Munenori Kawasaki was just recalled from the AAA Buffalo Bisons to the Blue Jays yesterday, arriving just in time to face off against fellow NPB alumnus Masahiro Tanaka in what turned out to be another dominating performance by the newest Yankees ace, striking out 10 through 6 innings, 2 of those courtesy of Kawasaki himself.
Kawasaki is disproportionately beloved by Jays fans for a lifetime .219/.306/.278 middle infielder with average defence. Frequently cited causes are his perceived work ethic, adequate defence and his entertaining antics off the field.
Nonetheless, he is well above the major league average in at least one baseball-related category - plate discipline.
In 2013, Kawasaki had 289 plate appearances. Setting an arbitrary cutoff of 275 PA’s in 2013 for all player comparisons:
He ranked 14th in the American League in BB/K, in the company of some elite MLB hitters:
and 25th in BB/PA:
He works deep into counts, evidenced by his AL 16th ranking in Pitches Seen/PA:
He has never swung at a 3-0 pitch in his 2012-2014 MLB career:
However, let us remind ourselves of at least one reason he was unsuccessful in his write-in attempt at the 2013 All-Star game - he ranked last in at-bats per home run (due to his high walk rate, Kawasaki would have an even worse plate appearances/home run statistic in comparison):