Nippon | Fukuoka Hawks

Discussion in 'Team News' started by Wick36, Aug 1, 2013.

  1. Wick36

    Wick36 Welcome to the Jungle

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    [​IMG]
    The Hawks have decided to change management and have elected to put Mark Wickert behind the wheel.​
    The Hawks currently have the 3rd best record in the league sit at 2nd place in the Pacific division, 2-1/2 games behind the Orix Buffaloes. ​
    Fukuoka's roster definitely seems to be built around a win now philosophy. The team is incredibly old and their minor league system is one of the worst in the league. Despite their positioning in the playoff race, Wickert has said that he wants to try and unload some of the team's talent to try and bring down their total salary numbers and build a good farm system.​
    [​IMG]
    This is what the average Hawks player looks like.
    It's tough to say what the fans will think of this and what kind of moves this might entail. The Hawks fans are pretty used to winning and ownership is pretty demanding, so if things go downhill Wickert could find himself walking out the door about as quickly as he came in.

     
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  2. Wick36

    Wick36 Welcome to the Jungle

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    Well, terrible news for Fukuoka. After a huge week in which the Hawks were able to grab the first place spot in the Pacific division from the Orix Buffaloes, the league office demanded that the full week of games be replayed. Since then, the wheels have completely fallen off of this team. They now sit an awful 15 games from first and are mathematically eliminated from the championship game.
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    The Buffaloes are often mistaken for a women's softball team, yet they are still better than the Happy Chickens.

    Yes, the Happy Chickens now sit at a miserable #10 in the power rankings. Why? Well, the team has decided that it wanted to suck as much as humanly possible.

    Manager Mark Wickert was not very happy in a recent interview on the subject:

    "I am not sure how this team can be this bad. I am almost embarrassed to be associated with this group of losers. If they don't start to turn things around on the field, we may have to go Major League on them until they start winning. Terrible amenities and a puzzle revealing a naked Akihito Nakamura should be enough motivation for this lot. The players have also been made aware that that a further lack of success will result in our mascot being slaughtered in exchange for a Caniac that they will have to watch me eat. Finally, we will be having 10 cent beer night every night. Bad performance will likely result in the players being pelted by beer bottles. I can't figure out for the life of me why management decided to stockpile foreign players before I arrived? Did they not realize there was a limit? What a ninny."

    Worst of the Worst
    3. Keizo Ishibashi - A .161 slugging % is not going to get it done.
    2. Michizane Murakami - He has an ERA of 7 and opponents are batting .324 against him.
    1. Ichiro Yamada - He's batting .167 in September with a 2.5:1 K:H ratio.



    BETTER LUCK NEXT YEAR
     
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  3. Wick36

    Wick36 Welcome to the Jungle

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    The Hawks Start Hawt

    Despite talks of decimating the club and starting over in the offseason, the hawks have gotten off to a quick start with a 2 game lead in their division after 2 games. Everything seems to be going the opposite of what happened after the fateful "Double Sim of 2022" where the hitting and pitching for the Hawks just went down the tube.

    Opening Day was definitely a success. It started with a stunning performance of the national anthem by the Devil Mountain Jazz Band and continued on with a thrilling 8-6 win over Seibu. Ito started things off with a 2 run homer in the first, but the lead off hitter Yoshida provided the muscle needed to keep the lead with 4 RBIs.
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    The Hawks won their series against Seibu 3-1 and swept the Eagles in 3 games. Unfortunately a tough 2-1 series loss to Yamato, possibly the worst team in the league, may come back to haunt Fukuoka later on.

    Ikki Kurota and Ben Edwards have been
    phenomenal in their starts this year. Edwards has not given up a run in 11.1 innings and has struck out 9 hitters. Kurota has a 1.69 ERA with 12 Ks in 16 innings pitched. Rumor has it that Kurota was shopped around this offseason, but teams like Hova thought that Kurota was done - washed up. The Red Baron has shown that he still has it and maybe he'll have it for several more years.

    Zunino, who was reportedly shopped around as well due to his large contract, has performed at the level of that contract so far this season. He's batting .475 with 5 HRs and 13 RBIs. If he can continue to play well, perhaps he will have a shot at the triple crown come later in the season. Despite his struggles last year, he certainly has the talent to do it. Kouki had been playing brilliantly before injuring his hammy. He'll be out for a long 6 weeks. The big surprise this year has definitely been Masato Sakamoto, the tenth overall pick in this years draft. He's currently batting .361 in the DH spot. If his power can rise to where some think it might, Sakamoto could become one of the premiere players in the entire NPB.

     
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  4. Wick36

    Wick36 Welcome to the Jungle

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    Big Signings for the Hawks

    1B Moromao Meshizuka - He's a solid hitter. He puts the ball in play a lot and can hit the ball with some power. In 501 ABs for the Giants last year, Moromao hit a stellar .305.

    RF Nelson Perez - The signing of this international CF has made quite a splash. He is signed for a 1 year deal for 4.4 million dollars. He is quite good at every aspect of hitting. ​
     
  5. Wick36

    Wick36 Welcome to the Jungle

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    Hawks Climb Back Into First in the Power Rankings

    The Bad News: Shinzo Yoshida will be out for 5-6 weeks with a partially torn labrum. Shinzo had been struggling a bit this season, batting just .233. Perez will take over his spot in RF until he returns. Saduke Sanu will re enter the lineup in the designated hitter spot.

    The signings in the post above have turned up huge for Fukoaka. Meshizuka is hitting .412 with 3 RBIs in 9 games so far. Perez is hitting .424 with 3 HRs, 11 RBIs, and 9 BB in 9 games.

    Mark Wickert had this to say: "It was a tough decision on whether we wanted to go through with this signing. We've been trying to set back the clock on this team and try to get younger, but we haven't really been able to make any moves to help with that. With Kurota and Yoshida nearing retirement with a few more players getting old, we weren't sure how long our window of opportunity would be. Perez looked to us, like he could potentially step in and be the best hitter in the NPB for an affordable contract. Obviously we've only got him for the 1 year, so we'll have to see what happens. That hardest part about all of this, though, is that with the limit on foreign players, we had to send Alberto Gonzalez down to Triple A. He was ridiculous at that level last year and put up really, really strong numbers for us in the big club. We felt like Moromao could replicate his ability to get on base for us, though we don't expect him to hit for nearly as much power. Perez should more than make up for the difference, though."

    Mike Zunino's great season continues, as he is currently leading the JPL in batting average, home runs, and RBIs.

     
  6. Wick36

    Wick36 Welcome to the Jungle

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    It's draft time in the NPBL - teams will be judging the talent they have and looking into the future at the talent that they will be losing.

    Fukuoka enters this time as Happy Chickens, indeed, sitting atop the Pacific League with a 9.5 game lead despite several injuries this year.

    C Mike Zunino still has a shot at the Triple Crown. He's got a 3 HR lead in HRs and a 14 RBI lead in RBIs. He sits 1 point behind Rob Burns in BA.

    The starting rotation for the Hawks has really hit stride, with nobody having an ERA of over 4. After a stellar start to the season, Edwards has struggled in 5 out of his last 6 starts. Being a foreign player, a few more poor outings could result in a shake up. Likely call ups in that scenario would be MR Lenny Linsky or fan favorite Elvis Aurajo. Linsky has had an ERA below 1.65 everywhere he's pitched since 2021, though Aurajo would bring a much needed left handed arm into the fold and has the ability to start, as well as coming out of the bullpen.

    The signing of Hyosuke Tada seems to be a failure. The Hawks decided to take a chance on him, despite him doing pretty badly for Hanshin at the top level. The hope is still that he will figure things out, as he has enough talent to play in the NPBL, but he's running out of time in what could be his last chance to play professional baseball.

    Alberto Gonzalez continues to blow stuff up in AAA. An unfortunate casualty of the Nelson Perez signing, Gonzalez has shown that he does not belong in AAA. He leads the Western League in Batting Average, On-Base Percentage, Slugging Percentage, Weighed OBA, WAR, OPS, and RBIs.

    Tony Hernandez has also continued to put up great numbers. Management feels he is very NPBL ready, but Zunino is currently blocking his path to the big leagues.

    What will the Hawks do in the draft? With the #11 and #12 picks, they can certainly beef up their farm system if they happen to snag the right players. With the make up of the top team and the farm team, it would seem that the Hawks will target pitching and possibly some infielders in the draft. The team is dripping with outfield talent. This draft has a lot of solid choices at pitcher and shortstop so it will all come down to who is available and who the Hawks are high on. If the players they like are gone, it wouldn't be too crazy to see them draft someone like RF Miura who they didn't have the cash to sign last year or Hirotaka Noda, who has shown he can play a wide variety of positions.
     
  7. Wick36

    Wick36 Welcome to the Jungle

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    The Hawks will look to rebuild after a disappointing playoff loss.

    "This team was simply getting too old and we have too many over priced guys. We had something going that just can't sustain itself for much longer. We may as well get a head start on the process so we can make changes to help avoid ending up as a bottom of the barrel team. Obviously, we have one of the biggest budgets in the league, so we can definitely get some great players in free agency."

    Players that appear to be out the door.

    Nelson Perez - This guy felt that a salary of $20 million per year was acceptable. That is larger than the total budget of a lot of Japanese teams.
    Ryuichi Kawano - He's been very good in the closer role, but he's getting a bit old and his price tag of $1.5 mil a year seems a bit high for his skill level.
    Ben Edwards and Vicente Duran - They've been awesome for the Hawks, but they take up both foreign pitching spots and are 2* players. Both are beginning to get a bit old as well.
    Kosho Suzuki - He decided to forego his player option and test the free agent market. His asking price of $4.5 mil a year for his 40 year old self is crazy.
    Noritada Kouki - He put up solid numbers, but his skills have diminished greatly over the course of the season. He looked like he'd be a super star, but ended up being more of a role player by the end of the season.

    Those are the big ones. Expect the Hawks to be very aggressive in free agency.
     

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