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NPB Hitters at the MLB Level

Discussion in the Nichi-Bei forum
NPB Hitters at the MLB Level
So 8 years ago Ichiro went to the United States and set the world on fire. Godzilla followed and has done very well also (when he is injury-free).

Now fast forward to 2008 after a slew of top NPB hitters have defected to the MLB, and Ichiro and Godzilla are still the only 2 hitters who have proven they belong in the MLB. The rest of them - Kaz Matsui, Iguchi, Jojima, Taguchi, and oh yeah, SHINJO from a few years ago - have all been reduced to part-time players who struggle to hit even .250 or 5 home runs.

Actually, the whole reason I made this post is because of Fukudome's struggle. I would say you are lying if anyone honestly expected him to hit .260 and lose his starting job in his first season. I know it's probably too early to write him off, but if even Fukudome cannot handle MLB pitching, who else is left from Japan that could? The easy answer and the only guy I can think and of is Aoki. Could it just be that we may never see another Japanese hitter excel at the Majors again?
Comments
Re: NPB Hitters at the MLB Level
[ Author: Mischa | Posted: Sep 9, 2008 8:14 AM | TYS Fan ]

- Could it just be that we may never see another Japanese hitter excel at the Majors again?

Talk about an overstatement. A couple guys fail to live up to the hype and we'll never see another Japanese hitter succeed?

Iguchi had a 104 OPS+ at age 30 and 97 at 31, pretty good for a second baseman at that age.

Matsui has disappointed in the past due to injury. A 101 OPS+ with very good base running is definitely a positive for a second baseman, especially a 32-year-old.

Johjima topped a 100 OPS+ his first two seasons before imploding. Again, he did this at a defensive-oriented position where an OPS+ over 100 indicates good value.

All of these guys have been above-average performers at least for part of their MLB careers. So they haven't been Ichiro-level stars - they weren't Ichiro-level stars in Japan.
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