Hideki Okajima - #37 (Relief Pitcher)
Bats: Left, Throws: Left
Age: 35, Size: 6'1" 195 lbs
Acquired: Re-signed as a FA on January 10th, 2011
Comments: Just when you thought you'd no longer see the "no look fastball" from one Hideki Okajima in a Sox uniform, WHAM - he's back on a one year deal. 2010 was a forgettable season for Okajima and at 35 years of age, its hard to see what he has left. Last season Okajima posted a 4.50 ERA to accompany an other-worldy 1.717 WHIP. His K/9 was way down and he was just plain too hittable. Prior to 2010, Okajima pitched three very good seasons out of the Sox pen. He was a surprise cog that led to the 2007 W.S. title with a 2.22 ERA across 69 innings and a 0.971 WHIP. Looking at pitchFX, it doesn't seem like Hideki has lost that much speed on his fastball (86.3 mph) nor his curve (77 mph). Movement looks fairly consistent as well. Perhaps batters just caught up to Okajima's herky-jerky delivery.
Unique Stats/Facts: Even though he is a lefty, Okajima has fared very well in past seasons against right-handers. In 2007 he held all RH batters to a 0.512 OPS.
Analysis: Okajima was brought back to compete for the left-hander out of the pen. After last year it looked as if he had nothing left to offer, but perhaps Curt Young sees something he can work with. He'll battle Miller, Hill, Doubront and others for a pen spot, but probably starts off with the upper hand due to experience and his ML contract, He does own a liftetime OpOPS of 0.591.
Projection: 3.68 ERA/3.92 FIP, 7.77 K/9 in 44 IP
Tomorrow: David Ortiz