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TC81190
03-21-2006, 03:15 PM
If Wayne Krivsky REALLY wants to impress me, he'll go and pluck this kid out of obscurity. Go look him up. He's 24, has 3-4 quality pitches, and he throws a gyroball! He definitely could be had for cheap and is a low risk, high reward player.

RedsManRick
03-21-2006, 03:16 PM
I believe he has to pitch in Japan for 8 years before he can be posted. Think of it like our arb system. He's not a free agent.

TC81190
03-21-2006, 03:21 PM
Oh, but he has though. He's eligible for free agency.

Mario-Rijo
03-21-2006, 08:35 PM
It seems some believe he is the 2nd best prospect in the tournament. Of course if you were scouting the American Team as a Japanese or Cuban Team you might feel Ken Griffey Jr. was the best player out there. And he was at one time, but hey whatever. I do know one thing if Matsuzuka were to come to the bigs he would likely end up in Cali, Seattle or one of the Ny teams. Anyhow here is the article.


Gourriel, Matsuzaka have most MLB potentialBy Gary Gillette
ESPN Insider (Oops)
Archive

With Team USA unexpectedly eliminated from the World Baseball Classic, there have been plenty of good reasons to watch the final weekend of play. One is to catch a handful of players from Cuba, Japan and Korea who have demonstrated over a three-week period that they are more than capable of playing in Major League Baseball if given a shot.

Cuban second baseman Yulieski Gourriel has major-league tools.All three national teams play very tight, team-oriented baseball. Cuba's pro-am team is not the best squad the island nation has ever sent to international competition, but it has substantial talent -- especially Yulieski Gourriel, who has turned the heads of fans and scouts alike. And the unheralded Koreans have surprised the overly confident Japanese, even though Japanese pitchers throw harder overall and the Japanese team has substantially more power.

Here are breakdowns of the top five players, shown in order of their potential. An honorable mention goes to right-handed Japanese pitcher Koji Uehara.


1. Yulieski Gourriel (Cuba)
A right-handed-hitting third baseman with a passion for the game, Gourriel has been playing second base in the WBC. Rated as a five-tool player, the Cuban star has big-league scouts and their employers drooling at the thought of him being available someday. He won't be 22 until June. He is a good runner and is very fast on the basepaths.
Though it might take him a year to mature as a hitter against professional pitching, Gourriel would almost certainly hit .300 due to his speed and would develop 20-30 home run power. He holds his hands high and his swing is a tad on the long side, but his bat traverses the hitting zone quickly. Gourriel's only flaw is his lack of patience at the plate. He expands the strike zone too often, thereby helping pitchers get him out. In the Classic, the 6-foot, 176-pound Gourriel has been pulling the ball too much and should take better advantage of his quick bat by lashing line drives to all fields. Defensively, Gourriel has an outstanding arm with average or a bit better range at the keystone position. He will dive for balls, but his range would be better at the hot corner.


2. Daisuke Matsuzaka (Japan)
If transplanted in the U.S. right now, the 25-year-old Matsuzaka could step in as a front-of-the-rotation starter and possibly even become the staff ace on many teams. The right-hander's fastball runs in on hitters at 91-94 mph, and he supplements his two- and four-seamers with an average change-up. What makes Matsuzaka special, however, is that he has both a plus curve and a plus slider -- a rare combination that gives him the arsenal to choose whichever breaking ball would be most effective against a particular hitter. He could also scrap one of his breaking pitches if it isn't working on a particular day, while still having another out pitch to fall back on.
Matsuzaka is very polished, especially considering his age. He knows how to pitch and paces himself well while mixing up his pitches and working hitters up and down and on both sides of the plate. A huge star in Japan, the media-friendly Matsuzaka could also become a big star on this side of the Pacific.


3. Pedro Luis Lazo (Cuba)
At 6-3 and 235 pounds, Lazo is a physically imposing right-handed pitcher reminiscent of Roberto Hernandez in his prime. The 32-year-old veteran -- one of the greatest Cuban pitchers ever -- has a smooth delivery with little deception and has been used in multiple roles in the Classic. With a fastball that tops out at 96 and a bone-crushing slider with a late-breaking tilt, Lazo's electric stuff can dominate an opposing lineup no matter when he enters the game. Frequently delivering from a high three-quarters slot and throwing his sinkers and sliders low in the zone, Lazo ends up pitching downhill (as the scouts say) -- thus making his pitches very hard to elevate for power. He throws few off-speed pitches but varies his arm angles and isn't afraid to straighten up hitters by pitching inside when needed. Even his waste pitches are carefully located to induce hitters to swing at them.
Lazo could pitch in the majors tomorrow if given the chance. While he is capable of starting games and could also close them, he would probably be best used as a durable setup pitcher. In that role, Lazo could go two or three innings if needed and could also pitch on consecutive days. The only questions are how many miles are left on his career odometer and how many years his strong right arm could stand the strain of facing big-league power bats every day.



AP Photo/Chris Carlson
Korea's Seung Yeop Lee has connected for a WBC-high five home runs.
4. Seung Yeop Lee (Korea)
A relatively small but powerful first baseman who also has seen some action in the outfield in the WBC, Lee makes consistent contact and is a battler at the plate. His quick hands and good bat control make Lee a dangerous mistake hitter. But Lee can also cope with good pitching, choosing to forgo some of his power stroke to make contact. Therefore, opposing pitchers need to locate their offerings precisely and consistently to get Lee out. The 29-year-old left-handed slugger hits the ball hard, with power to right field and center.
In the field, Lee handles himself well around the bag and can dig out potentially errant throws in the dirt. He has average range and coverage with fairly soft hands. Lee plays for the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan.


5. Akinori Iwamura (Japan)
A short (5-9), slight third baseman who will be coming to play in the U.S. next year, Iwamura has a decent line-drive stroke to all fields with some pop in his bat. Like many lefty swingers, he bails out a little when he swings. He is a plus runner as well as a good bunter (as are almost all Japanese hitters). Though he plays third now, the 27-year-old Iwamura faces a move to second base in the majors if he is to improve his chances of earning a spot in a major-league starting lineup.
With the leather, Iwamura has good instincts and a strong arm with above-average accuracy. His range is solid, and he is light on his feet.

Mario-Rijo
03-21-2006, 08:57 PM
Of course we may never see some of that talent here!


Cuba not worried about defections
Gammons Blog

SAN DIEGO -- The Cuban team was affable and approachable here Friday, but they are adamant in their denial about being concerned about defections. In Puerto Rico, Pudge Rodriguez reportedly suggested to talented 21-year old Cuban second baseman Yulieski Gourriel that he defect and get the $10 million a year he could get on the market. "I can't," Gourriel reportedly replied. His father, a longtime Cuban player, is the manager of Sancti Spiritus, and Gourriel's brother also plays for that team.

The Cuban team physician is Dr. Antonio Castro, the affable youngest son of Fidel Castro. "This is such a great thing," he said on the field Friday. "In this, we are all brothers in baseball."

Korea's trainer Chang Lee worked for the Red Sox the last few seasons, and is now Chan Ho Park's private trainer and conditioner. "It's taken Chan Ho a few years to build himself back from injuries," said Lee. "But he's worked hard and done it." As for Byung-Hyun Kim, who is back throwing 92-94 mph as he did in his Arizona days, Lee said Kim went to Japan for conditioning after the 2003 season, encountered a different type of program and lost his velocity for two years.

When Korea defeated Japan a second time in Anaheim, the players were all granted exemptions from their two-year commitments to the military. Hee-Seop Choi and Rockies pitcher Sunny Kim can now go home for the first time in years. Third baseman Seung Hoon Jeung is the big winner, however. He was added to the team when regular third baseman Dong Joo Kim was injured in Tokyo. This was the week Jeung's military service was to begin, but now, as the backup third baseman who is 0-for-3, he has been granted his military exemption and is free to move on with whatever he wants to do.

captainmorgan07
03-21-2006, 09:03 PM
that would be a great pickup

Red Heeler
03-21-2006, 09:17 PM
There is probably too much bad blood for it to happen while Fidel is still alive, but both sides would benefit greatly from a reasonably normal relationship between the US and Cuba.

TC81190
03-21-2006, 10:44 PM
Sign him. Please.

jmcclain19
03-22-2006, 12:57 AM
I've read articles in Baseball America and ESPN the Magazine that say Gouriel will never defect because he lives like a (in comparison) king there and that both his father and brother are heavily involved in the Cuban baseball program. His dad is a local legend.

But you never know - It could be like the Cubans were with Kendry Morales where they suspect so much they make him a virtual prisoner and he has no choice but to defect.

About Matsuzaka - here is his stat history

http://japanesebaseball.com/players/player.jsp?PlayerID=1104


Year Team Games CG Fins Starts* Holds SO NoBB Wins Losses Ties Saves SP Win% BF AB Innings Hits HRs SacH SacF BB (IBB) HBP Ks WP Balks Runs ER ERA Rank
1999 SL 25 6 1 18 - 2 0 16 5 - 0 1 .762 743 - 180 /3 124 14 - - 87 (-) 8 151 5 2 55 52 2.60 3
2000 SL 27 6 2 18 - 2 0 14 7 - 1 2 .667 727 - 167 2/3 132 12 - - 95 (-) 4 144 2 0 85 74 3.97 4
2001 SL 33 12 1 20 - 2 1 15 15 - 0 1 .500 1004 - 240 1/3 184 27 - - 117 (-) 8 214 9 1 104 96 3.60 3
2002 SL 14 2 0 9 - 0 0 6 2 - 0 0 .750 302 - 73 1/3 60 13 - - 15 (-) 7 78 2 1 30 30 3.68 -
2003 SL 29 8 1 19 - 2 1 16 7 - 0 0 .696 801 - 194 /3 165 13 - - 63 (-) 9 215 4 0 71 61 2.83 1
2004 SL 23 10 1 9 1 5 0 10 6 0 0 0 .625 601 539 146 /3 127 7 8 6 42 (0) 6 127 5 0 50 47 2.90 1
2005 SL 28 15 - - - 3 4 14 13 - 0 - .519 0 - 215 /3 172 13 - - 49 (-) 10 226 9 0 63 55 2.30 -
Totals: 179 59 6 93 1 16 6 91 55 0 1 4 .623 4178 539 1216 1/3 964 99 8 6 468 (0) 52 1155 36 4 458 415 3.07 -

They have him born on 9-13-1980, which means he turns 26 this year.

The Mariners Blog "USS Mariner" has some info about Matsuzaka being denied a request from his current club to be a free agent this past year, and his first chance to be an open free agent will be at the end of the 2007 season, when he'll be 27. It also appears the Mariners were the front runner last fall to sign him, so no doubt with their Japanese ties and prior history they would be hard to beat.

http://ussmariner.com/?p=3079