Yankees fans will remember Hiroyuki Nakajima. He’s the Japanese infielder who, last year, was posted by the Seibu Lions and whose negotiation rights were won by the Yankees. The team and player couldn’t come to an agreement, however, so Nakajima returned to the NPB and Seibu. He had a good year too, hitting .311/.382/.451 with 13 home runs, 74 RBI and seven stolen bases.
But now he’s an unrestricted free agent and he’s looking to come to Major League Baseball once again. Patrick Newman reports:
Last year when the Yankees were taking to him, the go-to comp was Tsuyoshi Nishioka. Which isn’t the most inspiring thing in the world. But man, there is no way this guy can be that bad. No one can, right?
For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:
The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).
It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: