Posted by Brady
The Minnesota Twins recently won the bid for switch hitting middle infielder, Tsuyoshi Nishioka. And for many Twins fans, this is a welcome, albeit, unusual surprise. But there it is. All they have to do is sign him, which, should be fairly affordable, seeing as how the the high bid for him was right around 5 million dollars. Now what does this mean for Twins fans?
It means a variety of things. It means that the team has more money than initially thought, it means that the team is likely to keep JJ
Hardy, and it means that Orlando Hudson will not be coming back. The Twins are about to have the best defensive infield in baseball, if Nishioka’s glove is all it’s made out to be. And it is made out to be excellent. It also means that for fans that are clamoring for someone to replace Denard Span in the lead off spot may get what they want.
If Yoshi (which is what Twins fans have already decided to call him) has a downside, it is his injury history. He’s battled injuries to his neck, wrist, knee, and hamstring. While those injuries are not necessarily Carl Pavano circa 2005-2008esque, they are concerning for a team that has a catcher with his own injury troubles. But looking at the back of Nishioka’s baseball card, the injuries seem to be more annoying than dangerous. Over the last 6 seasons, Nishioka has played in a career low 115 games, which is 30 games missed. But just this last season, he played in 144 games, which is the whole NPB season. He did not miss an inning all season long. If last season is anything to look at, he seems to have gotten past the injuries and seems ready to play.
But what about Yoshi Nishioka as a player? Well, he is a lead off hitter, and he appears to be a very good one. He’s a career .293 hitter, who just won his first batting title with an average of .346. He posses the same swing as his countryman, Gold Medalist, and two time
teammate, Ichiro Suzuki. He also led his league with 206 hits, and 287 total bases. He’ll also steal bases. He has two stolen base crowns. 41 and 33 in 2005 and 2006, respectively. In 2010, he stole a 22. He got on base at a clip of .423, which would’ve been second in MLB, right behind NL MVP, Joey Votto.
It seems that the main concern with Nishioka, apart from the injuries is the potential and likely drop off. Which what they said about Ichiro Suzuki. And while I’m not saying that Nishioka is the next Ichiro, I think that Yoshi Nishioka could very easily be the next best thing.