As I've been reading the BP 2007 book it suddenly dawned on me that there are a lot of Asian players in baseball already. You'd think that Dice-K was the first guy ever to come over and play MLB with the media circus surrounding him.

But as a sign of my general ignorance, I was really suprised at the number of Asian players currently playing.

Am I the only one on this?

When did players comming over become more common? I drifted away from baseball for most of the 1990's.

What are your thoughts regarding the effects of the Asian players on baseball? Do they generally succede going from their home countries leagues to MLB? Do they generally excel at particular skill sets or have problems with any particular issues (obviously everyone is different, not trying to be sterotypical. For example, if the sinker ball isn't used often in the Japaneese leagues they might have problems with it here).