us an idea of what to expect.

Meanwhile Dave Kaplan tweets more info on Fujikawa that runs against common speculation...

Signing of Fujikawa not done to flip him. They like skill set + are trying to upgrade pitching staff. More moves coming.

Those moves are expected to focus on RF and 3B, according to Kaplan but the former seems more likely. I would think the Cubs wouldn't limit themselves to a RF'er with a strong CF market, but perhaps the Cubs have someone in mind.

Any guesses?

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  • I love the Japanese announcers. Can't understand them at all, but you gotta love their

    Looks like he's consistently around 92-94mph on his FB. I hope he's not thinking he'll be able to blow that by MLB hitters like he has done in Japan. The secondary stuff looks good too, so hopefully he know how to pitch.

    I'm curious what this signing means for Rafael Dolis....

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I think Dolis gets a crack,but it does say they don't think he can be a closer, at least not in the next 2-3 years.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Nobody thought he was ready for a shot this year. He got one because of Marmols struggle, but he proved he wasn't ready. But I was thinking maybe another season in the minors exclusively as a closer should do it. Don't forget he bounced around in his roles with the MLB club in 2012.

    Then again, if he is ready by mid year or next year.... depth is not a bad thing, right?

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    It hasn't been decided that Dolis is going to AAA. He'll get a shot in the spring.

  • If the Cubs are going to trade Carlos and Soriano and Vitters?
    I hope it for a young 3rd baseman or CF

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Would be nice if they can kill two birds with one stone. If you're going to trade those guys, maybe you can fill those holes. Of course, if you trade Soriano, you open up another hole.

  • His fastball looked like it should be hit.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    We'll see, I guess. Cubs scouts must think it will translate but you just never know until they actually face live MLB pitching.

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    Nice video, thanks for the link.

    151kmph is where his fastball was most of the time in that clip, that's just under 94mph. His splitter was 134km, that's 83mph, so nice speed separation too. His curveball was 118km, which is 73mph.

    Nobody knows how he will adjust over here but his career numbers in Japan are just silly, like video game stats. Career ERA around 1.34 I think and a career WHIP of 0.85. He doesn't have to come close to those numbers here to be a very good pitcher and succeed as a closer, so the gamble compared to Fukudome is much smaller in my view.

    Nice signing.

  • In reply to Just Win:

    Stats were insane. Hard to imagine how it will play here but it's not easy to put up those kind of numbers in the NPB, so I'm hopeful.

  • Off topic here John, what are your thoughts on Aroldis Chapman becoming a starter? With his velocity, he could be a NL version of Verlander... I'm not looking forward to facing him...

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    I like it. Hope Baker shows some common sense with him. Definitely worth a try. He could be a beast.

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    Something very odd about the "we're not going to flip him" line. if they actually said that to him, it kind of locks them in (just ask the Marlins). But if upgrading the pitching staff means taking on a 32-year old closer with declining velocity, then they must be upgrading the pitching staff for the next year or two.

    Fine and dandy. Then why trade Soriano? There is no chance you get a great value for the next two years than Soriano in that trade. Same with Garza. Likely the same with Marmol, who could be an effective setup man for Fujikawa.

    I'm not quite understanding this.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Could be something front office wants out there. They don't want FAs thinking they're signing them to trade them. Would like to know the exact wording instead of truncated tweet version. Could be something like, "We're not planning on flipping him". Even if they say, "We didnt get him to flip him", which could be true at this time, but things change. In other words, "We didn't get him to flip him, but things didnt work out the way we hoped..."

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Mike, I think it boils down to trade leverage. If you start saying/admitting that you signed a guy just to trade him, you lose leverage when it comes time to trade him.

    The Cubs made the same noise when they signed Baker and Feldman. I was disappointed that they didn't get an option for a second year on those deals because it would have brought back more value when/if they were dealt. I can certainly understand why those players wouldn't have wanted to give a club option, and it was probably a dealbreaker if the Cubs insisted on it. So when they announced the signings, there was a lot of talk about how they are looking at them long term and that these 1-year contracts are sort of an audition for a longer deal later on.

    It's certainly possible, especially with the Cubs current lack of high-end, near major league ready arms in the minors, that the Cubs may bring back one or both of Baker and Feldman, but it also keeps trade leverage from slipping away in July.

  • I now his fastball looks like it should be hit but with his secondary pitches it is probably hard to pick up.

  • Why not expand that search to seeing if they can acquie David Price from Tampa? They'd have to give up a lot - Castro, Soriano, Dolis and another top prospect, plus salary relief for Soriano. Could it be done?

  • In reply to pricewriter:

    I think Price is about as close to untouchable as it gets...

    King Felix, Strasburg, Price, etc....

  • In reply to pricewriter:

    Don't suggest trading Castro. Just don't trust me. Lol

  • In reply to pricewriter:

    I don't think Price is untouchable at all. In my opinion, there's a 60-75% chance he gets traded within the next 20 months. Especially if something weird happens and the Rays are way out of contention. It happens to at least one team every year. Big injuries and poor performances...I don't know if the Cubs have the juice to get him though. It would take Baez plus a good amount.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    He can Price (no pun intended) himself out of Tampa if he wants to. From a big market team he could challenge for biggest contract ever for a pitcher. If he gets traded before hitting the open market I can see him and his agent asking for a 7yr/175ish extension. He may get it, especially if Greinke gets north of 150.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    20 months from now?.... who knows?!!!! Not trying to predict injury or team/division performance over the next 2 seasons.... Though he would still be under 30 and in his prime.

    Just saying that there is only about a handful of dominant Aces under the age of 28 (he just turned 27) and he is one of them. That is for all intents and purposes, the most coveted player/asset in all of MLB.

  • That rising fastball strikeout at 0:53 was awesome. And it looks like he has a pretty good splitter.

  • If the Cubs looking for RF then I do not see a real good everyday CFer in house.

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    I could see the cubs sending Soriano to the Phil's for a package involving a low level pitching prospect and Dominic Brown. then signing Ryan Sweeney and Stewart on minor league deals. Then your OF is Brown, Sweeney(until Bjax is ready in June then Sweeney is your 5th), Dejesus/Sappelt.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Would be thrilled to get Brown. I think he needs a change of scenery.

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    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    When the news first broke about the Phils being interested in Soriano, the first guy I thought of was Dominic Brown! Win Win for both guys, imo..... And a huge plus for the Cubs!

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    Here's another video of Fujikawa pitching a full inning:

  • In reply to Just Win:

    Thanks JW. Gives you at least a small idea about his approach.

  • Some of those corkscrew swings gave me Fukodome flashbacks.

  • In reply to North Side Irish:

    Not to crazy about those swings. They're pretty common down there.

  • Hey, my first shout out, thanks! I'd be surprised if they really had a RF targeted since Jed was talking about liking DeJesus's defense in right but saying "we lose that" if he goes to center.

    I really like this move btw. Same reason I was hoping they'd pick up Koji Uehara - sick numbers and somewhat underpriced.

  • In reply to Carne Harris:

    Long deserved!

    I agree. If you want to upgrade the OF defense, you need to get a CF'r.

  • Youkilis makes too much sense now.

  • In reply to TheMightyGin:

    Cubs have said they are not in the running for Youk.

  • How about a deal centering around Marmol and Bourjos? He's a guy I can see Theo & Co. having in mind...

  • The Angels should hang onto him though...

  • John,
    Off topic, I hear Mark DeRosa as a replacent canidate for BB in the booth. I have been pulling for Karros but Mark's name sure came out of right field, and is an intresting option. Although he did come from the big bad JH era. Your thoughts?

  • In reply to Rock:

    Hey Rock, just posted that this morning.

  • I noticed he throws metric. Will that cause any problems with the transition?

  • In reply to h vaughn:

    When he sees he's only throwing mid 90s instead of 150, he may get discouraged and lose confidence.

  • From the videos I've seen apparently he only throws from the stretch and that seems to be like a plus splitter... I'm wondering if the radar guns in Japan are not effective or maybe Fuji has different fastballs... I've seen him (in different videos) range all the way from 88 mph to 95 mph.

    Perhaps he changes velocity on his fastball on purpose.

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    I am Japanese American who have lived in Japan for a long time and seen him pitch a lot. He has been injury prone the last few years including this past year due to right femur bone bruise. And his velocity has been down because of over usage. He has been rumored to be coming to the US for the last 3, 4 years, so we are not getting a player who is past his prime. It will be interesting to see if he can handle traveling and Major League ground which is harder than Japanese baseball field.

  • WIld Guess....

    Alfonso Soriano & Matt Garza to PHI (Perhaps Marmol as well) for Domonic Brown, Vance Worley, Ethan Martin, and Lisalverto Bonilla.

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