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Fielding Bible Awards

John Dewan, owner of Baseball Info Solutions and co-publisher of ACTA Sports, offers his weekly Stat of the Week.

To have the Stat of the Week e-mailed to your inbox for free each week, send an e-mail message to info@actasports.com and type "opt in" in the first line of text.

How will Kosuke Fukudome do in the USA?

December 14, 2007

Now, how do you say his name? His last name is pronounced foo-koo-DOH-may. How about his first name? Kosuke. I think it is pronounced kos-K, like dice-K (Daisuke Matsuzaka). Or is it KOH-soo-key? (The Bill James Handbook 2008 says KOH-soo-kay.) I'm going with kos-K until I hear otherwise.

Here is an interesting thing: Two seasons ago, at age 29, Fukudome had his best year in Japanese baseball. Two seasons before second baseman Tadahito Iguchi came to the U.S., Iguchi had his best year at age 29. Let’s compare those years:

Iguchi: .340 Avg, .438 OBP, 27 HR — not too shabby
Fukudome: .351 Avg, .438 OBP, 31 HR — remarkably similar

If you can go by this (and other career similarities between Iguchi and Fukudome), Fukudome is going to be a nice player. Iguchi was/is a nice player. But not a tremendously nice player. You know what I mean? Is Fukudome worth $12 million dollars per year as a left-handed hitting outfielder, given his similarities to Iguchi—a right-handed hitting second baseman who just signed a one-year, $1 million contract with the Padres?

Based on a limited sample size of about a half-dozen players, they will be very similar. Fukudome might have a little better on-base percentage than Tadahito's .347 U.S figure. Maybe even .360 or .370. But his home run rate in Japan was about the same as Iguchi's in Japan. I think you can expect him to be a 15-20 homer guy like Iguchi. The Cubs need an on-base guy who can bat at the top of the order. That's what Kosuke is, a number two-hitter like Iguchi.

Every player that has come over from Japan has seen his home run rate drop, usually in half or more. Hideki Matsui dropped in half. Kenji Johjima dropped in half. Ichiro Suzuki more than half. Kaz Matsui even worse. Here is a chart that compares the home run rates in each player's last three years in Japan with their MLB home run rate:

Ichiro Suzuki
Japan: 1 every 29 at-bats
USA: 1 every 71

Kenji Johjima
Japan: 1 every 15
USA: 1 every 31

Hidkei Matsui
Japan: 1 every 11
USA: 1 every 25

Kaz Matsui
Japan: 1 every 19
USA: 1 every 79

Tadahito Iguchi
Japan: 1 every 21
USA: 1 every 36

Kosuke Fukudome
Japan: 1 every 18

For a complete listing of Fukudome's career statistics in Japan, check out The Bill James Handbook 2008. Every year we put a potential foreign import or two in the book who we think will come to the U.S. and this year we included Fukudome.


Copyright © 2007 by John Dewan.
Permission to reprint or broadcast this information is granted only if used in conjunction with the following citation: "Used with permission from John Dewan's Stat of the Week™, www.statoftheweek.com."



Archived Stats

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