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February 19, 2009

Uehara highlight film

There's a lot of YouTube stuff out there showing Koji Uehara pitching in Japan and various international tournaments, but this particular six-minute video is a career compilation of his biggest strikeouts and it includes some notable strikeout victims.

If you hang in for about two minutes, you can see him tie Barry Bonds and Jason Giambi in knots during one of the postseason All-Star tours of Japan a few years ago. Don't know if the Orioles are getting the same guy at this point in his career, but he has an impressive repertoire of pitches.

Here's the video, with Japanese play-by-play and -- in some cases -- metric radar gun readings:

If you don't have a calculator handy, the fastball to Bonds that flashed up as 143 kilometers per hour would be 89 miles per hour, but remember that Uehara was quite a bit younger then. And, you might notice, Barry was quite a bit slimmer.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 8:19 AM | | Comments (21)
Categories: Just baseball


For a righty, it looks like he can handle himself against lefty hitting. That's a good sign.I'm concerned that these highlights are ten years old. How much does he have left in his arm?

Apparently "Sanshim" means strikeout. Though I might be embarrassed later today when I try to raise it in conversation with the attractive Japanese girl at work, and she tells me it means "Hot Dog" or something. ;)

Thanks Pete, he looks great. Like Palmer, Mussina, Mike C. from the earily seventies (I don't remember how to spell his name) and maybe even a little Stu Miller all rolled up in one. He strikes 'em out with high hard ones, he strikes 'em out with low breaking balls and has a good change of speeds. Looks like he is worth the price of admission. Cool!

bonds looked pretty much the same if you "ax" me...looked like 2000 or 2001. I have no doubt bonds used something, but to say his body is more rapidly changed than others is baseless. Mike Jordan at carolina is a toothpick and in 1998 he is a much bigger, much more ripped and balding man who just decided to shave it (and start a bald revolution!!!)

The thing is, its not the speed that I hope makes Koji-San effective but the changing there of.
As you can see in that tape, (that Roch had the day he signed) he hits hits spots perfectly. If you can throw exactly where you want to and chage speeds, you are gonna be amazing. Look at the last couple 95MPH guys out there. They all Blow Mule.
But, look at Maddux, Glavine, Moyer, and so on. They change speeds, don't overpower, and were effective into their 40s.
I think, and hope, that we are all pleasantly surprised by this guy.
Any news on those 2 cuban players that the O's were after? Also, what do you know about this Japanese guy they just signed. All I know was he was the #1 player out of High School in Japan.

Hey Pete, do you know if the mounds are the same height in Japan as MLB?

Pete's reply: I just talked to Japanese baseball reporter Hideki Okuda and he told me the height is the same, but the Japanese mound is softer and slightly less sloped.

Pretty much everybody's metabolism slows down as you get older. So in effect, you gain weight. What happens when your body is naturally gaining weight and you go to the gym? The weight that you gain that would normally turn to fat in effect turns into muscle.

To say that Bonds gained all his weight from steroids is ludicrous. Steroids make you gain faster, but they don't make you gain weight in the natural sense. I'm 23, have a retarded fast metabolism and can't gain weight. I've eaten 5,000 calories a day before for 4 months, went to the gym most days, and didn't gain a pound. If i had taken steroids, would I have gained massive amounts of weight? I doubt it. I would have packed on 10 or 15 pounds and gotten pretty strong, but nothing like the weight gin Bonds has gone through over the past 10 years. He would have gotten bigger regardless.

His breaking stuff (I assume that diving pitch is his forkball) looks so awesome, but he really has a bad tendency to leave that fastball over the meaty part of the plate. I think a lot of those strikeouts could have easily been homers. If you look at the tape, there are very few outs low and away. He's stronger on the inside, and that strikeout pitch to Barry is ridiculous.

Base: "Sanshin" does mean strikeout. Hopefully that won't be your outcome with the attractive Japanese girl ... tell her she's "kawaii" (cute).

Looks to me like he's getting a lot of strike calls 6" to a foot off the plate. Good luck with that in the show, Koji.

love the music.

Pete , Konichiwa !

Of course, the issue is, whether how much Koji has left in the tank. Hopefully he'll be a righthanded Frank Tanana. For those of you who don't remember, Frank started out with the Angels as a flame thrower, upper 90s then became Jamie Moyer before ther was a Jamie Moyer--VERY soft tosser, but he could change speeds incredibly well and could still place the ball for strikes and that's what it takes to get men out.

well I can report that I did not "sanshin" with the attractive Japanese girl. ;) And I used your "kawaii" as well, and apparently I must have accidentally told a joke because she laughed. Charm is so much easier to pull off when you don't know what you're talking about. ;)

BIG Z--Good news! These highlights aren't all from 1999. Go 3:37 into the clip and you'll see highlights from the World Baseball Classic.

What, no Ichiro? Bummer. That should be a fun match up this season.

Koji's said he prefers American mounds to the softer ones in Japan.

I think he may be one of the biggest signings that nobody cared about and is going to make a lot of teams kick themselves for thinking he's only good for relief. And I'm betting that he even outperforms the naysayers who only peg him as a back-of-rotation kind of pitcher.

If he's as good as advertised, he may be an Oriole longer than two years. Koji's is one of a number of great story lines for the 2009 season; I think O's fans are going to be pleasantly surprised with the team this year.

Koji will have to adjust his game to the big leagues in terms of getting those big parts of the plate, but, the highlights don't show you the preceding pitches before the sanshin is made. What you consistently see is the hitters are putting late emergency swings on a slow fastball, and, they're unbalanced on the offspeed stuff. If Koji can adjust to the major league zone and mix everything well enough, he might be the next good soft-tosser in the league. He certainly has the control for it.

Breaking pitch looks mean to say the least! Looks like the fastball might have a bit of a sinker or tailing action at some points.

Only throwing 89 might be a downfall if throws the ball over the middle. However, if he hits his spots I think he can be effective. It looks like he sets up the high and inside pitch after hitting the down and outside locations.

Video looked good. thanks!


Dude throws in the low 140's!! Holy cow!!

He's a regular Syd Finch.


Maybe we should change the speed guns at Camden to metric?

Pete's reply: Now there's an idea.

Pete-Thank you for posting the Uehera video , it is promising and pleasing to see the new kid on the block .
I hope this is good KARMA for O's =)


Now I have an excuse to wear my Naruto headbands to Oriole games. :)

Though I wonder if he'll think I'm an American "otaku," a Japanese "otaku," or, heaven forbid, a hikikomori.

Unfortunately, the O's are going to be out of town when Otakon's (biggest Japanese anime convention on the East Cost) in town. Disappointing. :(

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About Peter Schmuck
Peter Schmuck wants you to know that, contrary to popular belief, he is more than just a bon vivant, raconteur and collector of blousy flowered shirts. He is a semi-respected journalist who has covered virtually every sport -- except luge, of course – and tackled issues that transcend the mere games people play. If that isn’t enough to qualify him to provide witty, wide-ranging commentary on the sports world ... and the rest of the world, for that matter ... he is an avid reader of history, biography and the classics, as well as a charming blowhard who pops off on both sports and politics on WBAL Radio. That means you can expect a little of everything in The Schmuck Stops Here, but the major focus will be keeping you up to the minute on Baltimore’s major sports teams and themes, whether it’s throwing up the Orioles lineup the minute it’s announced or updating you on the latest sprained ankle in Owings Mills. Oh, and by the way, that’s Mr. Schmuck to you.

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