Colorado Rockies Countdown: Top Five Second Basemen
3. Kazuo Matsui (2006-2007, fWAR 3.3)
Amid very high expectations based on a fabulous Japanese League career, Kazuo Matsui came over to the MLB in 2004 as a member of the New York Mets. During his tenure as a Met, Kaz was never able to live up to the high expectations the New York media placed on the then shortstop. Matsui didn’t help the expectations by hitting a home run on the very first pitch he saw in the Majors.
By June of the 2006 season, Matsui had warn out his New York welcome. Matsui was proving to be less than serviceable at the shortstop position and, despite a move to second base, Matsui wasn’t getting it done at the plate as he was only hitting .200 to begin the 2006 season.
Taking advantage of the “Kaz fatigue” in the Mets front office, the Rockies traded catcher Eli Marrero for Matsui’s services.
Finding himself amidst more manageable expectations, Kaz took advantage of his second chance. Playing 32 games for Colorado in 2006, Kaz hit .345. That 2006 effort earn Kaz a one-year contract with the club, and Kaz proved himself vital to the Rockies 2007 World Series run as he hit .304 in playoffs as the Rockies’ leadoff hitter.
Kaz became a fan favorite in his short time in Colorado. As one of the fast second baseman Colorado has ever had, Kaz stole 40 bases in only 136 games with Colorado. What’s more impressive is that Kaz was only caught stealing five times.
Playing multiple seasons with New York, Colorado, and eventually Houston, Matsui is currently back to playing in the his home country of Japan. For all you advance statistics nuts, Kaz leads all Rockie second baseman in BABIP (.356), and speed score (8.8, a score of 7 is considered “excellent”).
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