Jason Coskrey of the Japan Times @JCoskrey tweeted today that the Hiroshima Carp were moving to sign former Chunichi Dragon third baseman Hector Luna and commented that it would be a good pick up for them. He is probably spot on because the Carp offense at third base was easily Japan’s worst.
If you look at NPB offenses as a whole in 2015, ranking them by OPS of the starters of the nine positions on the field, you get the following order: 1B: .759, 3B: 734, RF: .730, LF: .723, 2B: .696, SS: .655, C: .584, P: .248.
The .613 OPS posted by Hiroshima’s starting third baseman was not only the worst by any team in NPB. Not only that, but because the Carp catchers were more productive than the NPB norm this year, Hiroshima got less offense at third base than any other position — except the pitchers. Except when Tetsuya Kokubo started, the Carp third basemen kicked the pitchers’ butts.
However, when you say “Carp,” the first word that comes to mind is “defense.” When you say “2015 Carp,” the word is “worse than expected defense,” which is also what comes to mind if you say “Hector Luna at third base.” But you know what, that’s just an impression. Even in an off year, Hiroshima’s fielding was about average.
The Carp were a fairly well-balanced team last year with very good starting pitching thanks to Kenta Maeda, Kris Johnson and Hiroki Kuroda. A few of their hitters had terrible seasons, and Brad Eldred started the season hurt. If their pitching takes a step backward without Maeda, but the offense rebounds and they get a good year from Luna and Eldred, their fielding should be enough to get them into the postseason.
My defensive nature when it comes to word association games aside, I think Luna will be, as Jason stated, a good acquisition.