Kenshin Kawakami

Kenshin Kawakami Statistics and History –

It’s kind of interesting that Kawakami isn’t getting more love, because he pitched pretty well last year. His 7-12 record didn’t show it, but his 3.86 ERA did. 13 of his 25 starts were quality starts, but actually he had only five starts in which he gave up more than three earned runs; he had a lot of deep counts and didn’t get out of the sixth on several occasions when he was pitching well. I’d rather have him than Lowe out there.

I would like more strikeouts (six per nine) considering his control problems (3.3 walks per nine, the aforementioned deep counts) but he was sometimes that mythical beast, “effectively wild”, and he never had a game where the walks just overpowered him (no more than four in any start)… He worked in a six-man rotation in Japan, and there was some thought to putting him on long rest as much as possible, but he actually pitched best in normal rotation. His ERA on four days’ rest was 3.48, 4.50 on five days’, 4.45 on six days’ or more. His control was better on long rest (which is odd) but he was more homer-prone… Reverse platoon split, .252/.325/.377 against lefties, .268/.331/.504 against righties.

Looked pretty good as a reliever, and put up a 2.63 ERA, but was 0-2 with a blown save. He did pick up one save, a four-inning job in a blowout.

77 thoughts on “Kenshin Kawakami”

  1. I like KK. He seemed to turn in his best starts when he faced the other team’s ace. He pitched a gem against Halladay.

  2. Did we ever agree on a nickname for Kenshin Kawakami?

    With a little luck, he will be an even more effective pitcher in 2010 and yes, I have at least as much confidence in him as the $45 million Lowe….

  3. agree with ASG, seems like a guy who is ready to face the games best and stayed with them most of the way, if not better

  4. KK improved a lot in the 2nd half of the year, but a lot of his starts were incredibly frustrating. Baserunners everywhere (mostly because of walks) and constantly living on the edge. An SP who can’t throw strikes is painful to watch.

    If he pitches the whole year this year like he did the in the second half last year he could have an excellent year. Let’s hope that’s the case.

  5. I think I posted it on Facebook, but one of my favorite things about Kawakami-san being a Brave is that I get to see pics of Bobby being ejected on Yahoo Japan.

    And Braves highlights on Japanese television.

    I don’t have a suggestion on a nickname, but please no kamikaze. Please.

  6. yeah, that was my suggestion, and i realize how distasteful (but unintentional at the time) that sounds. i plead ingnorance and i’ve learned better.

  7. Isn’t the baseball used in Japanese leagues a different size from the MLB version? And if so, does anyone else think that might have contributed to his early season difficulties?

  8. The Japanese baseball is smaller and less dense and MLB baseballs are more slippery than the Japanese ones. I have no doubt that presents a problem for a transplant, especially a pitcher.

  9. How about ‘Dragonfish’ for a nickname? I dunno why, just kinda popped into my head.

    Kenshin ‘Dragonfish’ Kawakami.

    I can’t say whether I love him or not, the jury is out until we get into May, however, I like his chances of being our third best starter, ahead of Hudson and Lowe, aka ‘the old, injured guys’.

  10. Did we ever agree on a nickname for Kenshin Kawakami?

    How about The Yellow Peril?

  11. It was not meant seriously (although it would be seriously awesome).

  12. If he stays a reliever I nominate this for his theme music. Ventures style rendition of traditional Japanese kabuki music, circa 1963. This guy is the Sawamura of Japanese rock and roll.

  13. I think I Ken, I think I Ken…

    I love KK. He’s a gamer and exciting to watch. I think most of us were aware that his first season in the Majors would be a tough transition for him, but I think he performed very well. When he’s on, his breaking pitches are straight up nasty. An expensive #5 guy for sure, but he would be a solid #3 or 4 for almost any other team.

  14. Greetings from Athens, Ga…

    KK seems to step it up against the better pitchers, which is somewhat encouraging. Would like to see some length in games, but not holding my breath.

    Just got back from the UGA-Bama hoops game. The Tide is no fun to play. Their press gave UGA fits for awhile, but Bama can’t shoot straight. Leslie had a few big moments & Thompkins woke up just in time. Nice to be back in that atmosphere.

  15. Just saw a ridiculously good funk a capella group in CA tonight called The House Jacks. Highly recommended.

  16. Timo @ 30,

    Two things: You’d think they would be able to spell ‘Schafer’ correctly, at least by now (not that I can spell worth crap, but hey, when you’re writing for a paper, it is your job); and, who is this Brent Clevlen guy? Apparently from the Tigers organization, but I can’t find much more info on him.

  17. How about Pokemon for a nickname? KK is from Japan, looks like pikatchu and sure has superpowers when it matters most.

  18. Timo,

    Danke. Great pictures. #13 is a classic. While at it, I dare to suggest “Speedy” as a new nickname for Brian McCann.

  19. Going back to the previous thread, there is an interesting interview John Sickels has done with Howard Norsetter who is the Twins International Scouting coordinator. Norsetter outlines some of the things which the Twins do to enable international prospects to adjust to American life and the minors. The interview can be read here:

    I wonder if the Braves will send any of their recent European signings to Australia to prepare for the GCL…..

  20. looking toward opening day, i wonder if bobby puts the platoon in place the first game of the season. since big z will probably start for the cubs, we’ll probably start melky in left. if you were matt diaz and just came off the best season of your life, would you be upset?

  21. @36 – Diaz is probably used to Bobby’s disrespect by now.

    @37 – Bon mot!

    There was a young man in the Vandy crowd wearing a Braves hat yesterday – was that you, Stu?

  22. Timo –

    From a couple of threads ago, Cocoa Beach Country Club is great, 3 courses, reasonable prices, Walkabout in Titusville is Top-Notch and The Majors in Palm Bay is just about PGA quality. Next time your here, drop me a line, they still give me VIP treatment at Lido’s ;)

  23. 38—No, hank, I was in gold with a black VU hat. Woulda gladly traded all of my clothes for a made bucket on one of our many wasted open looks…

  24. @2

    I call him “The Shredder”

    Guys, I just got back from skiing in Vail, CO. It was outstanding and I recommend it to all of you.

  25. @42 – That story is 100% revisionist history to make it look like the FO preferred the current Braves outfielders to adding Damon to the mix. A nice gesture, but not true by all accounts/public actions.

  26. #45–Its certainly easier….I like your point about ‘revisionist history’–especially because in this case it is an attempt at official history….

  27. I dont think the Braves ever planned on having Damon added to the OF. They knew their figure wouldnt get the job done. It has been almost two months since the Braves made a move to improve their team. Im guessing it was something to spike the interest level right before ST

  28. I think that the Braves were hoping that they cold low ball Damon–and it appears to have nearly worked.

    I will be happy if the Braves sign Edward Salcedo (without exploding their budget for the draft) and look at finding other ways to improve the team….

  29. Seeing as how they don’t have a pick in the first round this year they should have money for an international signee in the budget.

  30. @47 – I agree, I don’t think the Braves “planned” to have Damon, but I think they certainly wanted and tried to sign him at the right price, which for the Braves was only going to be at about $3-4M for 1 year. From what I can tell they went after him the right way – let him know he’s wanted (call from Chipper) and offer pretty much your best offer and see what happens.

  31. I believe the article. The Braves low-balled him because they thought he really wanted to play in Atlanta (which is something they’ve done countless times), and they knew they were going to be out-bid. One thing the article didn’t say that I think went through the FO’s mind is whether or not that $4M would be better spent at the trade deadline getting a bat for the stretch run. Put it this way: the Braves potentially could try Heyward out for the first half of the season, and then if he’s not ready, they could trade a middling prospect for a half season of a guy that has an annual salary of $8M. Since they would only pay for half the season, it would cost them the same amount as Damon would cost, and he may or may not hit $4M more than Heyward would hit anyway.

    As for saying that McLouth could be just as good, well I dunno. This is one case where we don’t know what the FO knows. McLouth could be spending his offseason for the first time in his career with the mindset of being a lead-off hitter. The Braves could be impressed with a change in his approach, and feel like he’s going to have a big season. If that’s the case, then why pay Damon to do what McLouth can do already? I can see that thought-process in their decision.

  32. Another thing about McLouth…

    I see McLouth as a really similar player to Dustin Pedroia. They have potential for a .300/.370/.480 line and 20/20 (McLouth missed 20/20 by 1 SB), which is really similar to Johnny Damon and would be great out of our lead-off spot. McLouth hit .260/.354/.426 out of the lead-off spot last year and I think he could most definitely improve on that. If we even got that this year, that’s a good lead-off hitter with his stolen base success rate. If all else fails, put Escobar in the lead-off hole. His .377 OBP would work nicely too.

  33. I like McClouth as much as the next guy, but a 370 OBP seems optimistic, and a 300/370/480 slash line would make him about the best hitting CF in the NL, non-Beltran division of course.

  34. So I think a 370 OBP is totally possible for McLouth. He walks a lot. But what he isn’t is a high-average hitter, and that’s exactly what Dustin Pedroia is. Pedroia might actually be a true-talent .315 hitter. McLouth is a true-talent .260 hitter. If McLouth hits .300, he /would be/ the best CF in the NL; he’d be pretty near to .300/.400/.500. But predicting that he’d hit .300 is crazy.

  35. Well he’s got an ISO of .094. If he could just hit .270 he’d be about right there. I agree that asking him to hit .300 may be a stretch though. .280/.370/.480 would be there sensible.

  36. Three inches of new snow today in Central Nebraska, I’ve lost track of how many snowstorms we’ve had this winter, I’ve hardly seen my lawn since October——————I NEED BASEBALL!

  37. Just back from Vancouver.


    What a great city. Whistler felt more like the Winter Olympics though.

    I am seriously considering Sochi in 2014.

  38. All right, the blog is finally talking my “other” game. Hockey!

    But what a game the U.S.A. team played last night. No question about it, this was the biggest upset in U.S.A. winter Olympic Olympic history since 1980 and it’s been 50 years since we beat the Canadians. Ryan Miller was brilliant in goal!

    My man Zack Parise (University of North Dakota, GO SIOUX!) He along with nine other W.C.H.A alumni lead the U.S.A men’s ice hockey team in the 2010 winter Olympics.

    Here is to hoping for another miracle on ice!

  39. I don’t think that Bowman’s story is revisionist history at all. That Damon was still around must have been a surprise and had he actually signed for the token offer made would have been a stunner.

    I watched about 5 minutes of the hockey game last night. I’m not a big hockey fan but you could almost smell the testosterone coming from the TV. Tremendous competition.

  40. #62–I am happy to say that I have a similar reaction to the sport; that said 30 years ago it was a pretty good rush to watch us upset the mighty USSR–and even better to see it in TD….

  41. Randy @ 56, where do you live in NE? I’m just north of Wichita, KS and feel exactly the same way!!

  42. As for the AJC story on our pitching staff, I am quite encouraged by the news that everyone thinks our bullpen is deep and dominant. Must have a different view since I am concerned that Wagner and Saito will not be able to hold up, injury wise.

  43. Oh how I wish we had still been in town for that hockey game last night.

    The Canadian fans were beginning to get obnoxious. I am sure a hush descended on that country around 7 PM Vancouver time.

  44. if wagner and saito stay healthy, one has to think we’ll have the best pen in the league, or at least top 3. did anyone realize our pen, last year, almost averaged a strikeout per inning? for a whole, that’s phenomenal (448 in 476.2 IP).

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