Monday, October 22, 2012

Ootani Shouhei (大谷翔平) headed to MLB

So it's official, it looks like Ootani is headed to the states.  This will be a test case now for all future top-level HS/Daigaku talent.

I say this because now there will be a Japanese top-level talent player who will enter the MLB system at the same time as his fellow American counterparts.

NPB should be scared.

As I mentioned in my earlier post, the incentive to start in NPB then get posted to MLB has been devalued.  Teams are not willing to post top dollar now for talent unless they see something that immediately translates to the US (i.e. Darvish).  Heck, in my opinion Kuroda should have been but has been undervalued.

So with the path to maximizing dollars diminished by waiting - I thought it might increase the possibility that someone will go to try and score the big money.  And to do that they have to enter the MLB system early, whether that be out of HS or out of college.

Ootani is now that person.

NPB hopes Ootani fails and returns tails between his legs back to Japan.  Why?  Because if he succeeds, that means he has overcome the deeper farm system, but more importantly overcome the language barrier and the culture shock - the two major things that would deter any young person from coming over.

And if he does, then that will give more confidence to other players who may consider - "Should I go to MLB?".

And that means that the faces of the franchises will not be in Japan, but in the US instead.

It was OK to let veteran players go - sure they were useful, but you could always restock with younger talent.  But if you lose the younger talent - what is left?

Sure, it's not going to be as extreme as that - but I'm pretty sure NPB teams will feel the effect of it for decades to come if Ootani is successful unless they find another way to keep talent at home.

Ootani may not realize it, but there's a lot more than just his career riding on this decision.

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