Can MLB Busts Have Success In Japan?

by Paul Jack | Posted on Sunday, November 3rd, 2013
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Wladimir Balentin

The answer is a resounding yes!

Have you been keeping up with baseball in Japan this past year? Me either. But since the baseball year is over I find myself needing something to scratch my itch. I took a look at Japan’s baseball stats for this past year and some of the names are familiar in the home run category. Lets look at the top 50 home run hitters from Japan 2013 and off the top of my head what names sound familiar.

#41 with 9 homers, Hector Luna. Remember that guy from the St Louis Cardinals? I looked at his page, in 13 years he has played for 20 teams in the majors, minors, and Japan. Dude must have his life packed in a suitcase. Buffalo Bisons, Cleveland, St. Louis, Florida, Philly, New Orleans, Chunichi, Akron, Kinston, Mahoning, I’m exhausted just looking at that list!

#35 with 11 homers, are you kidding me, I drafted this guy 2 years ago in fantasy, Milwaukee Brewers  Nyjer Morgan.

#28 with 14 homers, another familiar name, Kila Ka’aihue. That guy was supposed to be awesome for the Kansas City Royals, guess not.

#16 with 18 homers, remember Jose Lopez who had decent success in Seattle and just LAST YEAR was on my White Sox? Yep he hit .303 with 18 homers last year in Japan.

#14 with 19 jacks, ex Chicago Cub prospect, Matt Murton.

#10 with 23 homers, ex WHITE SOX WORLD SERIES CHAMPION Tadahito Iguchi at 38 years old!

#6 with 28 dongs, ex Brewer and 5th in ROY voting in 2009, Casey McGehee.

#1 This busted prospect that played one year for the Seattle Mariners and the Cincinnati Reds, has been killing it in Japan. Wladimir Balentien hit 31 homers in 2011 with a .228 avg. in 2012 he hit 31 again with a .272 avg. and in 2013 he busted out with .330 avg, 60 homers and 131 rbi!

Hey a man’s gotta work!  If the majors doesn’t want you, you can still get paid good money to play a kids game.  Any guy would still trade places with a guy who plays in Japan in a heartbeat.

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Paul Jack
About the Author

Paul Jack is an extreme baseball enthusiast, you can follow and interact with him on Twitter @PaulJackSports

  • bdrube

    You forgot former Nat Tony Blanco, who was 2nd to Balentien with 41 jacks. Also, former Mets 1st round pick and legendary hotshot/washout Lastings Milledge hit 16.

  • “Have you been keeping up with baseball in Japan this past year?”

    So maybe I’m taking the bait in what appears to be trollbait rubbish. Is it really so hard to imagine the rookie you described as a “busted prospect” with obvious phenomenal power, who hits 498′ shots against MLB pitchers, moving to Japan, enduring training that’s more extensive than he’d ever have in the US, and becoming a world-class hitter?

    It’s not like Japanese pitching is bad… old men Uehara and Kuroda, not to mention Darvish, are dominating against juiced MLB hitters and the still-juicier-than-NPB’s baseball. Maybe I should counter, “Can NPB Busts Have Success In America?”, but that’s just pouring gasoline on the fire and doesn’t *really* answer the question:

    “Can MLB Busts Have Success In Japan?” Yes.
    Will they?
    Off the top of my head, in 2013:
    John Bowker, nice guy, but not really
    Manny Acosta, aw, hell no
    Matt Clark, nope
    Daniel Cabrera, nope
    Bradley Bergesen, meh
    Brad Eldred, nope
    Tony Barnette, nope
    Orlando Roman, nope
    Miguel Socolovich, nope
    Tim Corcoran, nope

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