At Least Fukudome's Subconscious is Healthy

On the day of the rule 4 draft, I'll keep this short. It's based on a Sun-Times article by Gordon Wittenmyer about why Kosuke Fukudome is surprising the Cubs management with his solid performance so far in 2009. I guess the surprise is they had virtually written him off when they went out and got another multi-year contract, free-agent,  left handed hitting right fielder (OK, Bradley is a switch hitter) for the second year in a row. The article implies that the reason Fukudome was bad the second half of 2008 was that he was having subconscious mechanical problems with his swing, related to his 2007 elbow arthroscopy for the removal of bone chips.

But perhaps the most important reason and least known publicly was the affect his surgically repaired right arm had on his swing.

Fukudome had elbow surgery late in the 2007 season, and the elbow started bothering him last season right about the time his decline began in May. By the end of the season, his hitting mechanics were a mess.

''I didn't feel the pain physically, but I must have been subconsciously feeling the pain of the elbow,'' said Fukudome, still reluctant to openly admit pain. But when asked if it was a factor last season, he said, ''Probably it was.'' 

Surgery often takes longer to get to a point of full recovery in an athlete and that's can be measured by performance. Endurance is often the aspect that takes the most time to recover. So although he wasn't saying he was having elbow pain, he just might have been affected when the effects of a long season took hold. 

I think that if the Cubs brass thought Fukudome was going to be a "force" in their lineup as originally expected, they wouldn't have had to get another lefty bat to "balance" the lineup for 2009. I imagine would have made this offseason roster shuffling much quieter. It also would have kept a solid backup for Aramis Ramirez, instead of what has become a 2009 reminder of the days when they replaced DLee with his broken wrist in 2006 with Neifi Perez (Todd Walker just "shuffled" from 2nd to 1st, but Perez was the substitution to the lineup, essentially replacing Lee).  The 2009 shuffle slid Mike Fontenot from 2nd to 3rd, putting him in the Todd Walker role and has cast the Bobby Scales/Andy White combo as Neifi, aka ARam's replacement. 

Memo to the Cubs brass: If you lose an RBI machine, please don't consider your replacement reasonable when it's  someone who generates zero RBI's. Also, remember that it's not the dancer who's already on the floor that becomes the real replacement when the music calls for the positional shuffle dance (as in saying Mike Fontenot's replacing ARam at third when it's really Bobby Scales who's replacing ARam in the lineup).

Comments

Maybe Fukodome quietly had surgery on something else late in 2008 because he certainly seems to be sucking again as if on a schedule.

Oh, he's actually sucking. As wittlessmyer's article notes near the bottom

Consider that it was at this point last season that Fukudome's season went the wrong way. In both 2008 and '09, he was hitting exactly .300 through June 6, then went hitless on June 7 to fall under that mark.

Kosuke started last June 3/19 and didn't recover. This year he's 3/19 (.158) in June as well and 7 for his last 41 (.170). Over approximately the same period last year he was 13/42 so his drop off is actually much more severe this year.

Hope he can turn it around.

This year he's 3/19 (.158) in June as well and 7 for his last 41 (.170).

Ooh... fun with numbers. Do you know what a sample size is? If not, you should read up on it sometime.And I love the arbitrary cut off of 41 at-bats.

Why don't we look at his last 75 at-bats (93 plate appearances), where he has put up a line of .280/.402/.413, even with the bad 41 at-bats included?

I'd agree with tbone, and have noticed more of a recent trend of the "spinning K", which he was not doing earlier in the year. At the least, he has been providing excellent defense in the outfield. Something that Soriano does not.

"Oh, he's actually sucking. As wittlessmyer's article notes near the bottom..."

You know, just one time I'd like to see this commenter look at any current situation as the glass - is - half - full, rather than everyone sucks 24/7. If you hate the club so often as your posts indicate, why not go off somewhere and suck on some lemons instead?

Many of us can suck a lemon and type at the same time.

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  • Three amigos time?

    7-8-9th

    jacos 10 min 21 sec ago view
  • he should hit more of those. that would be an ideal outcome. /moneyballs

    crunch 4 hours 26 min ago view
  • Russell with 19 RBI in July so far. Grand Slams help.

    billybucks 5 hours 7 min ago view
  • ...and Familia with back-to-back blown saves. Blows a one-run lead vs. Rockies today, gets his 2nd consecutive loss.

    I am OK with the Mets missing the playoffs and suffering crushing losses at home --- just want them to beat St. Louis.

    He played with fire twice agains the Cubs -- unfortunately, the Cubs couldn't stop swinging.

    billybucks 5 hours 11 min ago view
  • How about Kyle Farnsworth? I know he was consistently upper 90s.

    videographer 7 hours 6 min ago view
  • If he puts up Soriano numbers I will be ecstatic

    jacos 8 hours 54 min ago view
  • I think Javy is learning--but he's learning to make contact, not learning to lay off pitches out of the zone. A quick glance at his plate discipline numbers on Fangraphs shows that his contact rate is up, especially his contact rate out of the zone, but his swing rate is up too, especially his swing rate out of the zone.

    Charlie 9 hours 28 min ago view
  • I definitely saw ballpark radar guns go up to 102 on Kerry Wood back when he was still a starter, but who knows how accurate they were.

    Charlie 9 hours 42 min ago view
  • They've mentioned Henry Rodriguez (2013), Chris Carpenter, and Andrew Cashner as Cubs who have gone 100+. They said Rodriguez was tops at 100.8. Who knows before 2008?

    QuietMan 11 hours 6 min ago view
  • Regarding Heyward--

    He'll play regardless of what he does, just like Soriano played for seven years before they finally ditched him.

    What can they do? All I can think of is they can keep hiring and firing hitting coaches until they find one who can get him to stop hitting balls with the handle of the bat.

    (All those broken bats added to his paycheck is just a bit much.)

    VirginiaPhil 11 hours 6 min ago view
  • Lester will probably be all right.

    I think Arrieta might have added too much muscle preparing for that butt-naked ESPN photo shoot. Pitchers are supposed to be loose, not muscled up.

    Seriously.

    VirginiaPhil 11 hours 13 min ago view
  • I have basically written off Heyward for this year -- if you are working on major swing changes in late July, you are going to struggle. Hopefully, he can be more productive at the plate next year. It will be interesting to see what they do with him if the Cardinals keep winning and close the gap. Heyward is dead last in the NL in slugging and in the bottom 5 in OPS -- yet still has a positive WAR. Hunh.

    billybucks 11 hours 16 min ago view
  • Has anybody in a Cub uniform ever thrown a ball 103 before?

    VirginiaPhil 11 hours 20 min ago view
  • He certainly looks better, no doubt, and is a different player than what we saw when he first came up. Full credit to him for changing his approach and saving his career.

    But he has zero walks in 35AB since the break, and 10 in 251 AB all year. He does seem to be able to hit some pitches out of the zone, but, a guy with his pop should be drawing more walks. However, it's easy to forget he is still only 23, and probably trying to make an impact to prove he should be an everyday player.

    billybucks 11 hours 29 min ago view
  • The usual suspects, Molina and Wong. Gyorko drew a walk with two outs, none on. I recall us (particularly Szczur and Bryant) swinging at everything Familia threw.

    VirginiaPhil 11 hours 31 min ago view
  • Yup. Thanks Q

    The E-Man 11 hours 36 min ago view