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In the field he seems to make the play he gets to, but has lost some range, and the consensus is that he’s probably not a full-time MLB shortstop.
If that's the case, Nakajima might be the best second baseman on the free agent market.
Because the track record for Japanese 2B making the transition is SO GOOD.
he hopped in his Ferrari and headed back to the Lions for another year, and put up a healthy .311/.382/.451 slash line. His batting average might have led the Pacific League had Lotte not gutlessly pitched around him on the last day of the season, but instead he ended up one point behind Katsuya Kakunaka. His OBP ranked second in the Pacific League, and his slugging pct was fourth, and well ahead of the next middle infielder.
Nakaji and Bombers failed to agree to a contract, so he hopped in his Ferrari and headed back to the Lions for another year
I think Jeff Keppinger is both the second-best 2B on the market and the second-best 3B on the market. If this was the NBA he'd get a four-year $60 million contract.
Well, there are a couple notable successes among less heralded NPB signings - both Tadahito Iguchi and Akinori Iwamura were minor NPB stars who performed up to expectations (in Iguchi's case above expectations) in the majors. Obviously Kazuo Matsui was a failure of transition - though he turned out to be a minor contributor, he was massively overpaid - but who else is there? Tsuyoshi Nishioka was awful, so he goes on the list. Maybe there should be a "broken leg" asterisk, but he was awful before he got injured, too.
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