We know that MLB is back and we’ll talk about that plenty in the next few weeks. This week on the Sports Info Solutions Baseball Podcast, Mark Simon ( @MarkASimonSays) is joined by Japanese baseball writer, statistician and historian Jim Allen ( @JballAllen) of to talk about Nippon Professional Baseball (the NPB). Jim explains his background and talks about how Japan was able to work to a 120-game season (1:47), and he also explains how the top storylines this season have been overshadowed by Coronavirus (5:49). He discusses how team pitching plans have changed and top starters are already going deep into games (7:34). Jim also explains the expectations for ex-MLB players Adam Jones and Justin Bour, the latter of whom has drawn comparisons to an all-time Japanese great (9:39). The two then talk about defense and the emphasis that Japanese players put into defense compared versus how much attention defense gets in highlights (14:36). Jim also gives insight into the game’s top defensive players, including standout shortstop Sosuke Genda (16:44). He also points out aspects of defense that Japanese players do better than MLB players (22:58). His choice for the coolest thing to watch about Japanese baseball might surprise you (25:33).

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