Mike Plugh is a Japanese baseball guru, and he’s writing quite a bit these days. I first caught on to his reading with the Matsuzaka Watch. He also has a Yankees blog called Canyon of Heroes, and has been featured at Baseball Prospectus regularly.
Following my April 29th post on Japanese right fielder Kosuke Fukudome, I asked Mike whether he thought Fukudome could play third base or center field capably. Not only did Mike answer that question, but he gave some interesting background on Fukudome in general. His thoughts are below.
On which positions Fukudome could play:
Fukudome would be an excellent Red Sox outfielder, and he’d hit a million doubles in that park. His days as an infielder are finished, but I think he could play any of the outfield positions. He’s best in right though. Center would be an option, but not the most attractive one from a defensive standpoint.
What we can expect offensively:
He is an on base machine with power to the gaps. He won’t be a home run slugger, but he’ll be standing on first or second base after about 40% of his plate appearances.
On Fukudome’s personality and attitude:
He’s a competitor too. Kind of a throwback guy. No dyed hair, jewelry, image enhancements. Buzz cut, square jaw, intense eyes. Not that those things make you a good or bad player, but fans will be turned on by his serious approach.
On possible interested teams:
I think it’s premature to say who is or who isn’t interested in Fukudome. I happened to know that several MLB clubs are going to make a serious run at him. I can’t say who those teams are for confidentiality reasons, but it will be a multi-team battle for his services. He should command in the $12-15 million range over 3 or 4 years. It will be a very good buy for whichever team he chooses. The Red Sox would benefit from the additional TV coverage they’d receive, but a lot of clubs would like to break into the Japanese market and have scouts over here on a permanent basis.