Just before 2019 ended we took a look at the available projections for new Cincinnati Reds outfielder Shogo Akiyama. There were only two available at the time – one from ClayDavenport.com and one from Rotowire’s Senior Editor Jeff Erickson. When it comes to projection systems, those two fall a little bit down the line. Near the top of the list is the ZiPS system by Dan Szymborski. Over at Fangraphs he’s been working through the Major Leagues on a team-by-team basis. He hasn’t reached the Cincinnati Reds yet, but he did chime in with the 3-year ZiPS projection on Akiyama for Craig Edwards article on the deal.
The ZiPS projections aren’t as friendly as the other two that we got to look at last week, but still show some value there, too. Here’s what ZiPS has for Shogo Akiyama over the next three season.
The power isn’t that different from the other two projections we saw last week, at least for 2020. The big difference seems to be in the on-base percentage between the ZiPS projection and the other two. ZiPS has it starting out at .331 and dropping a tiny bit in the following two seasons. The Clay Davenport projection had a .350, .356, and a .350 on-base percentage for the three seasons, while the Rotowire one was at .366 for 2020 (the only year they had).
Craig Edwards gets beyond the ZiPS projections in his article at Fangraphs. He dives into several scouting reports, and they offer different looks – particularly on the defense – that are worth looking at. Edwards cites a report from Wil Hoefer at Sports Info Solutions that provides the following:
He’s an above-average runner in his early 30s, and while he does show good range and jumps in center, advanced defensive metrics–which should be taken with a grain of salt since they are a fairly new phenomenon in evaluating NPB players–are lukewarm at best and show a decline in Runs Saved from his earlier years in center field.
Defensive metrics are still a bit sketchy. Even here in Major League Baseball where we have player tracking, things are still a work-in-progress. From a scouting perspective, a player with above-average speed and good jumps should be able to play well at any spot in the outfield. We’re all going to find out how accurate that is, but that report certainly gives a vote of confidence for the defensive values he could bring.
The ZiPS projections do have negative defensive value built in. In 2020 the projection has Shogo Akiyama as a roughly league average player. But in both 2021 and 2022 things take a step backwards. If the defensive value is better than projected by ZiPS, it could change things quite a bit.