Mark Bowman, the Braves beat writer for MLB.com (known at Braves Journal as "Peanut" because all he does is parrot the Braves' front office) writes that "[the] Braves are believed to have offered a Major League contract to Junichi Tazawa, a 22-year-old Japanese right-hander who is also drawing interest from a number of other big league teams".
According to the BR Bullpen wiki entry on him, Tazawa pitched for the Nippon Oil team in 2008 and helped them win their first industrial league title in 13 years. He has a fastball (which tops out in the mid-90s), a curveball, slider, changeup and a forkball.
Here is a vclip posted on YouTube of Tazawa pitching for Nippon Oil (the ENEOS on his uniform is their brand name) against JR Shikoku, or Shikoku Railway Company. I can safely say I have never seen anyone with the kind of delivery that he has, and I don't know whether that is a good or bad thing. Tazawa throws with speeds from the mid-70s to the low-90s. He seems to live on control, as evidenced by this clip. That is what the Braves covet. An ajc.com article says one official even described him as similar to Tim Hudson but "with a better curveball".
However, It's unlikely that Tazawa is going to be in the majors immediately. He'll be treated like a first-round draft pick and be placed on the 40-man roster because he's signed to a major league deal. If the Braves are smart, and I think they are, they'll have Tazawa be in the minors for a year or two to see if he can really cut the mustard.
I would just absolutely love it if the Braves sign Tazawa and he pans out. It would go a long way to helping the team compete in the future.
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