Monday, November 17, 2008

Sixteen-year old Japanese schoolgirl kunckleballer selected in Japanese pro draft

Sixteen-year old schoolgirl Eri Yoshida (pictured above) has been selected in the Nippon Professional Baseball draft, making her the first woman on either side of the Pacific to achieve such an honor (no, Ila Borders doesn't count, and anyone who's ever been to a St. Paul Saints game can tell you why).

GWS insists on referring to Yoshida as "schoolgirl" because if the AP can do it, so can he. A quick question: why would the AP refer to a young Japanese woman as a schoolgirl, when Morgan Pressel, Shawn Johnson, and others in Yoshida's age group escape that slightly-degrading appellative? GWS fears the answer lies somewhere between the image above and the deeply repressed sexual urges of Japanese men, and he bases these fears on absolutely nothing.

Yoshida throws her knuckler with a sidearm delivery, topping out around 80km/h (that's just under 50 mph for those of us who think the metric system is for sissies), so she's unlikely to make the jump to MLB anytime soon. Still, NPB seems to think she's got good enough stuff to be more than just a novelty draw.

Yoshida will mature like any other ballplayer, growing bigger, faster, and stronger than she was before. PECOTA projects her as a #4 or 5 starter who's probably better suited to the bullpen; strangely, PECOTA also predicted that when Yoshida reaches her prime, her appearances on the mound will look something like this.

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