40-Year-Old Outfielder – Free Agent
2014 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
There was no outlook written for Hideki Matsui in 2014. Check out the latest news below for more on his current fantasy value.
Hideki Matsui Contract Information:
Released by the Rays in August of 2012.
Matsui will announce his retirement Thursday, Jack Curry of the YES Network reports.
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Hideki Matsui: MLB Games Played By Position
Hideki Matsui Split Stats (View Full Split Stats)
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Hideki Matsui: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for Hideki Matsui.
Matsui's first, and likely only, season with the A's saw a big drop in production as he hit just 12 homers all season. His numbers at home were terrible (.236/.323/.340) but his .267/.318/.411 line on the road wasn't a ton better. A solid July resulted in a decent post-break showing (.295/.353/.425), and he'll be outfield-eligible in most formats with 27 games in left field. It seems unlikely that he'll regain his 20-homer form regardless of where he signs as a free agent as his ISO has dropped from .235 during his final season with the Yankees in 2009 to .185 in 2010 and .124 with the A's last season.
Matsui hit .274 with 21 home runs and 84 RBI in 2010; but after just one season with the Angels, he signed with AL West rival Oakland in the offseason. Matsui will turn 37 in June, but he will still be counted on as the primary designated hitter for the A's. Oakland's home park is cavernous, but Angel Stadium of Anaheim was not much better for hitters last season. Matsui still has 20-homer potential and the added bonus of entering this season with outfield eligibility in some leagues after playing 18 games in the field last season.
Matsui's creaky knees prevented him from logging any time in the outfield, but he managed 456 at-bats as the designated hitter and missed only a few odd games when his knee flared up and required draining. Buoyed by new Yankee Stadium's short porch in right, Matsui blasted 28 homers and continued the power display all the way through his MVP performance in the World Series. He'll handle the DH role again in 2010 after signing with the Angels in December. If he's managed carefully, Matsui should exceed the 400 at-bat mark again.
Knee issues limited Matsui to 337 at-bats last season, while also keeping him confined primarily to a DH role. He underwent successful surgery in September and was initially expected to represent Japan in the World Baseball Classic, but at press time the Yankees were not expected to consent to his participation. If nothing else, that decision should limited extra wear and tear on his body during the recovery process. Now that Jason Giambi is off the books, the Yankees can use Matsui as their everyday DH if they want to keep Johnny Damon out of center field. As a result, he should be able to take a full season's worth of at-bats and bounce back toward the 20-homer, 100-RBI range in 2009.
Matsui continues to be one of the most consistent hitters in the game, though he's dealt with injuries in each of the past two seasons. A hamstring injury robbed Matsui of most of the month of April, but upon his return he showed that the broken wrist suffered in 2006 had no impact on his bat (23.4 AB/HR) while his .285/.367/.488 line was very similar to his career marks. Matsui underwent arthoscopic surgery on his knee during the winter, but he's expected to be fully recovered for spring training and the start of the season. Given his track record, you can safely expect the usual 20-25 homers and 100-plus RBI from a spot in the middle of a potent Yankee lineup.
Matsui hadn't missed a single Major League game in his career, until he broke his left wrist while trying to make a sliding catch against Boston back in May. He then made a public apology to the fans and his teammates for the incident. Upon his return in September, Matsui hit .396 with three homers in 51 AB, a strong indication that he'll have no lingering problems with the wrist going forward. If he slides to towards the thick of the middle rounds, Matsui will prove to be an excellent value pick on draft day.
Matsui continues to improve in America. Some of the balls that went for homers in 2004 fell for doubles in 2005, but he drove in a career-high 116 runs and reduced his strikeouts. Particularly in the Yankees lineup, Matsui is an elite outfield hitter and could even be undervalued and overshadowed on draft day with guys like Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter on his team.
Godzilla improved every area of his game in 2004, raising his OPS by .124. He's in the prime of his career and only getting betterócompare his 2004 numbers to teammate Gary Sheffield's.
The ROY runnerup made a big fantasy splash in 2003, batting .287 with 16 HR and 106 RBI. Matsui had his share of slumps, especially in the second half when fatigue set in from the heavier American game schedule, but he showed the hitting acumen that cannot be taught. Hitting behind runners, sacrificing guys over and two-out RBI were his specialty and that foundation should translate to even better numbers this season. He also made a reputation as an excellent fielder so he'll be in the lineup almost every day. While some were expecting 50-homer power as he accomplihed in the Far East, he is more of a doubles hitter that might get you 20-25 homers but a bunch of runs batted in.
Most analysts rate the quality of Japanese baseball to be somewhere between the major leagues and Triple-A. We can project rookies on the basis of their minor league stats - it shouldn't be an exercise fraught with peril to project Japanese players. Matsui is for real, as our projection for him suggests. Don't be shy in bidding for him on Draft Day.