Originally posted on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 5/31/12
When the Milwaukee Brewers added outfielder Norichika Aoki to their roster this past offseason, I thought it was a curious move — the 30-year-old outfielder was one of Japan’s better hitters and by my anticipation deserved at least a large platoon role. Yet the Brewers intended on using him in a bench role. In his final and worst season in the NPB, Aoki was still one of the league’s best hitters. And looking at his final five seasons in Japan’s Pacific Coast League, we see he was consistently a dominant hitter in a league typically starved for offense: Aoki’s wOBA Year wOBA wOBA+ JPCL wOBA 2007 .395 127 .310 2008 .400 131 .306 2009 .371 123 .301 2010 .408 129 .316 2011 .320 115 .277 All wOBA+ numbers relative to the Japanese PCL. Aoki has been getting more playing time lately, but now it’s time for him to get all of it. Entering play on Thursday, Aoki sports a .370 wOBA and 135 wRC+ — created largely from his strong .380 OBP. He has walked at a decent rate (7.6% BB-rate) and limited his
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