Shintaro Fujinami (29, Oakland), who signed a one-year, $3.25 million (about 4.3 billion won) contract with Oakland ahead of this season, is pitching in a way that, in many ways, is not enough to survive in the major leagues. His fastball is literally fast. The label of “perennial Otani rival” has become a local mockery.
Fujinami’s average fastball velocity this season is 97.2 miles per hour (156.4 kilometres per hour). It’s one of the highest in the major leagues. His strikeout rate is not bad either, at 20.3 per cent.
However, he can’t control his pitches. His walk rate is a whopping 15.2 per cent, and he has a high fastball velocity. This season, a whopping 50 per cent of Fujinami’s pitches have been hard hits (balls over 152.9 km/h). That’s not a good number.메이저사이트
In fact, Fujinami is 2-6 with a 12.19 ERA in 18 games (five starts) this season, throwing 31 innings. In fact, if a small-market team like Oakland didn’t pay him $3.25 million, he would have been sent to the minors immediately. A pitcher who walks seven batters per nine innings is hardly major league quality.
He was part of the team’s starting rotation at the beginning of the season, but his velocity issues eventually led to a move to the bullpen. I was hoping he’d get a long-relief role, but he’s not pitching well enough to make that happen. He is now tasked with throwing one inning at full strength.
His strikeouts have gone down considerably since he moved to the bullpen. There are some who are positive about this. In his last 10 games, Fujinami has allowed five walks in 11⅔ innings. In his last four starts, he hasn’t walked a batter. If you take the strikeout numbers out of the equation, they’re certainly better than they were before. But now that he’s solved one problem, the other is blowing up in his face. He’s giving up more home runs now.
After moving to the bullpen, Fujinami was giving up walks but not home runs. He was hit by a home run against Atlanta on 30 May, and then again against Miami in the opener on 3 May, giving up two runs in one inning. He hasn’t been able to induce ground balls, which has led to more home runs.
As CBS Sports noted on the 4th, “On a positive note, Fujinami hasn’t allowed a walk in four straight games. However, he did give up two home runs in 2 1/3 innings,” before sighing and predicting that “Fujinami will continue to be deployed in low-leverage situations (relatively relaxed situations with no urgency) going forward. It’s just that the current performance isn’t enough to change its status.
Looking at the metrics, there’s little reason to believe he’ll rebound. His average batted ball velocity is in the bottom 3% of the majors. If he was managing his velocity well and his ERA was high, we might call him “unlucky” and give him more chances, but he’s not, and it’s not like he has a pitch that’s going to get hitters to swing at it. His batted ball rate outside the zone is in the bottom 2% of the majors.
His fastball is averaging 1903 revolutions per minute, which raises the question of whether he hasn’t adjusted to the ball at all. It’s been a tough season for Fujinami. Unless he rebounds, his major league career is likely to end this year.