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Hiroki Kokubo

Discussion in the Rumor Mill forum
Hiroki Kokubo
It certainly it looks like he had a great comeback. I've read post here where he was a likley MLB jumper until his injury derailed his move to N. America. Has he or any MLB team given any indication that Kokubo may attempt to play in MLB?

Second baseman Nishi had a great year. Several years ago he had a great exihibition series versus the big leaguers, but this time he didn't make much noise. Nonetheless, he has hired Scott Boras as his agent to take a serious crack at MLB, despite the FA middle infield glut.

Your thoughts?
Comments
Re: Hiroki Kokubo
[ Author: Guest: jballfan | Posted: Nov 15, 2004 2:29 PM ]

Kokubo's definitely a great player, but he's not going anywhere this year, nor after next year. His performance will probably be in the downhill stage of his career. If he does decide to go the Majors after next season, look for Swallows' third baseman Iwamura to be the one who gets all the attention.

With a breakout season this year, Iwamura proved that he can hit MLB pitching by hitting over .400 in the Nichi-Bei series. And, unlike the regular season, he also proved that he can run if he wants to, swiping 7 bases over 8 games in the series. He strikes out a lot, but hit around .300 this year, and also draws a lot of walks. The strikeouts come from being a young player who's still overly aggressive at the plate, and the walks come from pitchers wanting to pitch to anyone other than him in the Swallows' lineup.

Even with the "FA middle infield glut," I think Nishi will be an asset on any MLB team. He has above average speed, plays Gold Glove defense, and can pull the ball into the left field stands. I think his price tag would be around $5 million for 3 years, plus a signing bonus. At that price, he would be a bargain just for his defense. Any offense he brings in will be a plus. In my opinion, he should go to a team where there is already a Japanese player. It will make it a lot easier for him to adjust to the majors as well as life in the States. Not being a star player, he won't have the luxury to start every day if he gets off to a slow start. A slow start would mean he'd be on the bench or possibly in the minors.

I'm no Yankee fan, but I say that's the place he'd fit best in. Miguel Cairo probably figures to make between $1 million and $2 million in arbitration. Nishi would come at about the same price, provide superior defense, and provide offense possibly at the same level (i.e. an OPS of about .750).
Re: Hiroki Kokubo
[ Author: Guest | Posted: Nov 19, 2004 4:49 AM ]

- Nishi would come at about the same price, provide superior defense, and provide offense possibly at the same level (i.e. an OPS of about .750).

Don't you think that a .750 OPS for Nishi in MLB is being a little bit generous? Especially since his lifetime NPB OPS is .737? I would say a sub .700 OPS is more likely given the lower OPS's Hideki, Kazuo, and Ichiro have posted compared to their NPB careers. If Nishi plays in MLB next year, he will probably hit close to what he did in NPB during 2002 and 2003.
Re: Hiroki Kokubo
[ Author: Guest: Jim Albright | Posted: Nov 21, 2004 9:42 PM ]

If you're interested in what I see as Nishi's major league equivalent for the past five years, see this [Baseball Guru].

I did a major league equivalent of Kokubo through 2002 here. Since Kokubo missed 2003, all that's missing is a major league equivalent of his 2004 season.

Jim Albright
NPB - MLB Conversions
[ Author: Guest: jballfan | Posted: Nov 24, 2004 6:08 AM ]

While I appreciate all the
Re: NPB - MLB Conversions
[ Author: Guest | Posted: Nov 30, 2004 12:25 AM ]

- Ichiro has changed th
Re: NPB - MLB Conversions
[ Author: 1908 | Posted: Dec 1, 2004 2:14 AM | HT Fan ]

- I'm assuming the data conversions were based on the stats of Ichiro, H. Matsui, K. Matsui, Shinjo, and maybe even Taguchi. 5 players is way too little data for an accurate analysis of how well players might fare, especially because all 5 players have completely different playing styles.

Perhaps you should read all of Jim's articles on the data conversions rather than assuming that? There have been a number of players [non-Japanese] who have moved from MLB to NPB, and they are included in the sample.
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