I was impressed with the Pads' Akinori Otsuka last night (not to be confused with Antonio Osuna, who was on the Yanks last year - what a nightmare). Looked up his numbers and this is what I found:
30.2 IP, 15 hits, 9 walks, 35 K, 0 HR, 10.99 K/9, 13 holds, .152 BAA, .218 OBP, .222 SLG, .440 OPS, 0.78 WHIP, 1.17 ERA
Wow. On top of that he's 32-years old and making only $700,000 this year.
This next led me to Shingo Takatsu, who was signed last offseason by the White Sox. He was Japan's all-time saves leader but overall numbers weren't sparkling, and most assumed that the tougher competition of the major leagues would be too much for him. Well his stats happen to look like this:
22.1 IP, 11 hits, 6 walks, 16 K, 1 HR, 6.45 K/9, 4 holds, .147 BAA, .220 OBP, .200 SLG, .420 OPS, 0.76 WHIP, 1.21 ERA
Yanks fans may remember his first MLB appearance at Yankee Stadium earlier this year where Bubba Crosby took him deep for a 2-run homer. Since then, he's allowed 1 run in the next 21.1 IP (that also against the Yankees). He's 35 and makes only $750,000.
Both Otsuka and Takatsu are in the top 20 for Adjusted Runs Prevented (ARP): http://www.baseballprospectus.com/st...bc4f793f2274b8
Of course there is also Kaz Sasaki, the former Mariners closer, who came here and had great success, posting ERA+'s of 145, 130, 166, and then 109 in an injury-riddled final season.
I think other GMs/scouts are gonna have to start taking notice. These guys aren't huge risks because they're not being paid much and so far are paying pretty nice dividends.