In one of the best, most shocking moments of the season, Mets right-hander Bartolo Colon hit his first career home run Saturday night, a two-run shot off the Padres’ James Shields. It took Colon until the age of 42 to go yard, making him the oldest player in major league history to finally break through with a homer. The ball exited Colon’s bat at 97 mph and traveled 365 feet at pitcher-friendly Petco Park, according to Statcast (data and video courtesy of SI Wire). Colon savored the accomplishment by taking a 30-second trot around the bases. He also impersonated Babe Ruth on the mound by turning in a nice pitching performance, throwing 6 2/3 innings of three-run ball in a 6-3 win.
We won’t top that tonight, but here’s more from the sport:
- Japanese right-hander Shohei Otani might be willing to leave his homeland for the majors if teams see him as both a pitcher and a hitter, tweets Jim Allen of Kyodo News. The 21-year-old Otani is in the midst of his third straight dominant season as a pitcher for the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, and he’s on an early offensive tear with a .308/.362/.654 line in 58 plate appearances. Otani is a career .251/.306/,450 hitter with 23 home runs (including five this year) in 615 PAs. “He’s going to have to make a choice. Either way he’s going to be an All-Star-caliber player as a hitter or pitcher,” an American League scout told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe in February.
- The Phillies were among the many teams with a scout in attendance at free agent righty Tim Lincecum’s showcase Friday, reports Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer. At 31, Lincecum would become the elder statesman of the Phillies’ young rotation if he were to sign with them, though the club may have simply been doing its due diligence when it scouted the two-time Cy Young Award winner.
- Omar Infante has gotten the vast majority of playing time for the Royals at second base this year, but his days as the everyday option there are winding down, writes Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com. “I’m just trying to find ways to keep him productive,” said manager Ned Yost. “Sometimes more recovery time makes him more productive. So playing him four days a week or three days a week or five days a week is better than seven days a week. His arm is shortening up and his range is shortening up.” After a stretch of solid production with multiple teams from 2009-13, Infante joined the Royals on a four-year, $30.25MM contract and immediately began a steep decline. In 1,126 plate appearances with Kansas City, Infante has hit a paltry .238/.269/.328 – including a .247/.284/.326 line in 96 PAs this season. Fellow Royals second baseman Christian Colon hasn’t been any better offensively in the early going, having slashed .250/.300/.286 in 30 PAs.
What does otani mean when he wants to be treated as a pitcher and hitter? Does he want to pitch every fifth day then get starts in the field or dh the rest? That would be amazing if he did, but I doubt any team would want their player out there so much
“Hideki Kuriyama, manager of the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters, will be using Shohei Otani as a position player three times a week this regular season… For example: If Otani gets a start on Saturday, he would rest on Sunday and Monday, play in games as a position player on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and rest on Friday.”
Scheduling for him is like this there in Japan, may be different there if he makes a jump to the Major Leagues (https://fan-interference.com/2016/04/02/soon-to-be-major-leaguer-shohei-otani-just-homered-in-back-to-back-days/).
No MLB team would ever do that. The injury risk is too great. He would have to get signed to do one or the other.
How is the injury risk too great? Is the injury risk too great for all of the other people put out on the field every day. I think it might actually be too much rest. Start on Sat, rest on Sun, play M-W in the field, start Thursday. It would be a regular rest and give some of your regular position players a day off per week. He could be the ultimate super utility player. You could easily keep an extra bullpen arm all season that way as well.
You’re forgetting that pitchers have a 40 or 50-pitch throw day between starts, and position players rarely make high-effort throws, maybe a couple a week, rather than 100 every five days. Arm fatigue exists. And it would effect his batting as well.
Because it only takes getting hit in the wrist by a pitch once and a few broken bones when hitting to put your ace on the DL for a long time.
reginaado is any one in japan worried about Fujinami’s slow start? why are his k/9 down?
“reginaado is any one in japan worried about Fujinami’s slow start? why are his k/9 down?”
In Fujinami Shintaro’s 3 starts in the regular season, Fujinami went 3-0 with 24 strikeouts in 22 innings pitched, also with 8 walks in that span… becoming the first Hanshin Tiger pitcher this year to accumulate 3 wins in their first 3 games in the season. It’s still early, so there’s pretty much nothing to worry about when it comes to Fujinami… After acquiring his 3rd win back in April 12, he’s experiencing a bit of a slump in his next games after that… I’m pretty sure he’ll find his rhythm soon.
“becoming the first Hanshin Tiger pitcher this year to accumulate 3 wins in their first 3 games in the season.”
Since Shimoyanagi Tsuyoshi (4-0 in 4 starts) and Scott Atchison (3-0 in 3 starts) back in 2008. (Just a little bit of adding in that.)
“I doubt any team would want their player out there so much”
Why not? All of the other players are out there that much.
All their other players don’t throw 100 high-effort throws every 5th day. Arm fatigue is an actual thing, and it would effect his batting and any position he might play. There’s a reason no teams do this.
And yet he does it in Japan (and quite well this year). The fact that they use 6-man rotations there can’t be the only reason why it’s possible in Japan and impossible here.
The article also says he has a .250 career average in Japan which would concern me. His best bet is probably being a pitcher in the NL and hitting when he pitches.
.250 BA, but .450 SLG. Don’t forget also that he’s only 21. Most 21-year-old hitters would still be in A-ball over here, maybe AA if they were really advanced. I would say his batting line is pretty darn impressive given his age and the fact that he’s not even a full-time hitter.
The benefits of having a guy on your roster that is essentially filling two positions could be worth the risk. I’d assume he would get the days before and after he pitches off, and play the 2 games in the middle of that in the field, forming a platoon with another fielder. 34 starts, 68 games in the field; if he performs at both positions you’re looking at a guy who could give you immense value, especially given that he looks like a stud as a pitcher.
If letting him play the field is the difference between signing him or not, I let him play the field and if he suffers an injury that is directly correlated to doing both, then you can probably wriggle out of the arrangement and turn him into a full-time starter.
Unfortunately, of those two days in the middle you would have him playing the field, one of those would be his throw day, and I doubt highly a team would send him out to play the field after a 40 or 50 pitch bullpen session. He might get away with it in Japan because starters only pitch once a week, but not so much here.
I do think if you had a reliever who could hit a little bit that would be a nice option to have on the bench – relievers don’t have such a regimented throwing schedule and if they were just a backup/pinch hitter it wouldn’t put too much strain on arms. The Brewers did this several years ago with Brooks Kieshnick, who was an ok hitter and pitcher, and I always wondered why teams didn’t do this with Micah Owings. He was always used as a starter and would occasionally pinch hit, but he wasn’t a good starter. He maight have been a useful reliever/pinch-hitter/1B.
He played OF Owings. It might work in MLB if it was Fifth Starter.
Saw him pitch “live” a couple weeks ago. He can hit mid to upper 90s with his fastball; has real strikeout stuff. Would love to see an MLB team let him go both ways, but it’d never happen.if he had to choose, His value as a pitcher is probably higher In my opinion.
Would never work, pitchers don’t just sit around when they are not starting games they spend the full week recovering/ getting ready for their next start.