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Kosuke Fukudome

Update [2007-3-21 14:9:22 by Eric Hz]: From Kevin Goldstein at BP:

theguag (Louisville): If Kosuke Fukudome came to the ML next year, what kind of success do you think he could have?

Kevin Goldstein: Immediate success as a middle-of-the-order corner otufielder.

Here is a primer on next season's posting fee reform poster boy, Kosuke Fukudome.  He is a 30-year centerfielder with the ratios that please the sabremetric community - .351/.438/.653 in 2006.  I do find it curious that his walks dropped from 93 to 76 last season.  (Sorry, I couldn't help nitpicking.)

Here is a brief professional biography from baseball-reference.com:

He won the Central League MVP award in 2006. He hit .351/.438/.653 and led the league in batting average (28 points ahead of runner-up Seung-Yeop Lee), runs (117), doubles (47), slugging and OBP (36 points ahead of Tyrone Woods). He was second in triples (5), third in total bases (324), walks (76) and tied for third in hits (174), fifth in RBI (104) and sixth in home runs (31).

Jim Callis of Baseball America answered a question about him in his Friday "Ask BA" column.  This is how he characterized Fukudome:

He's the best U.S. prospect among Japanese position players, a more athletic version of Hideki Matsui (a career .304/.413/.582 hitter in Japan) with a little less power.

Devil Ray's 3B Akinori Iwamura will also provide some hints about how Fukudome may translate to MLB.  Iwamura played in the Central League, too, and his sabre-line was .311/.389/.544.  Fukudome's 2006 performance bettered Iwamura's across the board on the ratios.  Iwamura hit 32 HRs which bested Fukudome by one.  Where Fukudome surpassed Iwamura was in the doubles department, 47 vs 27.

I have even less experienced than those who are professionally tasked with scouting Japanese ballplayers, but that should not stop any of us from trying.  There is a link to japanesebaseball.com under "Baseball Reference Sites" in the Links section.  There is no reason you and I can't use Fake Teams as a way to keep track of Fukudome's progress, is there?