The Dodgers continue to vamp up their international scouting and development, and reportedly will be meeting with another high profile international player. According to Gerry Fraley of the dallas Morning News, Japanese right handed reliever Kyuji Fujikawa is set to meet with several major league teams next week, and one is the Dodgers.
Fujikawa is a 32 year old right hander from Japan who had been pitching for the Hanshin Tigers of the Japan Central League for the last six seasons. He is considered one of the top free agents, ranked number 34 on the MLBTradeRumors.com Top 50 list.
Fujikawa is a true free agent, so he won’t have to go through the posting system. The 32 year old closer has saved 202 games over the course of his six year career. Last season he was 2-2 with a 1.48 ERA, in 48 games for the Hanshin Tigers. In 47 innings, he saved 24 games, and whiffed 58 batters, against only 15 walks, which gave him a whiff per nine rate of 11.0. During his career, Fujikawa has a 26-18 record, 1.36 ERA, 202 saves, 2.3 walks per nine rate, and a whiff per nine rate of 12.4.
Fujikawa is known as a power pitcher, with a strong fastball in the mid 90’s. Fujikawa has already toured the spring training facilities of the Cubs and Dbacks, and will reportedly be meeting with the Dodgers, and the Angels sometime next week. It is unknown if Fujikawa will also be visiting the Rangers.
Stan Kasten, who runs the Dodger’s Baseball operations, has said one of his top priorities is revamping the Dodger’s international scouting and presence, which was nearly non-existent under the horrific McCourt regime. By golly he’s done just that. The Dodgers have signed Cuban defector outfielder Yasiel Puig, and just recently won the bid (25.7 million dollars) for South Korean lefty, Ryu Hyun-Jin. The new ownership is showing Dodger fans that they are serious about not only winning now, but increasing the Dodger’s international development, and rebuilding a thin farm system.