Monday, December 19, 2011

Getting to know Tsuyoshi

When GM Dan Duquette first talked about being the Orioles new GM he talked about a few of his goals. One of those goals was to improve the O’s internationally. So far it looks like Duquette is sticking to his word.

On Friday, the Orioles introduced Japanese pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada. Wada (pictured above) has a two-year-deal with the Orioles, including a club option for 2014. He will make $8.15MM and his option for 2014 is for $5MM.

Wada, is 30-years-old and has played in the Nippon Professional Baseball League since 2003. He began playing Nippon Professional Baseball when he was 22 and went 14-5, with a 3.38 earned-run average and finished with 195 strikeouts.

Since his first season, Wada has posted 77 wins and 51 losses. He has never struck out more batters than when he did his first season, however he has increased his command and has never had more than 61 walks, which he also had in his first season.

He is left-handed and has a very, very unorthodox delivery. Also, Wada is about 5’10” and 170 Ibs.

So what’s in his repertoire?

Wada has a four-seam fastball that usually sits at 85-88 mph, his four-seamer tops out at about 91 mph. Like I said early, Wada has an unorthodox delivery, which is very deceiving to hitters and it compensates for his below-average fastball velocity.

He also throws 2 other pitches; which are a change-up and a slider. His slider is average to above-average.
A few scouts have compared Wada to current Oakland A’s LHP Dallas Braden. Braden throws in the mid-to-upper 80’s and is also left-handed.

How will he fair in Major League Baseball?

It should be an interesting year for the Orioles pitching staff. Wada will probably slot in towards the back end of the rotation.

I can see him having an ERA above 4.00, most likely sitting from 4.50 to 4.75. Winning 6-8 games isn’t an unrealistic expectation for Tsuyoshi, especially since he plays in arguably the toughest division in baseball.
I am excited to see what Tsuyoshi Wada can bring to the Orioles. Hopefully he can bring stability to a rotation that certainly lacks it. It should be noted however, that the O’s could utilize Wada similarly to Koji Uehara. Uehara originally fit into the rotation, but fell back to the bullpen where he became much more effective. The O’s may use this path with Wada as well, since they’ve seen success with it in the past.

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