Sunday, October 30, 2011

Japanese Moneyball?

The Athletics have reportedly shown interest in Norichika Aoki, playing for Yakult in Japan. In 2011, Aoki had a .358 OBP, .718 OPS, .9 PPG, 2.8 PAPP. This all adds up to a 1.34 simple WAR. In his 4 seasons before 2011, he had a .421 OBP, 1.44 PPG, 2.23 PAPP, and .918 OPS. So there are two different sets of statistics. Which is more accurate? Certainly the 4 year career is a bigger sample, but what does BABIP say? One would think his 2011 BABIP would be low, but it was still .316. His career BABIP was .358, so while both are high (probably because he is hitting the ball hard for that level of play), his 2011 certainly was lower. Especially with the bigger sample, it seems more likely that the pre-2011 career numbers are the most accurate. According to the metric laid out on the difference between hitting in Japan and hitting in the Majors, Aoki would have a .388 OBP, .95 PPG, 2.97 PAPP, and a simple WAR of roughly 3.64. That would be worth nearly 11 million dollars. However, his 2011 numbers run through the metric would be very poor, and there is that danger. The good thing is that because of that relatively poor 2011 season, he will probably be undervalued. I would not pay 11 million for him, but he has shown an ability to get on base that is very valuable, and 5 or so million makes perfect sense, and could be a steal.

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