In Soto’s trade value piece I mentioned how inconsistent he has been in his career, but that’s nothing compared to Fukudome. Below is an image of his AVG/OBP/SLG/wOBA by month in his Cubs career.
If you’d rather see the numbers, here they are.
Those numbers do not include last night’s game. We’ve often called him April Kosuke, but I’m not sure that’s accurate. Take 2008, he had a .350+ wOBA in each of the first three months of the season. In 2009 he had a .370+ wOBA in April, May, July and August. In 2010 he had a .400+ wOBA in April and August. He was better than league average in May this year as well. It’s true if you look at the three month average that he’s declined from the first few months, but it hasn’t been a consistent decline. He’s just been all over the place, which isn’t necessarily surprising.
The standard deviation of wOBA is calculated with this formula: SQRT(wOBA*(1.1-wOBA)/PA). What this means is that in one month, or 100 plate appearances, one standard deviation from his roughly .345 projected wOBA is .051. We’d therefore expect a .345 hitter to be between .294 and .396 66% of the time. Two standard deviations would be between about .300 and .450 or so. There would be a 95% chance a .345 hitter would be between .300 and .450 (thereabouts) over 100 plate appearances.
Four months in Kosuke’s MLB career he has been below .300, but I’m betting the number of plate appearances was lower than 100 in at least three of them. The point is that a jump like this isn’t too surprising. Fukudome’s career wOBA is .344, which is a 104 wRC+. He’s been a better than average hitter.
ZiPS projects a .343 wOBA the rest of the season. We’ll use 200 plate appearances for August and September again. That makes him worth $2.4 million over those two months. He’ll be paid $4.5 million. He’s likely a type B free agent, which is worth $2.5 million meaning he has a surplus trade value of $.4 million.
The Cubs might get an older C graded prospect in return, but don’t expect much more than that. The Cubs shouldn’t have to send any money in a trade, but that depends on what teams plan to use him as. If he’s seen as a platoon player, the Cubs probably have to send a little money in the deal. Either way, it’s not a big deal.