Tomohiro Nioka, 1999 Yomiuri Giants No. 2 draft pick
Becomes free agent in: Four seasons and 21 days.
Credentials: The 27-year-old shortstop brushed aside criticism that he lacked stamina and power as he not only became the sole Giant to play in all 140 games in the 2003 season, but eclipsed career highs with a .300 average, 172 hits and 29 homers.
He is a dark horse whom few consider would make the jump to the majors because he has never went public with his desire to play outside of Japan, but recently voiced his interest by saying ''I'd most definitely consider playing in the major leagues.''
He also revealed that he has never been in better shape and is ''still nowhere near the peak'' after undergoing surgery to remove bone chips from a fractured left wrist in the summer of 2001 for his only major injury since making his pro debut.
His mental toughness is also an attraction as he is known to be a clutch hitter who connected for a walkoff homer to secure the Giants' Central League championship in 2000 and hit a grand slam in the Japan Series two years later to be named the MVP.
This guy seem pretty good. Now do I think he will duplicate his numbers over here, probably not. He is a very solid shortstop and is a clutch hitter. The Cubs have been scouting Japanball and have be interested in players such as Nioka, Fukadome, Hitoki Iwase, and Kazumi Saito. Here is the link to some career stats for Nioka-
I love the OBP of .346, and a decent glove having not more than 12 errors a season in his first 6 years in JapanBall. He has decent power numbers hitting 16,25,20 homers the past 3 years. He is a Righty and doesn't require a posting fee. Could be a good addition to this team, would rather go after Fukadome and Iwase hard tho.