What’s the point of throwing 161 kilometers… Japanese pitcher ruined by ‘fractional accounting’ for top prospects

‘Fractional accounting for a 161 km/h sprinkler pitcher’

Shintaro Fujinami (29), a Japanese pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles of Major League Baseball (MLB) in the United States, made a terrible pitch.

메이저사이트 Fujinami was on the mound with runners on first and second in the top of the sixth inning of an away game against Toronto today (3/3), with the game tied 1-1 after strong performances from both starters, Grayson Rodriguez (23) and Yusei Kikuchi (32).

But Fujinami couldn’t get out of the jam: he gave up a straight-up walk to the first batter he faced to load the bases, then gave up a run on a wild pitch, and the next batter he faced gave up another run on another wild pitch.

It was a bad outing for the rookie Rodriguez, who had a one-run lead with two outs in the sixth inning and quickly turned it into three runs in 5.2 innings.

Back-to-back singles and two walks shook the defense’s concentration, as a routine grounder was not handled by shortstop Jorge Mateo, 28, allowing another run to score.

It was 4-1, the game was out of reach, and Rodriguez was left with the yoke of a losing pitcher.

Baltimore’s top pitching prospect, Grayson Rodriguez. Photo = AP Yonhap
Throwing 100 mph (160.9 km/h) with ease despite being a starter, Rodriguez is the best pitching prospect Baltimore has ever pampered. A former first-round pick (No. 11 overall) in the 2018 First-Year Player Draft, Rodriguez was the No. 1 overall pitching prospect in baseball, so popular that he was nicknamed “G-Rod” even as a rookie.

Rodriguez made his big league debut earlier this season, but struggled to adjust and was sent back down to Triple-A. After readjusting in the minors, he was called back up to the big leagues on the 17th of last month and had been pitching well, until today’s start turned into a loss.

Fujinami with a powerful delivery and shaky command. Photo = AFP Yonhap
In the end, though, Fujinami didn’t do any damage to his record. The runners he allowed were credited to Rodriguez, and the runs he allowed were due to errors, so he was actually credited with 0.1 innings of scoreless relief, lowering his ERA from 8.08 to 8.04. It was “fractional accounting” at its finest.

A fireballer with an average velocity of 98.2 mph (158 km/h), Fujinami has always struggled with his command. While he has a powerful fastball that has struck out 60 batters in 56 innings this season, it has often gotten him into trouble, as evidenced by his 35 walks and seven strikeouts. Even in today’s start, Fujinami threw 100 mph, but it was only fast.

Fujinami during his time in Oakland. Photo = AFP Yonhap
Baltimore, which is in first place in the American League (AL) East, acquired Fujinami before the trade deadline to bolster its bullpen. After posting an 8.57 ERA in 49.1 innings with his former team, the Oakland Athletics, Fujinami came to Baltimore with an ERA of 4.05 in 6.2 innings, a slight improvement.

However, today’s outing proved that Fujinami is still not a pitcher that can be used in close games.

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