38-Year-Old Catcher – Free Agent
2014 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
There was no outlook written for Kenji Johjima in 2014. Check out the latest news below for more on his current fantasy value.
Kenji Johjima Contract Information:
Johjima agreed to a four-year, two billion yen contract with the Hanshin Tigers of Japan's Central League in Oct. of 2009.
Johjima will retire at season's end, NPB Tracker's Patrick Newman reports.
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Kenji Johjima: MLB Games Played By Position
Kenji Johjima Split Stats (View Full Split Stats)
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Kenji Johjima: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for Kenji Johjima.
Johjima's 2008 couldn't have gotten much worse. He struggled mightily out of the gate, eventually losing playing time to prospect Jeff Clement. His .609 OPS was the lowest in the American League (300 AB). And pitchers grumbled about his receiving skills, not to mention his unwarranted three-year contract extension. There is reason for optimism, though. Johjima's contact rate last season (.91) remained virtually unchanged from his first two years in the league (.91, .92) when he batted .291 and .287, respectively. The difference was last year his BABIP was a terribly unlucky .233, off nearly 60 points from his first two years (.292, .291). In fact, no player with at least 225 at-bats had a lower BABIP in 2008. Johjima's aging (33 in June) and will share the catching duties with Clement this season, but he's a good candidate to bounce back, at least somewhat, from an awful 2008.
Johjima turned in a decent year behind the plate, though his final numbers were depressed thanks to a 27-game summer drought in which he hit .179 with six XBH and a .525 OPS. Still, among catchers, he was fourth in batting (.287), fifth in slugging (.433) and OBP (.322) and sixth in OPS (.755) and XBH (43). A contact hitter, he won't walk or strikeout much (15 BB, 41 K in 513 PA). If he avoids a major slump, he should finish in the top tier of offensive catchers across the board.
Johjima made the jump from Japan to the U.S. last season and acquitted himself nicely, though he fell victim to the toll Safeco Field takes on right-handed hitters. Johjima ranked third among American League catchers in homers and fifth in OPS and finished fourth among all catchers in extra-base hits with 44. But his home OPS was just .504 compared to a .837 road OPS. Johjima also had trouble with left-handed pitchers, hitting his 18 homers all off righties. A season of major league experience should benefit him in 2007.
Signed to a three-year deal by the Mariners, Johjima (JOE-JEE-muh) was regarded as the the best catcher in Japan last season and one of the best right-handed power hitters, as well. His power likely won't translate to the majors and, specifically, to Safeco Field. But Safeco's spacious outfield could turn Johjima into an excellent gap hitter. Johjima averaged .305 and 30 homers the past five years in Japan. He won't get those numbers with the Mariners, but even if he hits, on the low side, in the .275 range and slugs in the .450 range, it will be a huge improvement over Seattle's 2005 catchers (.216/.253/.313). Johjima suffered a fractured shinbone in September 2005 when he fouled a pitch off his leg, but he's expected to be healthy by spring training.
Johjima is regarded by many as not only the best catcher in Japan at the moment (both at bat and behind the plate), but perhaps the best right-handed power hitter in Japan right now as well. Johjima was Japan's cleanup hitter at the 2004 Athens Olympics, and he was voted the Pacific League MVP in 2003 after leading the Fukuoka Hawks (with Tadahito Iguchi at second base) to the Japan Series title. He will attempt to sign with an MLB team for the 2006 season. Johjima certainly has power (150 home runs in the last five seasons; hit .309/.381/.557 with 26 homers in 116 games in 2005), but he'll turn 30 in June 2006, which is older for a catcher than it is at any other position. Also, no player on a baseball diamond needs better verbal communication skills than the catcher; this could be a problem for Johjima as he attempts to break in with an MLB club. Johjima suffered a fractured shinbone in September 2005 when he fouled a pitch off his leg, but he's expected to be healthy by spring training. You can find Johjima's career stats from Japan (through 2004) at japanesebaseball.com.