It’s kind of interesting that Kawakami isn’t getting more love, because he pitched pretty well last year. His 7-12 record didn’t show it, but his 3.86 ERA did. 13 of his 25 starts were quality starts, but actually he had only five starts in which he gave up more than three earned runs; he had a lot of deep counts and didn’t get out of the sixth on several occasions when he was pitching well. I’d rather have him than Lowe out there.
I would like more strikeouts (six per nine) considering his control problems (3.3 walks per nine, the aforementioned deep counts) but he was sometimes that mythical beast, “effectively wild”, and he never had a game where the walks just overpowered him (no more than four in any start)… He worked in a six-man rotation in Japan, and there was some thought to putting him on long rest as much as possible, but he actually pitched best in normal rotation. His ERA on four days’ rest was 3.48, 4.50 on five days’, 4.45 on six days’ or more. His control was better on long rest (which is odd) but he was more homer-prone… Reverse platoon split, .252/.325/.377 against lefties, .268/.331/.504 against righties.
Looked pretty good as a reliever, and put up a 2.63 ERA, but was 0-2 with a blown save. He did pick up one save, a four-inning job in a blowout.