Tuesday, October 11, 2011
The Japanese OBP Machine: Yoshio Itoi
Out of hitters that qualify, the only hitter in Japanball to have an OBP of at least .400 is Yoshio Itoi, an outfielder of the Nippon Hamfighters. In 2011, he has an .411 OBP, .444 Slugging (.855 OPS), 1.23 PPG, and 2.3 PAPP. According to the Japanese hitting metric we calculated, he would have a .378 OBP and unimpressive .74 PPG. However, with a .378 OBP he would have been tied with Casey Kotchman for 18th best in the American League. So for those who believe that OBP is the essential statistic for an offense, Itoi would be one of the more coveted players in baseball. He was also a plus .400 OBP guy in 2010, and has a career OBP of .375 and OPS of 854 (those two stats do not include the 2011 season). His Slugging was at its best in 09, but has dipped in the past 2 years. He seems to have sacrificed Slugging for OBP. If Paul Depodesta (of Moneyball fame) is right, then this is a good trade-off, since OBP is worth 4 times as much as Slugging. You may have never heard of the name Itoi before, but no one in Japan gets on base more than he does, and the key to scoring is getting on-base. The Japan to America jump can sometimes be complicated for many reasons, and one wonders what kind of contract he would command. With that said, this is a guy that I think many teams would love to have as a 2nd place guy in the lineup, if he is even on anyone's radar.