Chicago Cubs: Top 3 reasons to sign Shogo Akiyama
Chicago Cubs: Akiyama the next leadoff hitter
2. Akiyama can be the Cubs next big leadoff hitter
The second biggest reason Chicago needs Akiyama is because of the void left by Nicholas Castellanos last season. Castellanos brought energy, power and best of all, hits to the Cubs’ struggling offense last season. Not only does the acquisition of Akiyama help in the outfield by getting Heyward back to right, but gives the Cubs one heck of a left-handed leadoff hitter that knows how to get on base.
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Currently Akiyama has a nine season lifetime .376 OBP and .829 OPS in Japan. Jared Wyllys a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney recently wrote about Akiyama.
"He had a career .376 on-base percentage in Japan, but he has not posted an OBP below .385 since 2014, even getting as high as .403 in 2018 and .419 in 2015. Last year, the Cubs leadoff hitters had league worsts in batting average and OBP at .212 and .294 respectively. In 2019, the Cubs team contact rate of 73.3 percent ranked 22nd in baseball. Having Akiyama leading off would help reverse this problem."
Let’s add to the fact that Akiyama has had three-straight 20-plus homer seasons from 2017-2019 and you are looking at someone who can fill two holes right now. Ross would probably appreciate the stability of having a leadoff hitter he can pencil in every day and going to someone Anthony Rizzo without necessity atop the order.
Anyway you shake it, there’s a lot to like about Akiyama and the number one reason the Cubs need Akiyama is my favorite.