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SoftBank 2010 Batting Grades

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SoftBank 2010 Batting Grades

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Some of you might ask after reading this article, "why alternate between OBP and OPS?" My answer is: players I felt were power hitters were judged by their OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage), which is a great indicator of how good a power hitter is.

Anyway, to the grades!

Munenori Kawasaki (144G, 602AB, .316, .368OBP, 4HR, 53RBI, 30SB): A
First time ever playing in all 144 games. Easily the team's biggest spark at the top of the lineup, it's where he belongs. 190 hits were tops on the team, and when was a terror on the bases when teamed with Honda. Domestic free agency reached, team MUST keep him as there is no replacement ready at short.

Yuichi Honda (144G, 564AB, .296, .334OBP, 3HR, 39RBI, 59SB): A
Speed easily greatest asset. Also played in 144 games for the first time in his career. Destroyed left-handed pitching (.325) and when he did get on base, he was impossible to stop (was not caught stealing this season). Also had highest batting average of career. Good defense, improved once again from the previous year.

Hiroki Kokubo (112G, 427AB, .279, 15HR, 68RBI, .772OPS): C
Another year older, another year where Kokubo's home run production decreased. Getting too old to fit into the team's future plans. Still captain though, and a great leader. Main contributions are in the clubhouse.

Jose Ortiz (117G, 415AB, .270, 24HR, 81RBI, .818OPS): B-
Got hurt again this season, and was invisible in September and October. Did offer protection for Kokubo and Tamura in the lineup and got clutch hits early in the season. No news is good news defensively, hidden out in left field most of the season.

Hitoshi Tamura (140G, 513AB, .324, 27HR, 89RBI, .924OPS): A
Career season from the Hawks' right fielder. Didn't get hurt, finally fulfilled the promise he offered when the Hawks traded for him. Led the team in home runs, batting average and OPS, set career highs in games played and batting average. Might be a contract-year player.

Yuya Hasegawa (134G, 443AB, .255, 3HR, 32RBI, .346OBP): C
Fell back to earth after breakout 2009. Might not be perennial .300 hitter, but turning into a good on-base guy, and is solid in the field. Hit lefties better than righties (.271 vs. .248). Stole more bases this year (14), contributing to speedy attack. Best used in seventh to ninth position in the lineup.

Nobuhiro Matsuda (112G, 424AB, .255, 19HR, 71RBI, 17SB, .735OPS)
Bitten by injury bug again this year, but not as badly. Still a streaky hitter, but has five-tool potential. Good glove at third. If five-tool potential is realized, he could be come one of – if not the best – players in Japan. Needs to take more walks, still strikes out too often.

Katsuki Yamazaki (77G, 205AB, .210, 2HR, 18RBI, .256OBP): D
Missed a lot of time with injury, only capable defensive catcher on the roster. Got clutch hits on occasion. Second-highest RBI total of career, career high in home runs. Still known for his glove, will have reduced role with Hosokawa's signing.

Hidenori Tanoue (84G, 232AB, .203, 7HR, 25RBI, .238OBP): F
Huge drop-off from career 2009. Missed time with not only injury, but was also completely inept on all fronts. Couldn't throw runners out, call a game, or bat. Easily an Achilles' heel when he was in playing. Looked like he quit in many at-bats. Reduced – if not eliminated – role due to Hosokawa signing.

Nobuhiko Matsunaka (79G, 238AB, .235, 11HR, 35RBI, .714OPS): C
Missed most of the season with balky knees. Doesn't have much left in the tank, but still has trademark power. Can get on base and draws a lot of walks, but will clog up base paths. In a contract year in 2011, will likely be motivated to go out with a bang. Best suited to DH, but can be hidden in left field.

Roberto Petagine (81G, 264AB, .261, 10HR, 41RBI, .773OPS): C+
Late addition didn't do too much, but added more protection in lineup for Tamura and Ortiz. Bat noticeably slowed in recent years due to age. Likely will retire.

Hiroshi Shibahara (69G, 134AB, .216, 4HR, 20RBI, .261 OBP): C-
Might not have too much left due to bad back. Can still hit and run, but cannot be consistently counted on to do so. Reduced to fifth or even sixth outfielder behind Kidokoro and Egawa.

Lee Bum-ho (48G, 124AB, .226, 4HR, 8RBI, .649OPS): F
Korean import was an utter disaster. Looked lost at the plate at times. Matsuda is easily the better option, should be allowed to go back to Korea.

Role-Players
Ryuma Kidokoro (95G, 35AB, .200AVG, 4RBI, 12SB)
Primarily used as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement in the outfield. May not morph into everyday player, but could be a Mitsuru Honma-type player off the bench with elite speed.

Tomoaki Egawa (20G, 44AB .250AVG, .261OBP, 8RBI)
Filled in admirably late in the season. Could get more at-bats and work off the bench, especially if he can get lots of extra-base hits and RBI's like he did in his 44 AB's this season.

Kenji Akashi (39G, 47AB, .128, 2SB)
Still error-prone defensively and mostly a pinch-runner, but can play almost anywhere.

Satoru Morimoto (71G, 105AB .229, .293OBP, HR, 12RBI, 2SB)
Third baseman still has trouble with the bat, but is your best option off the bench if Matsuda gets hurt like he has the last two seasons. Serviceable defensively.

Shuhei Fukuda (44G, 23AB, .261, .320OBP, 3RBI, 3SB)
Doesn't have a defined role (listed as DH) but does have speed and is only 22. Fairly good bat, but development still needed. Where will he play if his development does go well?

Incomplete
Lee Tu-hsuan, Tadaatsu Nakazawa, Hiroaki Takaya, Masaumi Shimizu, Soichiro Tateoka, Hayato Dohue
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