Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball is set to open its regular season June 19. Initially, games will be played without fans in attendance, but that may not be the case the entire summer. Former MLB reliever Frank Herrmann, now a member of NPB’s Chiba Lotte Marines, tells David Laurila of Fangraphs the league has discussed allowing some number of fans into ballparks as soon as July 10, with hopes of incrementally increasing attendance moving forward if safety permits. The NPB plans to run a 120-game condensed season, down from its typical 143-game schedule.
Turning our attention to the United States…
- As we approach the ten-year anniversary of the 2010 MLB entry draft, Ken Davidoff and Dan Martin of the New York Post look back at the Mets’ selection of Matt Harvey. Then-GM Omar Minaya credits former scouting director Rudy Terrasas for staying on the right-hander even as he slumped through a difficult sophomore season at the University of North Carolina. Minaya says the club had scouts in attendance for every one of Harvey’s starts as a junior, allowing them to feel comfortable enough to select him seventh overall when his performance rebounded that season. The story of Harvey’s meteoric rise to stardom and his equally rapid fall from that peak has been told many times. Nevertheless, Mets’ fans in particular will want to check out the full piece for an entertaining look back at the caliber of player Harvey was in his prime.
- Astros GM James Click tells Brian McTaggart of MLB.com that this year’s shortened, five-round draft forces teams more than ever to draft the best prospects on their board, rather than worrying about balancing out their minor-league systems. That’s particularly true for Houston, who lost their first and second round picks this season (and next) as punishment for their sign-stealing violations. “Even if you end up drafting four very similar players, you should be able to find playing time for them at some place and at some point,” Click tells McTaggart. Even in a typical season, MLB teams almost always select the player whom they believe to be the best available talent (subject to signability) in the early rounds of the draft. Drafting for need doesn’t make the same impact in baseball, where prospects are often years away from the majors and face high rates of attrition along the way, as it might in sports like football or basketball.