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Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima will be posted

Nov 16, 2011, 3:50 PM EDT

Hikoyuki Nakakima

MLB teams in need of a shortstop but without the resources to go after Jose Reyes or Jimmy Rollins will have another intriguing option, as Ken Rosenthal of reports that Hiroyuki Nakajima will be posted by his team in Japan.

Nakajima has long been a star in Japan, but the history of Japanese hitters–and infielders, in particular–coming to MLB is a mixed bag.

Last offseason the Twins paid $15 million for Tsuyoshi Nishioka, a 26-year-old Gold Glove-winning shortstop who’d just won a batting title in Japan, and he was a massive flop. Nishioka’s lack of power was one of his biggest issues and Nakajima is a much different type of hitter, averaging 20 homers during the past four seasons while hitting above .300 for his career.

However, he’s coming off a mediocre year in which he slugged just .433, so the 29-year-old seems unlikely to create a significant bidding war. Via the posting process MLB teams submit bids for exclusive negotiating rights and then must work out a separate contract with the player, getting a refund on the bid if they can’t agree to a deal.

  1. Glenn - Nov 16, 2011 at 5:51 PM

    An available free-agent Japanese shortstop? There has to be a Theo Epstein joke in there somewhere.

  2. jackkoho - Nov 16, 2011 at 6:47 PM

    I’d like to see a pitch f/x analysis of japanese vs. american pitching that explains why japanese hitters that do so well there end up sucking when they come here.

    The pitching style must be drastically different.

    • paperlions - Nov 16, 2011 at 7:28 PM

      In japan, the 2-seamer is not the commonly thrown fastball, so when japanese players come over, they have to adjust to much improved competition (I can’t remember exactly, but I think the comp for Japanese leagues is about AA), as well as different pitch types.

  3. randomdigits - Nov 16, 2011 at 7:19 PM

    There are questions as to if he can play SS in MLB, he is evidently better suited to second base.

    His “mediocre” offensive numbers are due to the change in ball. He finished sixth in the league in slugging.

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