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Looking to Play Japanese Pro Baseball

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Looking to Play Japanese Pro Baseball
Ted Actie-san (tactie at netzero net) writes:

I am a 24 year old Lefty P/OF (6'1 185) in NYC..I am interested in playing Japanese Pro baseball, but I don't know who I or my coach should contact in the Japanese Pro league..Can you help?

Ted Actie

[Layou edited by: westbaystars on Feb 16, 2002 6:26 PM JST]

[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Jun 20, 2001 4:00 AM | YBS Fan ]

On SlashDot, a number of people often ask legal advice.
Looking for an Agent
[ Author: Guest: Adam Sowell | Posted: May 31, 2004 10:31 PM ]

I've never had an agent before and after reading these messages on this forum, I am now thinking about finding one. Not that this is the place to do it, but it's a start. (6'5, 210, RHP, OF/1B). Currently signed with a team in Europe for one year and putting up big numbers in triple crown categories, as well as posted a great record off the mound. I am from Texas and possibly looking for an agent with international connections as well.

Adam Sowell
sowellbaseball at yahoo d0t com
Any MLB Background?
[ Author: Guest | Posted: Jun 21, 2001 12:15 AM ]

I think Mike's advice is pretty sound. You could also try contacting the Hiroshima Carp's academy in the Dominican Republic. But the question I want to ask you is whether you've had any experience in any major league club's organization? Generally, Japanese teams are looking for someone who has at least that background. Personally, while it may have occurred before, I cannot recall any player signed by any Japanese club in the last few years that didn't come out of either an MLB organization, the Carp's academy or the Korean and Taiwanese leagues.

And being signed by a Japanese club does not mean that you will play at the big club level. You will probably start in the minors (as likely will the Yomiuri Giants new signing, Hector Alomante, who was until recently with the Marlins AAA affilitate) there before they would consider bringing you up since you are an unknown quantity.

Moreover, you need to be honest at how talented you are. Former major leaguers such as Tony Tarrasco, Reggie Jefferson, Bob Wolcott and even current major leaguer Mark Johnson of the Mets all failed in Japan. Wolcott signed with the Red Sox this spring while Tarrasco has a Mets contract, though both are in the minors at the moment. And the organizations in MLB are chock a block with players who did badly in Japan. Look at Eduardo Perez: he did very well last year filling in for Mark McGwire and then comes over here and can't hit his weight and may be released after Hanshin recently signed ex-Ranger and Detroit third sacker Tom Evans. Absent some MLB past, your best bets, in the end, are probably either a U.S. independent league, Mexico, Taiwan or Europe (such as Italy). Good luck.

[Layout edited by: westbaystars on Feb 16, 2002 6:29 PM JST]
Re: Any MLB Background?
[ Author: Guest: yakult toughman | Posted: Feb 20, 2002 4:12 AM ]

The Newark Bears of independent Atlantic League will hold a try out on April 6, 2002 at Newark's Riverfront stadium. I suggest that you should check for the further information about the tryout on April 6, 2002.
Re:Any MLB Background?
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Jun 21, 2001 5:58 PM | YBS Fan ]

Going along with what the 2-gun bench warmer said, "MLB organization" is important on a resume.
Re: Looking to Play Japanese Pro Baseball
[ Author: Guest: Brian Reed | Posted: May 12, 2003 11:03 PM ]

My name is Brian Reed and I am only 16 years old. I have no chance of going to college due to past events. I have great talent. I want to know how I would, in a few years, go about trying out for Japanesse baseball.
Re: Looking to Play Japanese Pro Baseball
[ Author: Kiyoshi | Posted: May 13, 2003 2:44 PM | HAN Fan ]

Brian, where do you live? You should be playing for a high school team or American Legion team. Get U.S. scouts to see you first. Spend the next two years getting as much playing experience as possible. If you have the tools you will be drafted by a MLB organization. Get in the U.S. minor league system or independant ball. Then if you still want to play in Japan, get an agent that is experienced in dealing with Japanese ball to help you.
Re: Looking to Play Japanese Pro Baseball
[ Author: Guest: Amaury Alvarez | Posted: Oct 1, 2003 11:51 PM ]

I know no one has replied to anything here in a while, but it's worth a shot.

My name is Amaury Alvarez, 22 years old. I'm looking to play ball overseas. I didn't have the funds to play ball in College, and I don't think that I ever will. I have friends that play in the MLB, but for some reason, they either won't or can't help me. If there is a way someone can help me, I'd appreciate it greatly.

Re: Looking to Play Japanese Pro Baseball
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Oct 2, 2003 12:38 AM | YBS Fan ]

Did you read the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)? What part in particular do you need help with? I don't understand the question.
Re: Looking to Play Japanese Pro Baseball
[ Author: Guest: tim jones | Posted: Nov 4, 2003 4:36 AM ]

Well, I'm a 26 year old outfielder/first baseman. I was a seventh round draft pick by the Oakland A's. I'm not making excuses, but I feel I never really got a fair shot - when you have to platoon to play (play one game and sit the next two), it's pretty tough to get in a rythm. And with all the outfielders we had it made it a little tuffer.

I played for 6 years then went and played some independent ball, but that wasn't the right situation for me, so now I'm in the best shape I've been in since 1995. I'm about 6'1", 220 pounds, bat left throw right. I've got tremendous pop, can hit to all fields, and I still run about a 6'8 sixty.

I live in California, so if there are any scouts out here or anything I can do to show someone that I still have a few years left in this body and I'm willing to do whatever it takes to keep playing, I will be a great assest to any team whose looking for a left-handed stick. I have refrences from my coaches in Oakland, and my uncle played in Japan in the 1970's (Clerance Jones). I just need some help.

Re: Looking to Play Japanese Pro Baseball
[ Author: Guest: Terrence Norman | Posted: Nov 12, 2003 8:57 AM ]

I encourage you to test the Japan market. I'm working as a baseball agent for players interested in Japan or other Asian leagues.
Re: Looking to Play Japanese Pro Baseball
[ Author: Guest: nate | Posted: Dec 15, 2003 9:53 AM ]

I want to play baseball. Please tell me why I need an agent to play baseball and I will hire you. This is a very serious message, and any response will be taken seriously as well.
Why You Should Have an Agent
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Dec 15, 2003 1:38 PM | YBS Fan ]

Have you read Dan Latham's essay on playing in Japan? If not, this is perhaps the most relavant portion to your question:
It's very difficult to get a job playing in Japan without connections. Some Japanese teams use part-time scouts in America to recommend players. Others will send a full-time scout to America for a few weeks in the summer to look for players for the following season. Neither system is particularly systematic. If the scouts have trouble locating players who fit the teams needs and who are willing to come to Japan, teams often use agents to find players.

In all lines of Japanese business, personal relationships are important. But they are difficult to establish with foreign players, who seldom stay with a team for more than a year or two. If an agent introduces good players to a team, however, the team will continue to use the agent to find more players. As a result, it is often difficult for players to get tryouts unless they have an agent who has experience dealing with Japanese teams. Although there are many player agencies in America, only a small handful have done much business in Japan.

Even with the best agents, however, it can still be difficult to find a job in Japan. Many players who can't get into Japan sign with Taiwanese teams, hoping to be noticed by Japanese scouts. If a foreign player doesn't work out with a Japanese team, they will send a scout to Taiwan to look for a replacement. [...]
Latham-san did a great deal of research on this matter, and I have no data to contradict anything he said. Living in Japan, it's clear that who you know is more important than what you know in a great many things. I've been looking through Japanese newspapers for the past couple of years for any hint of open try-outs, where players with no previous relation with any team can get noticed. I've seen a lot of notices about try-outs for cut players, and for foreign players who had a special try-out setup for them. But there haven't, so far as I've noticed, been any open try-outs for the past two years.

If you try to introduce yourself to the teams, you'll probably get a reaction like, "who are you and how did you get this number?" You need an introduction - either through an agent or via a scout who has noticed you. If a scout hasn't noticed you yet, then what's the alternative?
Re: Looking to Play Japanese Pro Baseball
[ Author: Guest: Terrence Norman | Posted: Feb 16, 2004 11:16 AM ]

Nate, to reply, albeit somewhat late, I feel that a player, in many instances, can act on his own behalf. It's increasingly common in NBA contract talks.

The saving grace for agents, Nate, is the notion that our emotions often cloud our better business judgement. Typically, the agent or lawyer representing a player is able to navigate through the commonly obscure language found in contracts. Moreover, an agent/lawyer can challenge the athlete into "thinking" about what a good deal means.

Overall, I think it comes down to individual circumstances. An agent, in my view, should safeguard the athlete from emotional errors, subsequently increasing the probability for obtaining what the athlete considers, after "thinking," a good deal based on the prevailing market. A good agent needs to prompt thought!
Re: Looking to Play Japanese Pro Baseball
[ Author: Guest: amit shah | Posted: Jun 9, 2008 1:14 AM ]

I am a pitcher [...]. Should I get an agent to play overseas?
Re: Looking to Play Japanese Pro Baseball
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Jun 9, 2008 8:23 AM | YBS Fan ]

I asked people to stop posting resumes a number of years ago. This isn't a job listing site.

Nonetheless, the short answer to your question is "Yes, get an agent. Preferrably one with experience in Japan."

The long answer is included in this thread and in the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) about playing for a Japanese team.
Re: Looking to Play Japanese Pro Baseball
[ Author: DR Dragon | Posted: Dec 15, 2003 2:24 PM ]

My name is Rafael I'm 6'2", 175 pound outfielder, who can run about 6.9 60, with a pretty good arm, and good contact. I'm a college senior who just turned 21, at Stony Brook NY. Born in the Bronx, I've been playing baseball for 9 years, and I'm going to the Dominican Republic next summer in order to try enlist in an academy and hopefully get a contract.

I frankly don't care where I go whether it's the States, Korea, Japan, etc. I just love this game so much and want a chance to play anywhere. Any leads or contact information would be extremely helpful. I need all the help I can get, thanks.
Re: Looking to Play Japanese Pro Baseball
[ Author: bouton-kun | Posted: Dec 15, 2003 8:00 PM ]

Westbaystars' and Latham's accounts are accurate. What they describe has been my experience as well.

Every ballclub has an employee that goes State-side before the start of the season for a month (usually around February/March) to sign foreign players (provided they still need anyone). They travel the country and check out players they know by doing their homework or have heard about through American partners (mostly coaches of pro-organizations their own club has ties to, see Latham's essay). If that won't suffice, they turn to U.S. agents. If you can figure out who these U.S. agents are, you are headed in the right direction. I know about one in L.A., but don't know how good their Japanese contacts are at this point in time.

Some examples of ProYakyu employees who travel(ed) State-side every year are Luigi Nakajima of the Swallows and Anthony Nakanishi of the BlueWave. The BlueWave especially always seemed to have a taste for foreigners (1/2-gun) without MLB experience.

I would say trying to contact them directly is useless. Even accidently bumping into them in the States won't help you much, I am afraid. They are looking for somebody, but they are not looking for somebody looking for them.

Another option is contacting Marthy Kuehnert. Apparently his Kanto based company is in this line of business. Google him and you should be able to find his contact information somewhere. Last time I checked it was also available in the Japan Pro Baseball Guide by his buddy Wayne Graczyk. If somebody lands a contract through this site it would surely be a miracle.

Kekkyoku, why are the dates of the postings in this thread not in chronological order? Too many bounenkais for Mr. Westbay?
No More Resumes
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Dec 19, 2003 8:27 AM | YBS Fan ]

I'm no longer posting resumes to play in Japan. It's been explained what you need to do. Posting a resume of your talents here is not going to get you a job with a Japanese team. Getting an agent with connections in Japan, as explained above and in the FAQ, may (nothing is sure). There is a lot of good advice here, but it's up to you to follow that advice.

I know that a lot of people think that there's a technical solution for everything. At work, even, many people think that by starting up a web site for engineers to discuss things is going to promote inter-group discussion. In reality, I don't think it will work. Even if there were short term success when it started up, people would gravitate to their own groups as that's where their focus lies. The human element uniting the groups is missing. What's needed at work is an Information Officer who actively participates in gathering information from the various groups and making that information available (on a site or in meetings with the various groups). In baseball, that uniting factor for foreign players and Japanese teams are called agents.

As popular as this site may be, I strongly doubt that any teams turn here for recruitment prospects. I'm sorry, but this just isn't the technilogical magic bullet that some of you are searching for.
Westbay-san let me take this on!
[ Author: Guest: Alan Newman | Posted: Feb 16, 2004 3:32 PM ]

This is what my boook is based on. Bring your amature questions to me, thanks!
Re: Looking to Play Japanese Pro Baseball
[ Author: Guest: null | Posted: Jun 6, 2004 3:14 PM ]

Be very careful. First find an agent in your country and then contact someone who can interpret Japanese for you and that you can use to contact teams in Japan. There are middle man agencies, claiming to be scouts that act as a go between for a lot of American players coming to Japan. Often players are told that they need to have "connections" when coming to Japan, but if you find an agent that is reputable enough, that should be all you need. A lot of times these "connections," the middle man companies, end up screwing players out of more than double what they should pay to an agent. It is very common and hard to get out of as they find a way to be written into your contract.
Re: Looking to Play Japanese Pro Baseball
[ Author: Guest: Marvin Romero | Posted: Jan 14, 2005 7:46 AM ]

I am interested in playing Japanese Pro Baseball. But I don't know what I have to do to contact an agent.
Re: Looking to Play Japanese Pro Baseball
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Jan 14, 2005 8:27 AM | YBS Fan ]

A few agents left information above and on this thread.

First, though, please read this article by Garland-san. He's got great advice on whether or not you really qualify.

After that, if you're in the minor leagues then you most likely know some people who know an agent who knows an agent who has contacts in Japan.

Gambatte kudasai.
Re: Looking to Play Japanese Pro Baseball
[ Author: figueroad | Posted: Jan 29, 2005 10:40 PM ]

First at all, congratulations to the people who make the web site. And if I could help getting stats info from Venezuelan players who are playing in Japan it would be a pleasure. (I used to work for pro teams in Venezuela).

Second, if Mr. Terrence Norman could give me his contact info I would appreciate it. It could be by this way or my personal e-mail figueroad24 at yahoo d0t com.


Daniel Figueroa from Caracas, Venezuela
Re: Looking to Play Japanese Pro Baseball
[ Author: henrys | Posted: Nov 1, 2005 9:51 AM ]

Please call Henry's Baseball Club at 781-891-0621 in the U.S.A.

[by Admin: Are you a scout? An agent? How will this help?]
Re: Japanese College Baseball
[ Author: Guest: baseball fan | Posted: Jan 25, 2006 2:26 AM ]

Do Japanese colleges have college baseball or even athletics?
Re: Japanese College Baseball
[ Author: torakichi | Posted: Jan 25, 2006 11:44 AM | HT Fan ]

- Do Japanese colleges have college baseball...

Indeed they do. It's not as big as the pro leagues, but there's always a bit of interest in the college tournaments, especially when people have the NPB draft in mind. More than collegiate baseball, though, the whole country is enamoured with high school baseball. Read around this site for more on that.

- ...or even athletics?

Yep. They're not as well publicised as baseball, but, for instance, college ekiden (marathon) is fairly popular.
Re: Looking to Play Japanese Pro Baseball
[ Author: Guest: HELLO TO ALL | Posted: Nov 6, 2007 10:25 AM ]

Hi I work for an agency in Boston, MA. I am not going to let you know about our agency because I don't want to be overwhelmed with e-mail, but I am looking for players to play in Europe. Right now Japan is extremely hard for you guys to get there. We landed a few players, but they played in MLB.

But for those of you who played in the minor and don't have a job right, now please send me an e-mail with your info and the team you play for. If you played college and you have a video, please send it to me. There are a lot of teams looking for players. Particularly, if you are of Italian decedent let me know because I can get you into Italy next year. My e-mail is christian.irizarry atMark gmail d0t com.

[Editor's Note: Standard cautions apply before giving out too much personal information. After initial contact, learn about the company and verify. Talk with other players and coaches as well.]

This is a site about Pro Yakyu (Japanese Baseball), not about who the next player to go over to MLB is. It's a community of Pro Yakyu fans who have come together to share their knowledge and opinions with the world. It's a place to follow teams and individuals playing baseball in Japan (and Asia), and to learn about Japanese (and Asian) culture through baseball.

It is my sincere hope that once you learn a bit about what we're about here that you will join the community of contributors.

Michael Westbay
(aka westbaystars)

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