WBC RBI leader and the best outfielder in Japanese professional baseball. Now, he set out to conquer the major leagues.
Masataka Yoshida (30, Boston Red Sox) signed a five-year, $90 million (approximately 118.2 billion won) contract with Boston in the 2022-2023 free agent market. He is the same left-handed outfielder as Lee Jung-hoo (Kiwoom), who is about to enter the major leagues a year before, and is the best hitter in Japan with both precision and long hitting power.
Yoshida flew 9 hits in 22 at-bats with a batting average of 0.409, 2 homers, 13 RBIs and 5 runs in 7 WBC games last March. He led Japan to the WBC championship and became the RBI leader. In those 7 games, he showed his strength to the fullest. In doing so, he struck out only once.
Will Yoshida be able to conquer the major leagues? In Boston, there are many former Los Angeles Dodgers players, including star Rafael Devers, Justin Turner, Alex Verdugo, and Kike Hernandez. Nonetheless, Boston coach Alex Cora used Yoshida as the fourth left fielder in the three straight home games against the Baltimore Orioles. I have a lot of faith in Yoshida.
The performance of the opening three games was 13 at-bats, 4 hits, batting average 0.308, 3 RBI, 4 runs, 1 steal, 1 walk, 1 strikeout, OPS 0.708. It’s a decent start. He has not yet come out with a long hit, but he showed a decent hitting feeling by getting two hits each in the opening game and the 3rd game. 메이저놀이터
The Athletic said on the 4th (hereinafter Korean time), “Yoshida has power, but he is famous for his high-quality contact skills. He scored an infield grounder with 1 RBI in the 1st inning, 1 RBI in the 5th inning, and was on base 4 times.” However, the view that long hitting power needs to be verified.
The Athletic said, “Yoshida is showing strong contact, but it is unknown if he will show the transition to power in the game. He continues to come out as a cleanup trio.” If he can’t show slugging power, it won’t be easy for him to keep the 4th batting order, but since he’s not a player who doesn’t have slugging power, we need to watch him a bit more.
It is true that there is still a perception that it is not easier for Asian fielders to succeed in the major leagues than for pitchers. Still, there are examples of big leaguers such as Ichiro Suzuki and Hideki Matsui hitting the big leagues in Japan. Recently, there is Seiya Suzuki (Chicago Cubs), who entered the major leagues a year before Yoshida. He has not been able to come out yet due to injury, but when Suzuki returns, it is expected that he will naturally be compared to Yoshida.