Age 27 is often thought of as the time when players peak, but sometimes it's just the opposite.
Eight months ago, I wrote about the saddest age-27 seasons in recent history, the idea being that age-27 is, if not the panacea that turns every player into his best self, at least the last year that we pay attention to post-hype sleepers. Or, as I wrote,“It’s the year when, if you hit .253/.289/.418 in the PCL, smart people will probably quit writing spring training love letters calling you the comeback kid.” That was about Brandon Wood, who ended up hitting .259/.313/.409 in the PCL. I can’t tell you how happy I am that nobody has identified a year of my life when I’m supposed to stop feeling good about myself.
But if baseball's age 27 lasts just one season for each player, it lasts forever for us—we get older, but 27-year-olds stay the same age—and so this year there was a whole new group of age-27s. Here are 10 potential nails in coffins, ranked by dispiritability.
Forecasting Japanese imports provides particular challenges, which teams will try to adjust for this offseason.
In November of 2010, the Twins bid $5 million for the privilege of negotiating with Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka, who had been posted by his NPB team, the Chiba Lotte Marines. The 26-year-old was coming off a season in which he’d hit .346/.423/.482, leading Japan’s Pacific League in batting average, hits, runs, and total bases. Nishioka had won three Japanese Gold Gloves, and the Twins, whose astute scouting had led them to six division titles in the previous 10 seasons, envisioned him as their starting shortstop. After winning the bidding, they spent an additional $9 million to lock up Nishioka for the next three seasons.
Last December, the Brewers submitted a winning bid of $2.5 million—half of what the Twins had bid for Nishioka—to negotiate with Yakult Swallows outfielder Norichika Aoki. It took $2.5 million more to secure his services for the next two seasons. The 29-year-old Aoki had posted a much more modest .292/.358/.360 line with just four home runs in his final Japanese season.
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The Twins struggled in 2011 and there's little help from the farm coming soon
Kiss 'Em Goodbye is a series focusing on MLB teams as their postseason dreams fade—whether in September (or before), the League Division Series, League Championship Series or World Series. It combines a broad overview from Baseball Prospectus, a front-office take from former MLB GM Jim Bowden, a best- and worst-case scenario ZiPS projection for 2012 from Dan Szymborski, and Kevin Goldstein's farm system overview.
Pegging BP's favorites in both leagues, both in the standings and for the major awards.
Today we reveal the Baseball Prospectus staff predictions for the division standings and the major player awards (MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year) in the American and National Leagues. Each staff member's division standings predictions may be found later in the article. Here, we present a wisdom-of-the-crowds summary of the results. In each table you'll find the average rank of each team in their division with first-place votes in parentheses, plus the results of our pre-season MVP, Cy Young, and Rookie of the Year voting.
For the MVP voting, we've slightly amended the traditional points system in place that has been used elsewhere, dropping fourth- and fifth-place votes to make it 10-7-5 for the MVP Award, and the regular 5-3-1 for the Cy Young and Rookie of the Year Awards (that's 5 points for a first-place vote, 3 points for a second-place vote, etc.). Next to each of these selections we've listed the total number of ballots, followed by the total number of points, and then the number of first-place votes in parentheses, if any were received.
The Japanese import is in Minnesota, and Craig details what you should expect from him in 2011.
Tsuyoshi Nishioka enjoyed a career year as a 25-year-old in 2010, leading the Pacific League in runs, base hits and total bases. The switch-hitting shortstop posted career bests across the board with an impressive slash line of .346/.423/.482. The .346 batting average was also tops in the Pacific League and Nishioka paced the Chiba Lotte Marines to the Japan League title.
Are the Twins making the right move by trying to sign Japanese star Tsuyoshi Nishioka to play second base?
The Twins were announced as the highest bidder on infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka last Friday, and now have until the day after Christmas to work out a deal before the 26-year old is returned to Japan. The Twins paid the Chiba Lotte Marines approximately $5.3 million to win exclusive negotiating rights with the reigning batting champ of the Japanese Pacific League. Here are his career stats: