Im sure if you get on the net and look around, you will see the stats... e.g batting over 300 the last 7 seasons in a row, gold glover, all star , usually steals over 30 bases a season(except for last year) and all of that other stuff.
I have been here in Japan and have seen Kaz play alot over the last 5 years. Let me explain a few things.
Regarding Kaz vs Hideki
Statistically Hideki had better power numbers because Hideki played for the Giants. The Tokyo Giants are the "Yankees" of Japanese baseball whereas Kazuo played for the Seibu Lions. Hideki was always able to score alot of runs and put up great power numbers because
i) He had awesome run support and he was not often pitched around
ii)The Tokyo giants have most of Japans best pitchers on their team..(the ones that havent left for the majors yet anyway), so Hideki never had to face good pitching consistently
iii) Hideki played all of his homegames at the Tokyo Dome, which is clearly a hitters park
This is why Hideki only hit 17 homeruns last year. Hideki has actually put on quite a bit of size over the last season so I expect him to hit around 25 this year.
Now for Kaz. He played for one of the weaker teams in Japan and faced alot of good pitching, i would have to say of a higher quality on average than of what Hideki faced.
Kaz didnt have any run support and played at the much bigger Seibu Dome
I would say that if Hideki had to play out hiis career for the seibu Lions, his numbers definately would not be what they were at the Giants.
With all this in mind, i would say that Kaz will produce power numbers similar to those of Hideki when he arrived, except add a few more average points to Kazuo, alot more stolen bases and hardly any errors. Basically he fields and runs like Ichiro and bats somewhere between both of them. Ichiro has always batted 1+2 spot, Hideki has always batted clean up, Kazuo has been used in all 4 opening spots throughout his career.
Kaz has also had the advantage of watching and learning from the problems hideki suffered.
as far as numbers go, I would say that the numbers given to you buy mr sportznow are pretty accurate, something along the lines of
I dont really understand why there are people who think he will struggle without ever seeing him play. Sure he had a crappy spring, but he had stitches in his finger for god sake and had an interuupted preparation. Dont ignore his last 7 seasons in Japan(as well as going to the Olympics and his outstanding numbers against the touring Major league allstar team 18 months ago), on the strength of one ordinary month in March.
Hideki struggled when he arrived, and he batted 287.
Ichiro didnt struggle when he arrived and was the MVP.
Even if kazuo does struggle, he will give you good numbers, and if he doesnt struggle, then look out.
Oh, and just a general note to anyone who checks out Japanese season statistics, please note the the Japanese season is only 140 games long!!
Hey, I just found some cool stats. Go to the official MLB site, and look under "events" for the 2002 mlb all stars japan tour. Check out Kazs number`s. Kaz went 12 for 26 including 2 HRs (switch) in game 6.