36-Year-Old Second Baseman – Free Agent
2018 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
There was no outlook written for Munenori Kawasaki in 2018. Check out the latest news below for more on his current fantasy value.
Munenori Kawasaki Contract Information:
Released by the Cubs in March of 2017.
Kawasaki will return to Japan to play for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, Mark Gonzales of The Chicago Tribune reports.
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Munenori Kawasaki: MLB Games Played By Position
Munenori Kawasaki Split Stats (View Full Split Stats)
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Munenori Kawasaki Defensive Stats
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Munenori Kawasaki: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for Munenori Kawasaki.
Kawasaki took 26 trips to the plate for the Cubs last season, spending most of the year as organizational depth at Triple-A Iowa and delivering a mediocre .255/.352/.312 line in 378 plate appearances while quietly racking up 20 stolen bases during his time in the minors. For his career, Kawasaki is a .237/.320/.289 hitter with a mere 738 plate appearances under his belt against big league pitching. Now 35 years old, his days as a regular on a 25-man roster appear to be over, but Kawasaki's big personality and reputation as a good clubhouse guy may enable him to hang around for another year if he's willing to tour the Pacific Coast League again.
Kawasaki split time between Triple-A and the MLB last season, logging 62 games for Triple-A Buffalo and 23 for the Blue Jays. At the Triple-A level, Kawasaki hit for a .245/.332/.286 line including stealing eight bases in 12 tries. In the majors, he saw just 28 at-bats, going 6-for-28 with six runs scored and was caught stealing in his only attempt. Kawasaki split time between second base and shortstop at Triple-A while playing mostly second at the major league level and spelling Josh Donaldson at third base for a trio of games. The 34-year-old utility infielder is more likely to start in Triple-A, but his flexibility makes him an option to be called up at any time. With that being said, he's never hit better than .258 in a season at the major league level, and for his career, he's slashed .234/.314/.284. While he was a consistent 30 base stealer in Japan, reaching that plateau five times in his last nine seasons, he's stolen 10 total bases in four big league seasons.
Few fringe utility guys receive the fanfare that Kawasaki has garnered in Toronto. The last two seasons, he's bounced between Triple-A Buffalo and the Jays, compiling most of his career .235/.315/.284 line as a big-league hitter during that time. If he returns to the Blue Jays, Kawasaki may find it more difficult to earn playing time as Maicer Izturis figures to be healthy again in 2015. The aforementioned offensive limitations will prevent him from doing anything more than serving as a temporary placeholder in an AL-only format. After re-signing with the Jays on a minor league deal in January, he'll likely fill a similar role for the Jays again this season.
Kawasaki was a glorified mascot last season. He got just 115 plate appearances, didn't hit (.192, one double), didn't get on base (eight walks) and didn't run (two stolen bases in four attempts). He played a decent shortstop, though the downgrade from Brendan Ryan was easily noticeable. He sure was enthusiastic, though. Alas, enthusiasm isn't enough even for the Mariners, who released him after the season. Kawasaki is likely headed back to Japan, as he's not a major league player.
Kawasaki left the Softbank Hawks and signed a minor league contract with Seattle. The frequent .300 hitter fell to just .267 last season with a .609 OPS. He could win a utility role with the Mariners and has some speed (31 stolen bases last year) for fantasy purposes.