RYOTA IGARASHI
RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
Born: May 28, 1979
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 200
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Signed: International Free Agent, 2009 (Mets)
How Acquired: Minor League Free Agent
Birthplace: Chiba, Japan
Agent: Arn Tellem

WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES

Igarashi was a top reliever in Japan.  He was the hardest thrower in Japanese baseball, averaging around 96 mph.  After Tommy John surgery in 2007, his velocity didn’t quite come back.  He signed a two-year contract with the Mets for 2010-11, but struggled mightily with his control.  He was mostly ineffective both years and spent a significant part of his time in the minors.  With the Mets he threw mainly 92-93.  He also throws a splitter and the occasional curve.  He continued to fan a lot of hitters with the Mets, but allowed a lot of baserunners.  The Mets released him after the 2011 season and he signed a split contract with the Pirates.

2008
Japan:  3-2-3, 2.47 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 43.2 IP, 1.2 BB/9, 8.7 K/9

Igarashi came back strongly from Tommy John surgery, putting up a very low walk rate and a good K rate.

2009
Japan: 3-2-3, 2.19 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 53.2 IP, 3.4 BB/9, 7.4 K/9

Numbers slipped across the board, but were still good.

2010
A+:  1-0-0, 2.35 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 7.2 IP, 1.2 BB/9, 12.9 K/9
AAA:  2-1-2, 3.31 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, 16.1 IP, 3.3 BB/9, 8.8 K/9
MLB:  1-1-0, 7.12 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, 30.1 IP, 5.3 BB/9, 7.4 K/9 

Igarashi pitched well for the Mets in April, but went out with a hamstring injury late in the month.  After he returned, he struggled.  He tended to give up runs in bunches, especially in his five late May outings, in which he allowed eleven earned runs in just three innings.  Except for one bad outing, he pitched well in June, but the Mets optioned him to the minors in July.  His control was a problem at all times in the majors.  He didn’t walk so many batters in the minors, but still didn’t pitch well there, either.  He returned in mid-August and mostly pitched well except for one, five-run fiasco.  The Mets designated him for assignment during the off-season.

2011
AAA:  0-1-5, 0.87 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, 31.0 IP, 2.6 BB/9, 9.9 K/9
MLB:  4-1-0, 4.66 ERA, 1.84 WHIP, 38.2 IP, 6.5 BB/9, 9.8 K/9

Igarashi opened the season in the minors, but the Mets called him up in early April.  They sent him back down in mid-May and brought him back up for the remainder of the season in mid-July.  He struggled throughout his time in the majors, walking more and allowing more hits than the previous year, although he also fanned over a batter an inning.  Oddly, he pitched extremely well in AAA, including a low K rate.  The Mets released him after the season.

Igarashi is a worthwhile flyer for the Pirates.  He’s unlikely to make the team out of spring training, as they have numerous good options from the right side in the bullpen.  He still clearly has good stuff and seems able to throw strikes in the majors, but needs to make some sort of adjustment to pitch in the majors.

STATS
Baseball Reference–Majors
Baseball Reference–Minors
Fangraphs
MLB.com
MiLB.com
Japanese Stats
CONTRACT INFORMATION
2010: $1,250,000
2011: $1,750,000
2012: Split contract
PLAYER INFORMATION
Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2010
MLB Debut: 4/8/2010
MiLB FA Eligible: 2010
MLB FA Eligible: 2017
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: December 17, 2009
Options Remaining: 1 (USED: 2010, 2011)
MLB Service Time: 1.088
TRANSACTIONS
December 17, 2009: Signed as an international free agent by the New York Mets.
January 3, 2011: Designated for assignment by the New York Mets; outrighted to AAA on January 14.
April 11, 2011: Called up by the New York Mets.
October 19, 2011: Released by the New York Mets.
December 14, 2011: Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as a minor league free agent.