Ben Lindbergh and Jeff Sullivan banter about the Mariners signing Yusei Kikuchi, Willians Astudillo’s last 10 days, and Oliver Drake’s latest designation for assignment, and then grade the Hall of Fame’s many choices of in-game artifacts from the 2018 season. After that (44:41), they bring on Kyodo News writer Jim Allen to talk about Kikuchi’s origin story, recent performance, balky shoulder, and comparable pitchers, plus the use of stats and technology in Japanese baseball, how the posting system has (and hasn’t) changed NPB, how Shohei Ohtani’s rookie MLB season was perceived in Japan, the greatness of potential future major leaguer Yuki Yanagita, and more.
Link to Drake interview episode
Link to list of Hall of Fame artifacts
Link to Jeff’s Kikuchi post
Link to Jim’s Kikuchi primer
Link to Jim’s story on Kikuchi’s use of technology
Link to Jim’s story on Kikuchi’s evolving approach
Link to Jim’s podcast