Can Nishi be a Major League Baseball player?
by, 08-07-2012 at 08:13 AM (718 Views)
Originally posted at The Terrific (Minnesota) Twins Blog
The question of whether or not Tsuyoshi Nishioka can be a Major League Baseball player is an interesting debate, with many people being on one side of the spectrum. The obvious answer is yes, because he is right now. Sorry, but someone had to make the smart remark to the question so I am just beating them to it. To answer the real question lets take a look at some numbers to support each side of the question, and add in some opinions to come up with a solid answer.
The Argument for the answer NO
This is the easy argument, and if you want to see why go look at any message board about Tsuyoshi Nishioka. In his one year in the Major Leagues he had a triple slash of .226/.278/.249, which Joe Mauer maybe able to produced if you made him hit right-handed. On defense he looked lost at shortstop and second base, frequently having bad foot work, and when he did field the ball, not always knowing what to do with it. In the minors this year he still only produced a triple slash of .245/.309/.301, so although better than what he did in the Majors the year before it is still nothing to brag about. Also he still had nine errors in only 84 games.
The Argument for the Answer YES
One big reason for the answer of yes, even though it is an extremely bad and unfair reason, is the money the Twins have invested into Tsuyoshi Nishioka. Another reason to believe in him is because in his final year in Japan before coming over he had a triple slash of .346/.423/.482, and if you took 50 points off of each of those he would still be a serviceable Major League player. Also a reason for hope Tsuyoshi Nishioka has turned the corner is his Triple A hitting coach Tom Brunansky has made adjustments to his swing which have seemed to help, as his numbers have steadily in the minors after a horrendous start. Finally a reason to believe in Tsuyoshi Nishioka is the confidence his Triple A manager showed in him, and the Minnesota Twins have showed in him by calling him back up.
The Final Decision
After debating both sides of answering the question "Can Nishi be a Major League Baseball player" the answer should be yes, as a bench/role player, but with his lack of ability to show improvement in defense it is hard to keep a singles hitting, weak fielding middle infielder as a bench player. Tsuyoshi Nishioka will have to make vast improvements to both his hitting and fielding to be a Major League player, because right now he does not have a strength which can be used by a big league club. He will be a Major League player for probably most of the rest of this season since the Twins are not going to make the play-offs and they need to see if they can use him at all next, but the answer to the question should be NO.
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