Nippon (Japanese) Baseball League and Korean Baseball

How does the talent of the Nippon Baseball League compare to the MLB? What is more competitive the Koran or Nippon League?

What is the lifestyle like of thee two leagues?

The Japanese professional leagues are probably a step above Triple A and a step below MLB. Many “fringe” MLB pitchers go to Japan to play. Japanese scouts look heavily at the Triple A ranks for talent. You’ll often see MLB journeymen or Triple A veterans over in Japan.

Korea is a step down from Japan, probably similar to Triple A, maybe a bit worse. Again, there are former MLB pitchers who go over there to play, often to finish up their careers.

I know many pitchers who have competed in Japan and have come back to states, and they say it’s a very different game. Pitching in particular is difficult. The hitters are enamored with scouting reports and they learn your tendencies inside and out. It’s very important to throw all of your pitches over there to keep hitters off balance (always a good strategy regardless, but moreso over there). There are a lot of contact hitters there, so they will fight off a lot of your toughest pitches, that’s why mixing it up is key.

NPB is AAAA-level baseball for the most part. The average fastball velocities there are significantly lower than MLB pitching; an MLB #4 starter will have as good of stuff as an NPB #1 starter (exceptions are made, of course - Yu Darvish has better stuff than most MLB pitchers!).

NPB wants flame-throwing American pitchers and big time power hitters and not much else. Utility infielders are a dime a dozen there.

Korean Baseball just celebrated their 30th year anniversary. I believe the only Koreans in the MLB all came straight from HS/College and none have gone from KBO to MLB yet. As for MLB the scouts look for Triple A players with some Big League experience. Hope that helps :smiley: