Former major leaguers in Japan – Hitters

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I’ll go over the pitchers tomorrow, but for now, here’s a look at how
former major and minor leaguers are currently performing in Japan.

Tuffy Rhodes – .327/.413/.655, 11 HR in 110 AB

Rhodes earlier this year became the 12th player in history and first
American to hit 450 homers in Japan. He’d be leading the Pacific League
in slugging if he had enough at-bats to qualify.

Dan Johnson – .197/.302/.415, 9 HR in 169 AB
Kevin Mench – .148/.179/.204, 0 HR in 54 AB

The two highest-profile players to cross the Pacific this winter have
both been big-time disappointments, even if Johnson is doing everything
except hitting for average. Mench has found himself banished to the
minors, where he’s hit .362/.434/.553 in 47 at-bats.

Tony Blanco – .288/.341/.575, 19 HR in 233 AB

Blanco leads the Central League in homers in his first year in
Japan. His only major league action came with the Nationals in 2005,
but he’s still just 27 years old and he appears to be well set up for a
nice run as one of Japan’s top power hitters. I don’t think he was ever
going to make it in the U.S.

Gary Burnham Jr. – .247/.333/.398, 1 HR in 81 AB
Chase Lambin – .221/.256/.430, 4 HR in 86 AB

The Chiba Lotte Marines went obscure with a couple of their newest
imports, and it hasn’t really worked out so far. Burnham spent seven of
his 11 minor league seasons in the Philly farm system before playing in
Taiwan last year. Lambin, 29, hit .300/.378/.518 with the Marlins’
Triple-A club last season.

Jose Ortiz – .301/.340/.615, 9 HR in 156 AB

Ortiz, a one-time top prospect for the A’s, attempted a major league
comeback this year, only to return to Japan after failing to make the
Rockies during spring training. I’ve always thought he could hit in the
majors, but that he’s no longer much of an option at second could
prevent him from getting another shot.

Jason Botts – .143/.250/.571, 1 HR in 7 AB

I’m assuming that there have been some injury issues here. The former Ranger has hit .300/.375/.700 in 50 minor league at-bats.

Tadahito Iguchi – .330/.439/.554, 10 HR in 197 AB

Iguchi opted to return home when it didn’t look like he’d be offered
a starting job in the U.S. Obviously, he had some baseball left in him
after all. He’s performing even better now than he did in his final
year before leaving for MLB (.333/.394/.549 in 2004).

Others

Benny Agbayani – .285/.388/.431, 3 HR in 130 AB
Chris Aguila – .095/.208/.095, 0 HR in 42 AB
Hiram Bocachica – .243/.371/.564, 12 HR in 170 AB
Alex Cabrera – .250/.290/.453, 4 HR in 69 AB
Jamie D’Antona – .237/.284/.432, 8 HR in 169 AB
Jose Fernandez – .234/.308/.389, 6 HR in 175 AB
Aaron Guiel – .301/.374/.566, 9 HR in 166 AB
Luis Jimenez – .231/.268/.397, 5 HR in 127 AB
Greg LaRocca – .303/.374/.524, 9 HR in 185 AB
Scott McClain – .235/.322/.382, 3 HR in 102 AB
Alex Ramirez – .299/.324/.488, 10 HR in 244 AB
Scott Seabol – .216/.281/.352, 4 HR in 125 AB
Fernando Seguignol – .165/.248/.320, 4 HR in 97 AB
Rick Short – .230/.279/.294, 1 HR in 126 AB
Terrmel Sledge – .259/.356/.532, 9 HR in 139 AB

Watch: Mike Trout ties MLB record with his 25th home run

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It was only a matter of time before Mike Trout courted another all-time record, and on Saturday, he found himself in elite company with his 25th and 26th home runs of the season. He put the Angels on the board with a 429-foot blast in the first inning, depositing an 0-1 fastball from the Orioles’ Kevin Gausman into the left field bleachers:

In the third inning, with the Angels up 2-1, Trout returned to tack on another insurance run. He targeted Gausman’s slider for his second solo shot of the evening and cleared the center field fence with a 418-footer to bring his total to 26 home runs on the year.

Trout has mashed at a staggering .339/.471/.596 clip since his return from the disabled list last month, and Saturday’s totals helped mark his sixth consecutive season with at least 25 home runs. That’s a record few have matched before their age-26 season; in fact, only Hall of Fame sluggers Eddie Mathews and Frank Robinson have ever pulled it off.

Assuming he continues to rake in hits and plate appearances over the last six weeks of the regular season — and there’s nothing to indicate that he won’t — Trout is in line to join elite company of a different kind. The 26-year-old entered Saturday’s game with a 206 OPS+ (park-adjusted on-base plus slugging). According to MLB.com’s Matt Kelly, that means Trout’s hitting at a better clip than the average Major League player by a full 106 percent. Should he finish the year with a 200 OPS+ and 502 plate appearances or better, he’ll be the first player to do so since Barry Bonds obliterated the competition with his 263 OPS+ in 2004.

Blue Jays acquire Tom Koehler from Marlins

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The Blue Jays acquired right-hander Tom Koehler from the Marlins in exchange for minor league right-hander Osman Gutierrez and cash considerations, the clubs announced Saturday. Koehler is in his sixth year with the Marlins and stands to make $5.75 million in 2017. He’ll be arbitration eligible in 2018 and is set to enter free agency by 2019.

The 31-year-old right-hander struggled to a 7.92 ERA, 4.7 BB/9 and 7.1 SO/9 over 55 2/3 innings with Miami in 2017. He was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans in late July, where he rebounded with a 1-1 record in seven starts and whittled his ERA down to a 1.67 mark. The Blue Jays have yet to establish Koehler’s role within their organization, but are hoping to see a turnaround from the righty when he breaks back into the big leagues.

Gutierrez, 22, was assigned to Single-A Greensboro on Saturday. He has yet to find his footing in the minors, and exited a 78-inning stint with Single-A Lansing after racking up a career-worst 7.85 ERA and 8.2 SO/9. His lack of control is particularly alarming, with a 6.2 BB/9 that dwarfs the 2.0+ BB/9 of seasons past, but he still has plenty of time to figure out his mechanics before reaching the Show.