Japanese Independent Baseball Tryouts Coming to the US

Shikoku Island League Plus Tryouts In California and Florida
shikoku island league tryouts

The Shikoku Island League Plus will be having open tryouts at San Joaquin Memorial High School in Fresno, California on November 7th and 8th. These tryouts are for players who are talented college seniors or players with professional experience who are looking to play independent baseball in Japan for the 2016 season.

The Shikoku Island League Plus has four teams and is part of the Japan Independent Baseball League Organization.

After the California tryout, there will also be another Japanese professional baseball tryout sponsored by the Puerto Rico Instructional Baseball League (PRIBL) held in Vero Beach, FL on November 10th.

japanese tryout

The tryout’s description from the PRIBL website and registration says:

Here is your chance to play professional baseball in Japan! PRIBL is holding the 2015 Japanese Professional Baseball League Tryout in Florida, on November 10th. Some Japanese Scouts and Executives from Japanese Leagues will be present. This amazing opportunity is geared towards talented college players in their senior year and current professional baseball players from North America who are interested in playing professional baseball in Japan in the 2016.

This tryout will be set up like the one in California and used to find players to fill any necessary holes that haven’t been filled yet. The GMs for the teams as well as the GM for the league will be at the tryouts ready to hand out contracts.

Players in the Shikoku Island League Plus get paid between $1,500 – $2000 a month and stay in an apartment during the season. There is no age limit or any limit to the amount of “import” (non-Japanese) players a team can have on the roster.

The level of play is comparable to MiLB Low A/High A and independent Frontier League with stadiums that are on the same level as some of the nicer Frontier and minor league stadiums here in the states. Players are well taken care of and really enjoy their time and experience playing baseball in Japan.

The league plays from March (spring training) into mid-October (playoffs and championship series).  Each season consists of 90 regular season games, roughly 70 games against other teams in the league and 20 against outside teams; however, all 90 games count towards the overall record.

Information on Other Baseball Leagues in Japan

In addition to the Shikoku Island League Plus, the Route Inn Baseball Challenge League (BC League) is also in the Japan Independent Baseball League Organization. The BC League has been in existence since 2007 and was created as a spin-off of the Shikoku League after their great success. The BC League has eight teams and is similar to the Shikoku League in player salaries and playing conditions.

Although those are the top two indy leagues in Japan, there is another independent baseball league – the Baseball First League.  This league started in 2014 after taking the place of the Kansai Independent Baseball League which ran from 2008-2013.  However, this league only runs three teams and doesn’t have as much prestige as the teams in the Japan Independent Baseball League Organization.

As indy ball continues to grow in Japan, the leagues have become a way for players to move up to the Nippon Professional Baseball league (NPB).  The NPB is the highest level of professional baseball in Japan with twelve teams split up in two six-team circuits. The playing level of the NPB is often called “AAAA”, meaning that it is better and more competitive than the minor league Triple A level but not as good as the MLB in America.

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25 thoughts on “Japanese Independent Baseball Tryouts Coming to the US”

  1. “MiLB High A/Double A” is overstating it a bit. Their all-stars (i.e. the best players from the entire league) only went 6-10 against the Can-Am League, with a grand total of 0 home runs in those 16 games.

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    1. That is what I had a player, who played here professionally and is currently playing there, tell me. It’s a bit different over there than here, so being unfamiliar with strike zone etc. could factor in.

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      1. The player can tell you whatever he wants, but the numbers don’t bear that out – and I’d say 16 games is a decent sample size (and plenty of time to become familiar with any differences in the strike zone).

        I’ll repeat – these were the Shikoku league’s all-stars, not just a regular team in the league – and both their hitting and pitching were clearly weaker than Can-Am League teams:

        – Shikoku scored 3.1 runs per game – every other Can-Am team was at 3.9 or above.
        – Shikoku had a team ERA of 4.82 – every other Can-Am team was at 4.38 or below.
        (I’m excluding road-only Garden State here, as they played a limited schedule and did not have the same player salary budget as the other clubs).

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      2. Okay. I understand what you’re saying. I’m just saying what I was told. I’m not in Japan watching them, and I didn’t have a chance to see them play the Can-Am teams. Thanks for the insight!

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  2. …I’m reading ..if there was I guy that threw mid 90’s with no experience… he he still tryout….what if he was in his upper 30’s ..he said everyone looks for the guy with experience but his past wasn’t that great …his said he wanted to get a chance if some one thought he deserves it

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  3. Would anybody know when these tryouts will be coming back to California in 2016? I’m a left handed pitcher based out of San Diego,CA that is looking to play pro ball in Japan. I heard this Japanese independent league is a good place to play and for players to keep their skills up.

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    1. It probably won’t be until the end of the season at least. They just started their season in Japan as well, and as far as I know, they only recruit over here once a year. I’ll definitely post once information becomes available!

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      1. Ok thanks. Would you happen to know any independent ball tryouts in that are coming up around may besides the ones posted on this website? The closest once to me is in San Rafael,CA in April.

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      2. Thank you!! Be on the lookout for a feature about the Japanese Indy League… I personally know two guys who got signed from the tryouts and are over there now playing spring training games!

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      3. Cool! What team do they play for in the Japanese Indy league? I’m very familiar with the NPB in Japan. I hear its pretty competitive . Also, would you know what are some things these Japanese scouts are looking for in a left handed pitcher?

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    1. This happened in November. No word on the next one here for this year, but they are in the middle of their season right now. I’m sure it won’t be until after that. Probably October or November again.

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    1. Not sure what kind of updates you are looking for… But in all honesty, once the Americas go over there (the very few who do) they don’t seem to play much and it’s near impossible to get news about them. I’ve even asked multiple times for updates from the person who ran these tryouts and was ignored or told it would get done, but never was.

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      1. I see. I’m just looking for a way I can get my foot in the door when it comes to pro baseball. I feel Japan or the independent leagues would be a good place to start. I wouldn’t mind making a long term career playing pro ball in Japan as well being a Left handed pitcher ( reliever role )

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      2. Super hard to get into Japan to play ball as an import. They have roster rules that limit the amount if foreign players, and Japan is one of the harder countries to get into. Without any pro experience, it’s nearly impossible. I’d look at the other indy leagues here first. If you can’t catch on with a team here, somewhere in Europe would probably be your last chance.

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