Saturday, May 3, 2008

Team Review: Taiyuan Kylin

I'm finally back with another team review! I thought I'd have these done by now, but, as it stands, I'm not even halfway through. It's harder than you think to write this sort of thing up for 32 teams.

Once again, in the interest of time, I have chosen to make this process quicker by not linking to the players on Baseball Reference, Japan Baseball Daily or other stat sites. I'm trying to cut this process down from around an hour per team, and these team reviews don't seem to be extremely popular anyway. Furthermore, there are a few Negro Leaguers who are literally impossible to locate online. However, if you're absolutely dying to learn more about each player, I recommend browsing a few of the links on the right.

Anyway, here we go with the Taiyuan Kylin:


Taiyuan is located in Shanxi province (not Shaanxi), a bit south and quite a ways west from Beijing. The team is named "Kylin" after the Chinese Basketball Association Shaanxi Kylin, which complicates things a bit. With characters, the difference between Shanxi "山西" and Shanxi "陕西" is easy to distinguish, but it's not possible with any romanization system. Hence, the second "a" in Shaanxi. Anyway, a Kylin is a mythical Chinese bird.

Taiyuan plays in Wrigley Field, renamed Wutai Field.

1. Cy Young
2. Dazzy Vance
3. Steve Carlton
4. Andy Benes
5. Charlie Root
SS. Daisuke Matsuzaka
SS. Hooks Wiltse
SS. Curt Davis
SS. Double Duty Radcliffe
SS. Dave Righetti

As usual, Diamond Mind's default Computer Manger makes spot starters out of the entire bullpen. This is no problem, of course, though I can't imagine any self-respecting big league manager carrying a list of five spot starters around.

Like most Japanese players in this league, Matsuzaka is based on his excellent Japanese statistics, not his American ones. Those stats haven't done him much good, though, as the CM has only used him for 3 innings thus far. Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe had that nickname because he was both pitcher and catcher in the Negro Leagues. He hasn't caught yet in this league, though.

Hitoki Iwase

Once again, the rest of the bullpen can be found as Spot Starters.

1 Peewee Reese SS / Shigeru Chiba 2B
2 Shigeru Chiba 2B / Vic Harris LF
3 Joe DiMaggio CF
4 Willie McCovey 1B
5 Lonnie Smith LF / Bob Abreu RF
6 Kip Selbach RF / Robin Ventura 3B
7 George Kell 3B / Peewee Reese SS
8 Hank Gowdy C / Biz Mackey C

There are so few lefty starters in this league that you can forget the starting lineup on the left hand side. In my mind, that ought to work in Taiyuan's favor, because that gives fewer starts to the inept Lonnie Smith.

Dink Mothel
Dave Malarcher
Michiyo Arito
Freddy Lindstrom
Atsushi Nagaike
Roy Sievers
Sam Rice

Taiyuan is currently in sixth place in the Northwestern League, with a 7-9 record, four games out of first. They have scored 76 runs and given up 80. Steve Carlton leads Kylin starters with a 2-0 record and a 2.70 ERA. Cy Young comes in close behind, with a 1-0 record and a 1.88 ERA. Still, that and an effective bullpen haven't been enough to compensate for the awful pitching of Davis, Root and Benes.

As one would expect, Joe DiMaggio is hitting very well, at .319 / .324 / .493 in 69 at-bats. Still, it's not enough to carry the entire team, which has been hitting at a .256 clip, seventh in the league.

It's interesting to see how different teams have different personalities, by the way. Last in the Northwestern League in batting are the Zhengzhou Dragons, who, conversely, lead the league by far with 27 stolen bases.

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