Norichika Aoki, Outfield
Date of Birth: 1/5/1982
Birthplace: Hyuga City, Japan
Norichika Aoki, outfielder, played professional baseball in Japan before signing with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2012. He played in Japan from 2004 through 2011 and he was a star player. In 2005, he was named Rookie of the Year and the following season, he led his league in stolen bases. He won three batting titles (2005, 2007, 2010), six Gold Gloves (2006-2011), and two All Star Game MVP awards (2006, 2009) while playing in Japan.
In January, 2012, Aoki signed a two-year contract with the Milwaukee Brewers. He batted .288 with 150 hits, 37 doubles, and 30 stolen bases in 151 games in 2012. In 2013, he again had good numbers, with 171 hits, 20 double, 20 stolen bases, and a .286 batting average in 155 games. As a right fielder, he played in 149 games and made 289 putouts and 3 errors with a .990 fielding percentage.
Aoki was traded to the Kansas City Royals on December 5, 2013. He finished the 2014 season with 140 hits, 22 doubles, 17 stolen bases, and a .285 batting average in 132 games. In the postseason, he had 8 hits, 3 RBIs, and 1 stolen base in 41 at-bats in 14 games.
Aoki signed a one-year contract with the San Francisco Giants on January 19, 2015. He finished the 2015 season with 102 hits, 14 stolen bases, and a .287 batting average in 93 games. He didn't strike out often and he had five more walks than strikeouts (30 walks to 25 strikeouts). A good defensive player, he played 86 games in left field and he made 135 putouts with no errors.
On November 4, 2015, Aoki became a free agent when the Giants declined his $5.5 million option for 2016. He signed with the Seattle Mariners a month later, on December 3, 2015.
Aoki played in 118 games with the Mariners in 2016. He finished the season with 118 hits, 24 doubles, 28 RBIs, and a .283 batting average. A difficult player to strikeout, he had just 45 strikeouts to 34 walks. Defensively, he played 99 games in left field and 15 games in center field. He made 188 putouts and just one error.
The Houston Astros claimed Aoki off waivers on November 3, 2016. He signed a one-year, $5.5 million contract with the Astros on November 30, 2016. He was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays on July 31, 2017. He was designated for assignment on August 28th. The New York Mets signed him on September 2nd. He was released on October 30th. He finished the 2017 season with 93 hits, 20 doubles, 35 RBIs, 44 strikeouts to 29 walks, and a .277 batting average in 71 games with the Astros, 12 games with the Blue Jays, and 27 games with the Mets. Defensively, he played 64 games in left field, 2 games in center field, and 47 games in right field.
Career batting statistics for Aoki through 2017 include:
- 759 games played
- 774 hits
- 135 doubles
- 98 stolen bases
- 219 RBIs
- 258 strikeouts to 234 walks
- .285 batting average