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4/26/1977 (39 y, 11 m)
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Fukudome (back) started a rehab assignment Monday with Triple-A Charlotte and went 1-for-2, the White Sox's official site reports. (6/18/2012)
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(Click Year to Expand /
Year in Review:
Fukudome’s opening day star quickly faded in 2008 as he posted mostly league-average offense and solid defense for the Cubs in a corner outfield position. Last season, he played more center and flashed a better bat in more playing time. All told, last year’s version was more valuable in part because of the positional change. Fukudome’s impressive 14.8% career walk rate makes his offensive output more impressive than many power-seduced fans would know. The fact the this fan base is used to great power hitters with questionable walk ethics, like Sammy Sosa and Alfonso Soriano, only hurts Fukudome. The sentiment seems to resemble a sports radio rant on one mid-summer day in which the host agrees with a caller that Fukudome isn’t being paid to walk, but to pop some homers.
The Year Ahead:
Fukudome isn’t a huge home-run hitter in America: that much is evident through his first 1,000 at bats in the Majors. He’s hit 21 – not in a season, but total. Expecting anything more than a dozen or so is probably going to lead to disappointment. He’ll turn 33 years old early in 2010 and should continue to draw walks as his main offensive ability. If one’s league gives credit for a strong walk rate, then feel free to take Fukudome; otherwise, he adds little offensive value to the equation. (R.J. Anderson)
Fukudome got off to his customary hot start in 2010, hitting .344/.443/.641 through April. True to his form of the last three seasons, however, his performance tailed off quickly as the season progressed, and he found himself frequently on the bench in June and July. An August resurgence lead to Fuku posting modest career highs in home runs, batting average and slugging percentage, while maintaining a strong 14.9% walk rate, and reducing his K rate to a career-best 18.7%. The rub is that he did it in a career-low 429 plate appearances. What tends to get lost in the shuffle is that Fukudome is actually a solid player who gets on base, has some gap power, and plays good outfield defense. For 2011 there is little reason to expect anything other than Fukudome getting off to another fast start, then settling into a groove resulting in an OBP-driven .800-ish OPS. (Patrick Newman)
The Quick Opinion:
Fast starts, long summers have been the book on Fukudome's tenure on the North Side
Never a dynamic offensive performer, Fukudome lost the only plus tool on his utility belt -- plate discipline -- as his walk-to-strikeout ratio went from a career-best 0.96 in 2010 to a career-worst 0.55 last season. Much of this was thanks to his trade to Cleveland, as he found American League pitching to be a lot less accommodating than National League pitching. Even though he posts league average batting averages on balls in play or better, Fukudome doesn’t generate good batting averages, and he comes up lacking in the power and speed departments as well. He will be 35 this year, and while he may fall into a full-time role in free agency, you certainly shouldn’t be giving the Japanese product -- who has only posted a .350 wOBA once in four Major League seasons -- a full-time role on your fantasy team. (Paul Swydan)
The Quick Opinion:
Fukudome had a down contract season, and going forward he is more suited to a bench role in both actual and fantasy baseball.
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Updated: Sunday, March 26, 2017 3:36 AM ET
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