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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  • AZ Phil, has Nathan showed up in Mesa yet? Thanks.

    Hagsag 3 hours 28 min ago view
  • Eickhoff looks like a good young pitcher. Lets steal him!

    Hagsag 3 hours 29 min ago view
  • Manny Rondon faced 13 batters ... and got 10 to K. Not a bad day's work.

    Eric S 13 hours 10 min ago view
  • With several other Cubs hitters bailing out on curves today I think overall it wasn't being seen well. It for sure looked silly but a good breaking pitch coming at you and then breaking down isn't the easiest thing to see and has made many hitters look silly. Also Soler should have more walks this year but for quite a few called strikes that were actual balls and even the called strike he bailed on was borderline.

    johann 16 hours 8 min ago view
  • it's not like we're talking about a guy who's never had issues with pitch selection and seeing the ball over here. we're talking about a guy who has some rather legendary swing-and-misses at breaking stuff who's been exploited low. going forward it's worth paying attention to seeing if he can be exploited inside, too. he seriously bailed out of the box on a called strike. sure it was a good curve, but he obviously didn't see that well at all.

    crunch 16 hours 20 min ago view
  • It would seem like he is figuring it out now and it's really coming together. Really happy for him. Joe was really protecting him from the 3rd time through the order, but as you allude to, he is earning trust to go deeper.

    Wondering if has potential to become a #3 pitcher? His current stats certainly support it.

    The E-Man 16 hours 29 min ago view
  • That doesn't count b/c CRUNCH didn't see it on his 60" HDTV 5 times in replay.

    I have seen many players "bail out" when the ball looked like it was gonna hit them.

    Especially with the advent of the splitter and pitchers that can really get the ball to dance. Marmol, Sutter, Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, Derek Lowe, Smoltz, Arrietta...

    These guys have made the best bail out only for the ball to come over the plate and be called a strike.

    No shame in that. The same way players whiff hard enough to cause them to drill a hole in the ground from spinning.

    The E-Man 16 hours 34 min ago view
  • a 60" TV with slow-motion replay and multiple looks on that replay helps...a lot...

    it's one thing to shy away like he did the 2nd time, it's another to bail out of the box on a called strike. that happened in the 1st one he pulled away from. he misjudged that one by a foot or so...

    crunch 16 hours 53 min ago view
  • Good Hendricks sure is fun to watch. He was hitting all his corners today and the Phillies couldn't do anything with his changeup.

    johann 17 hours 29 min ago view
  • Bryant and I believe Zobrist both did that too.

    johann 17 hours 46 min ago view
  • Soler BB acumen and plate awareness is excellent. Not unusual for even the best players to react as if they were about to hit them, "even though they weren't that close" from your vantage point sitting on your deck, or wherever.

    The E-Man 17 hours 48 min ago view
  • soler vs inside breaking balls is scary.

    he's had 2 inside curve balls today where he reacted as if they were about to hit him even though they weren't that close...one he bailed out of the box on, it was a called strike.

    crunch 18 hours 6 min ago view
  • j.urias optioned back to AAA...guess we wont be seeing him in the LAD series.

    crunch 18 hours 13 min ago view
  • so is him actually getting 2 hits in a game (2 doubles!)...first time he's even been on base 2 times in a game since 9 games ago on his 3/4, 1bb day.

    im ready for him to at least look like a 2-slot hitter since he's gonna be slotted there no matter what he does.

    crunch 19 hours 9 min ago view
  • That Heyward move to avoid Bryant's ball hit at him was a thing of beauty too.

    johann 19 hours 27 min ago view
  • 9 pitches in and this game already rules.

    HR, double...bryant's turn (who came out to a Kris Kross song for some horrible, horrible reason).

    ...2 run inning...zoobrest hitting streak at 14.

    crunch 19 hours 31 min ago view