Word on the street is the Calgary Vipers have signed a workhorse (not a goldfish, as my title might suggest – I really have no idea what I’m doing). Hideki Nagasaka is no stranger to North American Independent Baseball, having pitched in the Northern League, Frontier League, CanAm League, and even the Golden League since 2002.
A workhorse, they say. The numbers agree. In 2004, 2005, 2007, and 2008, the 5’6″ righthander pitched over 100 innings (averaging just over 114 innings per year), and in 2006, Hideki pitched 79.2 innings. This gives Hideki an average of 107.1 innings pitched per season since 2004. A little guy with a big heart. A workhorse.
Using 2004 as our “jumpin in” point for this post, Hideki’s W-L records, ERA, and WHIP go like this:
- 2004: 8-7, 3.58, 1.44 (Northern)
- 2005: 8-8, 3.71, 1.49 (Northern & Golden)
- 2006: 6-3, 4.97, 1.49 (Golden)
- 2007: 10-1, 2.94, 1.35 (CanAm)
- 2008: 8-6, 5.47, 1.61 (CanAm)
2007 looks like a year where everything went right for Hideki. If you remove that season, you see that Hideki still manages to win more games than he loses as his ERA and WHIP both start to creep up. In 2008, Hideki was expected to be the ace of the staff (they called him “Little Hideki That Could”), but I don’t think the Vipers will lean on him just as heavily.
Hideki Nagasaka is 31 years old now (early 30s is a popular age for recent Vipers signings, or so it would seem), so I think it’s safe to say we know what we’re getting. If the Vipers get another 16+ starts, and 100+ innings of work from Hideki, compounded with a winning record, you won’t hear anyone complaining. Add in the juicy little nugget that Hideki is capable of the numbers he put up in 2007, and we’ve could have one unstoppable goldfish.
I’m no pitching coach, but I’d guess a guy like Evan Greusel will take a bit of comfort in sending a guy to the mound that knows is going to give him a particular brand of pitching. Hideki looks like that kinds of reliable starter.