Nishioka To DL, Espinosa An Option

Slap hitting middle infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka will be going to the disabled list with a broken left fibula.

Analysis: Nishioka’s best assest was his legs and most experts thought he was good for twenty or so stolen bases this year. He is also capable of posting about a .280 batting average and there aren’t many second basemen on the wire who are a lock to hit .280. In deep leagues you certainly have to take a look at Washington second baseman Danny Espinosa. Over the last two years in the minors Espinosa has hit 40 bombs with 54 stolen bases. Espinosa probably won’t be hitting in the .280 range but I don’t expect to see his batting average dip below the .250-.260 mark. He really is a power/speed threat and only being owned in less than ten percent of fantasy leagues is certainly an added bonus. Espinosa already has six hits in six games with two doubles, two runs and two RBI. If you’re worried about a loss in long term batting average before Nishioka returns you may want to consider Orlando Cabrera. Cabrera is a lifetime .274 hitter with double digit steal potential even in his late thirties. And if you absolutely need to have a secure batting average going forward then it’s time to pick up Freddy Sanchez who is going fast in most standard leagues. Sanchez is a career .299 hitter but he doesn’t have the speed.

Don’t Believe the Tsuyoshi Nishioka Hype

Tsuyoshi Nishioka comes over to MLB after a .346/.423/.482 triple slash line in 2010 with the Chiba Lotte Marines. He should play at second base for the Twins and much is expected from him from a fantasy standpoint.

Analysis: If you look at recent big names to come over from the NPB like Kosuke Fukudome or Akinori Iwamura, they both disappointed fantasy owners greatly. The reward isn’t worth the risk and there is a ton of risk involved with Nishioka. There is no possible way he’ll hit more than eight to ten homers especially in the new pitchers park known as Target Field. He’s also had health issues, never amassing more than 500 ABs in his NPB career with the expection of last year when he tallied 596 AB.

Projection: Give me Alcides Escobar every day of the week over Nishioka. At least with Escobar you’ll get him a few rounds later and he’ll come close to out producing Nishioka. It’s not hard to project slap hitting Japanese middle infielders anymore so expect a .280 AVG, 5 HR, 18-20 SB.