A pair of former big leaguers have signed with teams in Asia over the past few days.
- Right-hander Raúl Alcántara is joining the Hanshin Tigers of Nippon Professional Baseball, per a team announcement. The 28-year-old will be making his first trip to Japan’s highest level; he has spent the past two seasons in the Korea Baseball Organization. After posting solid but unspectacular numbers with the KT Wiz in 2019, Alcántara found a new gear this past season. Over 198.2 innings with the Doosan Bears in 2020, he worked to a 2.54 ERA with 8.2 K/9 against 1.4 BB/9. That earned him the Choi Dong-Won Award as the KBO’s top pitcher and sufficiently impressed the Tigers to bring him aboard. Alcántara’s big league experience consists of 46.1 innings of 7.19 ERA/7.45 FIP ball with the 2016-17 Athletics.
- One of Alcántara’s former teammates in Oakland, Dillon Overton, also secured a job overseas. He signed with the Rakuten Monkeys of Taiwan’s Chinese Professional Baseball League, the club announced. A former A’s second-rounder, Overton combined for a 9.13 ERA/7.74 FIP across 47.1 MLB innings with Oakland and Seattle from 2016-17. The 29-year-old southpaw spent the 2018-19 seasons in the high minors with the Padres but didn’t make it back to the highest level. This will be his first season in a foreign pro league.
FredMcGriff for the HOF
Moneyball to Asia.
I wish Overton would get serious about his career and stop Monkeying around.
Again——-why, all of a sudden are mlb players leaving the USA??? It use to be just the opposite.
1. what is the history of foreign pitchers winning the Sawamura award and 2. what are Alcantara’s odds, because he’s a sleeper especially if Suguano is out of the picture.
Based on my limited knowledge of the Asian leagues, I don’t believe many foreign pitchers (if more than one or two at the most) have won the best pitcher award in the Japanese leagues. It happens fairly regularly in the KBO however.
Again, going off my very limited knowledge / interest in the Asian professional leagues, I seem to recall reading an article that the voters in the Japan leagues do not like to vote for foreign born pitchers for their annual league awards. They tend to vote for Japanese-born players to help bring attention to their league and home grown talent, so one would think it would be unlikely for Alcantara to be considered a favorite for the 2021 league award. They do vote for foreign born players for their offensive / position player awards though.
I agree it would be hard for a American player to win top honors. But pitchers throw more breaking stuff and these guys can improve their game. Same for hitters. Eric Thames got a steady diet of breaking stuff in his time overseas. And came back strong
I know what you meant but Alcantara isn’t an “American” player… he’s originally from the DR. I mean I guess technically he was born in “the America’s” but just a side note — he is indeed a “foreign born player” to the Japanese league… but wouldn’t actually be an “American born” P competing for the award.
The last time foreign pitcher win Sawamura Award is 2016. Kris Johnson from Hiroshima win it after posted 15-7 record with 2.15 ERA 140K and 180.1/3.innings
Kirk Nieuwenhuis For MVP
Only two foreign pitchers have ever won the Sawamura Award (Gene Bacque in 1964 and Kris Johnson in 2016)
i had figured that it was quite limited, though only two is quite impressive.
Peart of the game
What kind of Contract for Alcántara? Since he is an improvement over Onelki Garcia
I could see Overton going over to Taiwan and figuring things out and returning stateside in a year or two as a legitimate ML pitcher — he may have to spend another year maybe in the KBO or Japan as the CPBL isn’t generally a launching point for guys to get back to the majors — but it could be a start. He was originally a 2nd round pick and put up quite impressive numbers in the minors from 2014-2016 — then just completely collapsed when he got to the majors, and the collapse more or less continued from there in both the ML and minors. He rebounded a bit in 2018 in the minors but then fell flat again in 2019. Basically… he looks like a guy that if he can get things straightened out and get some confidence… that he could wind up being an effective pitcher down the line in the majors. But first things first… he’s got to go out and basically dominate the CPBL… then maybe see if he can land a deal in the KBO or Japan for 2022.
Overton puzzles me. he did quite well in the Minors but hit a wall when jumping to the Majors. not unheard of obviously, but the contrast was staggering.