Team: Nippon Ham Fighters
Current status: Nishikawa will be eligible to file for domestic free agency after the 2020 season and international free agency a year later. On Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019, he revealed that he is interested in playing in the majors after next season, when the Fighters — if they follow their history of granting players’ wishes, may post him.
Pos: CF Birthdate: April 16, 1992 Bats: L
Honors: Best Nine (2) Golden Gloves (3, 2017, 2018, 2019)
League leader: Stolen bases (3, 2014, 2017, 2018)
Nishikawa is a stereotypical leadoff type. He is a disciplined left-handed hitter with speed who is always among the league leaders in walks and is an efficient base stealer.
In 2019, according to Delta Graphs, Nishikawa’s 17.8 percent of swings outside the strike zone was the third-lowest figure in NPB after Yakult Swallows second baseman Tetsuto Yamada and Hiroshima Carp outfielder Seiya Suzuki.
In 2020, Delta Graphs has Nishikawa leading both leagues by swinging at only 15.2 percent of the pitches thrown outside the zone to him. Pitchers threw him the highest percentage of strikes of any average title-qualified hitter in Japan.
The same source makes him a stereotypical slap-hitting Japanese left-handed hitter, among the leaders of foul strike percentage and hitting to the opposite field and keeping the ball on the ground.
Nishikawa still has better than an average range in center field, but no longer really has a center fielder’s arm.
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