Chicago Cubs: Kosuke Fukudome, RF, 2008-10
Our first stop down Cubs memory lane is Kosuke Fukudome, who starred in Chicago’s outfield across three seasons. The offseason of 2008 saw the Cubs land the big left-handed outfielder from Japan on a four-year, $48 million deal. Fukudome had been compared as “a cross between Ichiro and young, healthy Mark Kotsay,” according to one MLB GM long ago.
For the Cubs, Fukudome was supposed to be the one to end the “curse.” While he never completely panned out as he was supposed to, Fukudome was not a complete failure in any regard. His first season in Chicago, Fukudome stayed consistent, appearing in 150 games. He was voted as an All-Star, finishing sixth in National League Rookie of the Year voting.
Fukudome’s best season came in 2009, his second year with the Cubs, as he slashed .259/.375/.421 with 11 HR and 54 RBI in 146 games. Most impressively, Fukudome posted a solid .353 wOBA and above-average wRC+ of 110, good for a 2.4 WAR.
Across the spectrum of his Cubs career, Fukudome slashed a modest .259/.368/.410 with a .778 OPS. He finished with a career .346 wOBA and 105 wRC+. Most impressively, Fukudome struck out at only a 17.4 percent clip while registering a ridiculous walk rate of 14.7 percent.
Chicago Cubs fans will never forget the legend of Kosuke.