FanGraphs Baseball

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  1. I don’t see a reason to believe in any Japanese position players transitioning well to the majors. Ichiro and Matsui’s great success were huge exceptions, far from the norm. From there it’s a steep drop-off to guys like Fukudome, and then another to the rest.

    The Mariners had Munenori Kawasaki last season in a utility role. In the NPB Kawasaki was a multi-time all star, multi-time award winner, .300 hitter, major piece of WBC teams, etc. On the M’s he was a pinch runner and (highly entertaining) mascot with average defense but who couldn’t get a ball out of the infield with a bucket and a police escort.

    The pitching, I agree is a very different topic, and I can see how some of the pitchers you’ve highlighted here could contribute well in the majors.

    Comment by Guest — November 1, 2012 @ 12:35 pm

  2. A sing-and-trade sounds awesome. Who will buy?

    Comment by Aaron (UK) — November 1, 2012 @ 1:10 pm

  3. Who ever is willing to pay the tune.

    Comment by joser — November 1, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

  4. Have you seen Norchika Aoki play?

    Comment by Doug B — November 1, 2012 @ 4:03 pm

  5. oops. Norichika. I slighted him an i.

    Seriously… the guy can run, play adequate defense, get on base, make contact, and rap a few doubles. What’s not to like? He’s better than Fukudome. Other than a good eye at the plate I never saw much that Fukudome could do.

    Comment by Doug B — November 1, 2012 @ 4:10 pm

  6. Agreed with Doug.

    Japan certainly produces different kinds of hitters, and few of them are MLB sluggers. That being said, there have been many productive Japanese hitters (not to mention defenders) aside those mentioned (Suzuki, Matsui, and Aoki).

    For instance Akinori Iwamura, Kaz Matsui, Tadahito Iguchi, and Kenji Johjima all came to the MLB after their prime and still put up above-average numbers for their positions.

    Comment by Bradley Woodrum — November 1, 2012 @ 4:38 pm

  7. It’s a shame it didn’t work out. Something to do with the Yankees brass unable to agree on a playlist.

    Comment by Bradley Woodrum — November 1, 2012 @ 4:39 pm

  8. According to Wikipedia, there have been 13 position players from Japan. Getting Ichiro and H Matsui out of that SSS is impressive. Most of the other guys are 2-3 wRC+ guys, again not too shabby considering these are guys likely on the downside of their careers anyway trying to transition to a better league on the fly.

    Comment by Coop! — November 1, 2012 @ 5:17 pm

  9. Fukudome wasn’t all that bad. His career OPS of about .760 would have put him in the top 10 of qualified RFers. He also was hovering around .800 for half of his ML career with average defense in RF. That’s about Choo production and a little less than Torri Hunter, who just signed a nice contract in Detroit.

    Comment by Brandon — December 8, 2012 @ 4:29 pm

  10. More google translate fun for the Hiroyuji Nakajima link in the article (from the youtube video uploader’s comments):

    It is a home run to right-center field of the Seibu Nakajima jumped out to 7 times table. Many times also great look! Last because had been put super slow, please refer to the children who are doing baseball.

    Comment by dannyrainge — June 21, 2013 @ 1:02 am

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