Developers from Fujifilm and Microsoft Japan have devised a solution: an automatic player name-tagging function that identifies and tags images much faster than people can, and in greater volumes. Since June , it has been in a trial that has focused on just five baseball teams — including Hiroshima Toyo Carp , which has won the Central League championship eight times, and the Nippon Series three times. The trial was such a success, the function will be used for all NPB teams in the season.
Baseball in Japan - Wikipedia
Its photo analysis capabilities are based on pre-trained AI from Microsoft Cognitive Services and a deep learning framework from the Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit. This enables the classification of images into four types—batting , pitching, fielding, and base running. Azure Durable Functions and Automatic Player Name Tagging, and a final manual check by people has reduced overall processing time from the traditional four hours to just 30 minutes.
Through its developmental stages, Microsoft Japan provided a ResNet neural network model from Microsoft Research, its research and development arm. Fujifilm Imaging Systems now has plans to widen its use to amateur baseball leagues and then other sports. It might also be applied to the content needs outside the sports world. And, it is looking at the use of video analysis through Azure Video Indexer.
Microsoft Japan is committed to helping companies and organization embrace digital transformation with AI and is considering how to use this combination of pre-trained AI and a customizable deep learning framework in other fields, such as medicine. Artificial intelligence enhances security with a human touch. Artificial Intelligence and road safety: A new eye on the highway. Artificial intelligence deciphers the emotional mysteries of ancient Buddhist statues.
Natural disasters and artificial intelligence: A better chance to save lives. Artificial intelligence and renewables: A peek into the future of energy.
Japanese Baseball: Root, Root, Root and Buy Me Some Eel
Book Review: "Japanese Baseball and Other Stories" by W.P. Kinsella
More Stories The art of augmentation: Human intelligence and artificial intelligence working together. Ordinarily, I favor numbers to make these sorts of arguments. But while we will be taking a look at some of those, they're not going to tell the whole story. This is a rare case where numbers really can't tell the whole story. If it can be taken for granted that the best players stage the best competition, how can we be so confident that MLB truly hosts the best players?
Well, one reason is that major league teams can and do draw players from all over the world. Just as important is the fact that there are zero restrictions on how many foreign players they can carry. This isn't the case in Japan. According to JapaneseBaseball. There is, however, a limit for how many foreign players a team can have on its active roster. On their man rosters, NPB clubs are allowed to have a maximum of four foreign players. That's 16 percent of the league. For some perspective, that's roughly half the norm in MLB these days.
As reported by the Associated Press , the percentage of foreign-born players on Opening Day rosters disabled and restricted players included in was And remember, these are only foreign-born players who are good enough for MLB. That's not the case with foreign-born players in Japan, a good percentage of whom are former major leaguers who didn't prove to be good enough for MLB a point we'll come back to later on.
It's also not just the MLB level that's loaded with foreign talent. In , close to 50 percent of minor league contracts belonged to foreign players. And therein lies the second key difference between MLB and NPB: The minor league structures of the two leagues aren't mirror images of one another. Break it down even further and include rookie ball and the various levels of Single-A, and MLB clubs have a half-dozen different levels at which to stash young talent and organizational depth.
NPB clubs, on the other hand, have one minor league level to stash players at. There's the Eastern League and the Western League , and that's it. Now, because there are only 12 teams in NPB, it's true that it's not entirely necessary to have MLB-style minor league systems from which to draw talent. However, the shallowness of Japan's minor league system is felt at the NPB level.
They're often year-old kids, young enough to be better suited for rookie ball, only not even necessarily among the elite players at that level if they were hypothetically dropped onto low-minors rosters in the U. In MLB, most players have to go through several minor league seasons before hitting the majors. For the most part, only future-superstar types debut in their late teens or early 20s.
Where the difference between the two leagues is really felt is on offense. There have been a couple years in the last decade in which there's been a small gap in hitting quality between the youngsters of both leagues, but NPB youngsters generally haven't been as productive as MLB youngsters.
In some cases, the gap has been huge. This supports the notion that young players water things down in the NPB and, by extension, one of the notions proposed by Keri: that NPB pitchers have it easier. They do indeed benefit from facing young hitters who are out of their depth.
Recently viewed articles
Excluding pitchers who didn't pitch in NPB before pitching in the majors i. Boston's Junichi Tazawa , Wikipedia lists 31 pitchers who have made the jump from Japan to the big leagues. Of those, nine have accumulated career WARs of at least 9. In addition, two of the 9. They had their moments, but both technically qualify as at-best average MLB pitchers. Darvish had an ERA in the mid Iwakuma had an ERA near 5.
Uehara only had a 4. As FanGraphs' Dave Cameron recently argued, pitchers from Japan and other Asian countries do need to be taken more seriously in light of the success of recent Asian imports. But for all the statistics that can be bandied about, the writing is still on the wall that going from NPB to MLB means making the necessary adjustments to survive in a harsher league.
There's a good reason for the shortage of Japanese position players who have had a legit impact in MLB. For many years, hitters faced a significant adjustment in their own right. Whereas pitchers faced the prospect of pitching to tougher lineups, hitters faced the prospect of hitting a tougher baseball.
But just as important is what happened before the ball was juiced for This essentially involved making them less springy and, thus, less hitter-friendly. With more data courtesy of Baseball-Reference.
Then along came the new baseballs, which sucked power out of the league in a big way.
Related Japanese Baseball and other stories
Copyright 2019 - All Right Reserved