Â Great bounce back win last night. It was good seeing the boys capitalize against the O’s mistakes. Tonight, the Mets will hope to make it 2 in a row in B-More, but standing in their way will be (RHP) Koji Uehara (2-4 4.37 ERA). Here’s the skinny on Uehara(34)…
Â Per Mets.com,
“Uehara’s last start, against the Mariners on Wednesday, was his first since coming off the disabled list for a hamstring injury. The right-hander lasted five innings, throwing 81 pitches and giving up four runs on seven hits. Uehara was sharp through the first two innings, issuing only one walk while striking out two. The third inning began after a nearly 30-minute rain delay, upon which the Mariners scored three runs.”
Â This is Uehara’s first year in theÂ Majors afterÂ coming over from Japan.Â He signed a 2 year deal with the Orioles back on Jan. 6th.
The two year deal is for $10MM with incentives. Says Connolly:
“His contract could be worth as much as $16 million over two years if the eight-time Japanese all-star meets certain performance bonuses and escalating clauses such as starts made and innings pitched. There is also a games-finished clause included for Uehara, who was an all-star closer in 2007 for the Yomiuri Giants, but the Orioles view him almost exclusively as a starter.”
Â Per Wikipedia,
“He graduated from Osaka University of Health and Sport Sciences, and was drafted with the first pick by Giants in 1998. He had a successful rookie year in 1999, with 15 consecutive wins which broke the all-time rookie record, claimed the Rookie of the Year, Eiji Sawamura Award, and led in wins, ERA, strikeouts and winning percentage.
In 2001, he finished with a 4.02 ERA, his highest yet. However, in 2002, he rebounded, leading the Central League in wins and collecting his second Sawamura Award.
He was injured before the 2007 season which made him a late appearance, and in that season, he became a closer instead, recorded an 1.74 ERA with 4 wins, 3 losses and 32 saves. Though showing a good ability both starting and closing, he returned as a starting pitcher in the 2008 season. He left the Giants after that season becoming a free agent and allowing him to play in Major League Baseball.
Back in 1998, Uehara rejected a contract worth $3 million from the then-Anaheim Angels and signed with Yomiuri instead of following the advice of family and acquaintances. The Angels have expressed their continued interest in Uehara, as Scouting Director Eddie Bane had stated that acquiring either Uehara or Daisuke Matsuzaka was a top priority for the team. However, many other teams, including the Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox, Mets, and Orioles had shown interest in bidding for Uehara if and when he were to become available.
Uehara asserted his preference in public to be transferred to a Major League Baseball team through the posting system. His efforts had been rebuffed by the Yomiuri Giants front office. He was expected to be eligible for free agency in 2007 (but that was postponed to 2008 due to his injury). He became eligible for free agency in 4 April, 2008.”
The following are Uehara’s Pitchfx (2009) Type & Velocity courtesy of fangraphsÂ -
Fastball – 46.8%, 87.4 MPH
Changeup – 45.1%, 80.4 MPH
Cutter – 3.2%, 85.7 MPH
Slider – 2.4%, 81.2 MPH
Curveball – 1.6%, 68.1 MPH
Scouting Report per thebaseballcube (Japan Numbers),
Control: Walks compared to batters faced.
k-Rating: Strikeouts compared to batters faced.
Efficiency:Similar to WHIP, a higher rating for pitchers allowing less baserunners per inning pitched.
Â Awards in Japan
|1999||Central League Rookie of the Year, Best Nine, Eiji Sawamura Award, Gold Glove, ERA, Strikeouts and Wins champion of the Central League|
|2002||Sawamura Award, Best Nine, Wins champion of the Central League and Japan Series|
|2003||Gold Glove, Strikeouts champion of the Central League|
|2004||ERA champion of the year|
|Nippon Professional Baseball All-Star Game||1999-2005, 2007|
|2000||Yomiuri Giants||20||9||7||0||6||1||131Â Â||126||53||3.57|
|2002||Yomiuri Giants||26||17||5||0||8||3||204Â Â||182||65||2.60|
|2004||Yomiuri Giants||22||13||5||0||2||0||163Â Â||153||54||2.60|
*Bold = led league