Like everything else this year, MLB’s winter meetings are much different this year. COVID-19 has halted the typical big name hotel gathering, and instead, this year’s meeting are going to be held virtually. How much that affects the amount of free agent and trade activity this week remains to be seen, but the safe bet is that things will be much quieter than usual. Nonetheless, there are a few newsworthy items to share today. Let’s get to them.

Yomiuri Giants post Tomoyuki Sugano

Add another starting pitcher to the free agent list. I don’t know anything about him, so rather than aggregate a bunch of information on him, I’ll leave FanGraphs’ scouting report on him here:

Sugano has a 2.34 career ERA in seven NPB seasons, all as a starter. In 2020 (at age-31), his fastball velo gained a tick on average, and now sits parked at 93 mph. It is one of five offerings in Sugano’s arsenal, the best of which are his splitter (which he threw more of this season) and a slider that’s a 45-grade pitch in a vacuum but plays because Sugano locates it so consistently. He has sort of an odd windup. His torso rotates clockwise while his hips and lower half remain stationary, almost like the two halves of a twisted Oreo coming apart, before things normalize and look like a typical delivery. It’s a little deceptive and, along with fantastic command, helps Sugano’s average stuff play. He’ll likely plug into the middle of a major league rotation immediately.

So, Sugano is more of a command-over-stuff pitcher from the sounds of it. Based on the write up, I definitely wouldn’t expect him to dominate MLB hitters in the way he shut down his NPB opponents, but he certainly seems like he’d help the Yankees rotation.

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