Sunday, March 20, 2005

Into the decki Hideki

Coming over from Japan, he came with a big reputation for hitting monster home runs. He was nicknamed 'Godzilla' because of this, but Yankee fans weren't to see much of this early on as he only swatted 16 dingers all season, but last year he nigh on doubled it with 31. However if you are a Yankee fan, looking at his stats in depth would bring you much cause for extreme optimism.

In his past 100 AB's (Regular season, Post-season and Spring Training), Matsui has gone deep 13 times, drove in 35 runs and batted at a .490 clip. Now obviously he is just riding a massive hot streak but these stats are encouraging nevertheless. Towards the end of the year last year Matsui was starting to learn the game better and was laying off those outside pitches instead of rolling over on them and grounding out to second base.

He has proved that he can handle both the high and the low fastball with equal aplomb leaving pitchers with problems should they fall behind Matsui in the count. He is slated to bat 6th for the Yankees as protection to Giambi, and this'll mean Jason will get his fair share of pitches to hit. If he can find his stroke, which is entirely possible then you have the making of a truly terrifying line-up on your hands.

This team knocked 242 balls out of the park last season and that was basically without Giambi, with A-Rod adjusting to life in New York and at third base, Sheffield having a banged up shoulder, Bernie having little or no power for most of the season and with Posada seeming to lose his momentum after taking an attempted double play relay throw to first plush in the face.

I am not saying the Yankees will go deep more than 242 times this season but it isn't beyond the realms of possibility, but I believe when all is said and done it won't be Jeter, A-Rod, Sheffield, Bernie, Jorge or even Giambi who'll give the fans most souvenir balls this season, it'll be Godzilla who could be one of the fantasy steals of the season, and a very possible AL MVP candidate.

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