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Orix Buffaloes May Post Masataka Yoshida.


Bob Sacamano
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I’m a Masataka Yoshida fanboi.
 

I think he’s been THE most complete hitter in that league for the past five years (rivaled for a couple years by Tomoya Mori and the enigmatic Yuki Yanagita, and now overtaken this year with Murakami’s breakout, though I think Yoshida is still a better contact hitter). He’s one of the handful of guys I’ve seen where I feel like I can tell just from watching that the bat speed is better than those around him. He blends an extremely polished approach with a noticeably athletic swing — he finds a way to get the barrel on a lot of different types of pitches in the zone, even when he’s fooled on velo. He’s very strong, and is known for staying in excellent physical condition. The Buffaloes sell inflatable Masataka Yoshida-branded dumbbells at the ballpark. He never seems to break 30 homers, but it’s more because he’s lasering doubles off the wall all the time; the raw power is there (he won the home run derby a couple years ago), his approach/bat path  is just more mature versatile than a typical slugger.

BUT

Despite the strength and athleticism of his hands, he’s relatively slow and is not a good outfielder. He’s undersized, and started to become somewhat injury prone as of late. And, he’s 30 now, and it’s just proven to be really difficult for hitters past their mid-20s to make the transition to the States. I think he definitely has better bat-to-ball skills (hands/bat speed) than Seiya, but Seiya is better in every other way (speed, defense, overall athleticism).

The Sox could use the left-handed bat in the OF, but this is yet another 40 defender who you can’t find DH at bats for because of Grandal/Eloy/etc. I think he’s gonna hit, but it’s hard to imagine it’ll be enough to be a star, especially given the moderate defensive liability.

Believe me, there’s almost nothing I want more than to be able to buy a Yoshida Sox jersey, but I think the Sox would be better off with a true RF this year. 

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6 minutes ago, Eminor3rd said:

I’m a Masataka Yoshida fanboi.
 

I think he’s been THE most complete hitter in that league for the past five years (rivaled for a couple years by Tomoya Mori and the enigmatic Yuki Yanagita, and now overtaken this year with Murakami’s breakout, though I think Yoshida is still a better contact hitter). He’s one of the handful of guys I’ve seen where I feel like I can tell just from watching that the bat speed is better than those around him. He blends an extremely polished approach with a noticeably athletic swing — he finds a way to get the barrel on a lot of different types of pitches in the zone, even when he’s fooled on velo. He’s very strong, and is known for staying in excellent physical condition. The Buffaloes sell inflatable Masataka Yoshida-branded dumbbells at the ballpark. He never seems to break 30 homers, but it’s more because he’s lasering doubles off the wall all the time; the raw power is there (he won the home run derby a couple years ago), his approach/bat path  is just more mature versatile than a typical slugger.

BUT

Despite the strength and athleticism of his hands, he’s relatively slow and is not a good outfielder. He’s undersized, and started to become somewhat injury prone as of late. And, he’s 30 now, and it’s just proven to be really difficult for hitters past their mid-20s to make the transition to the States. I think he definitely has better bat-to-ball skills (hands/bat speed) than Seiya, but Seiya is better in every other way (speed, defense, overall athleticism).

The Sox could use the left-handed bat in the OF, but this is yet another 40 defender who you can’t find DH at bats for because of Grandal/Eloy/etc. I think he’s gonna hit, but it’s hard to imagine it’ll be enough to be a star, especially given the moderate defensive liability.

Believe me, there’s almost nothing I want more than to be able to buy a Yoshida Sox jersey, but I think the Sox would be better off with a true RF this year. 

Thanks for the write-up. I didn't know anything about him but figured it was worth sharing.

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52 minutes ago, Eminor3rd said:

I’m a Masataka Yoshida fanboi.
 

I think he’s been THE most complete hitter in that league for the past five years (rivaled for a couple years by Tomoya Mori and the enigmatic Yuki Yanagita, and now overtaken this year with Murakami’s breakout, though I think Yoshida is still a better contact hitter). He’s one of the handful of guys I’ve seen where I feel like I can tell just from watching that the bat speed is better than those around him. He blends an extremely polished approach with a noticeably athletic swing — he finds a way to get the barrel on a lot of different types of pitches in the zone, even when he’s fooled on velo. He’s very strong, and is known for staying in excellent physical condition. The Buffaloes sell inflatable Masataka Yoshida-branded dumbbells at the ballpark. He never seems to break 30 homers, but it’s more because he’s lasering doubles off the wall all the time; the raw power is there (he won the home run derby a couple years ago), his approach/bat path  is just more mature versatile than a typical slugger.

BUT

Despite the strength and athleticism of his hands, he’s relatively slow and is not a good outfielder. He’s undersized, and started to become somewhat injury prone as of late. And, he’s 30 now, and it’s just proven to be really difficult for hitters past their mid-20s to make the transition to the States. I think he definitely has better bat-to-ball skills (hands/bat speed) than Seiya, but Seiya is better in every other way (speed, defense, overall athleticism).

The Sox could use the left-handed bat in the OF, but this is yet another 40 defender who you can’t find DH at bats for because of Grandal/Eloy/etc. I think he’s gonna hit, but it’s hard to imagine it’ll be enough to be a star, especially given the moderate defensive liability.

Believe me, there’s almost nothing I want more than to be able to buy a Yoshida Sox jersey, but I think the Sox would be better off with a true RF this year. 

Could you put him in LF/DH with Eloy? Assume Colas or Conforto for RF.

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17 minutes ago, almagest said:

Could you put him in LF/DH with Eloy? Assume Colas or Conforto for RF.

Yes, he’s better than Eloy at LF.

I’m guessing, though, that the Sox wouldn’t be able to get both Conforto and Yoshida. Could definitely be plausible to alternate Yoshida/Eloy in LF/DH, start the season with Pollock/Sheets in RF and have Colas take over eventually. 

Yoshida has played RF before, but that was more to find a place to stick Adam Jones and/or Yutaro Sugimoto than because he actually fit out there. 

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2 minutes ago, Eminor3rd said:

Yes, he’s better than Eloy at LF.

I’m guessing, though, that the Sox wouldn’t be able to get both Conforto and Yoshida. Could definitely be plausible to alternate Yoshida/Eloy in LF/DH, start the season with Pollock/Sheets in RF and have Colas take over eventually. 

Yoshida has played RF before, but that was more to find a place to stick Adam Jones and/or Yutaro Sugimoto than because he actually fit out there. 

I assume he's better than Sheets out there at least, so maybe he'd play RF until Colas is up, then shift over to LF.

Who am I kidding though the Sox haven't made much of an effort in Japan and I doubt they will here.

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18 minutes ago, almagest said:

I assume he's better than Sheets out there at least, so maybe he'd play RF until Colas is up, then shift over to LF.

Who am I kidding though the Sox haven't made much of an effort in Japan and I doubt they will here.

Yeah, you’re right. It would make the team better but I just can’t see them getting it done. They clearly don’t have much of a presence in the Pacific Rim, and they probably want to spend their money on more veteran relievers. 

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1 hour ago, Eminor3rd said:

Yeah, you’re right. It would make the team better but I just can’t see them getting it done. They clearly don’t have much of a presence in the Pacific Rim, and they probably want to spend their money on more veteran relievers. 

I was hopeful with Takatsu and Iguchi, then bidding on Tanaka and Fukudome, but they've basically been completely out of the Pacific Rim since 2014. Even Takatsu and Iguchi were in the White Sox playbook of bidding on lower tier players and hoping for outsized production.

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4 hours ago, Eminor3rd said:

I’m a Masataka Yoshida fanboi.
 

I think he’s been THE most complete hitter in that league for the past five years (rivaled for a couple years by Tomoya Mori and the enigmatic Yuki Yanagita, and now overtaken this year with Murakami’s breakout, though I think Yoshida is still a better contact hitter). He’s one of the handful of guys I’ve seen where I feel like I can tell just from watching that the bat speed is better than those around him. He blends an extremely polished approach with a noticeably athletic swing — he finds a way to get the barrel on a lot of different types of pitches in the zone, even when he’s fooled on velo. He’s very strong, and is known for staying in excellent physical condition. The Buffaloes sell inflatable Masataka Yoshida-branded dumbbells at the ballpark. He never seems to break 30 homers, but it’s more because he’s lasering doubles off the wall all the time; the raw power is there (he won the home run derby a couple years ago), his approach/bat path  is just more mature versatile than a typical slugger.

BUT

Despite the strength and athleticism of his hands, he’s relatively slow and is not a good outfielder. He’s undersized, and started to become somewhat injury prone as of late. And, he’s 30 now, and it’s just proven to be really difficult for hitters past their mid-20s to make the transition to the States. I think he definitely has better bat-to-ball skills (hands/bat speed) than Seiya, but Seiya is better in every other way (speed, defense, overall athleticism).

The Sox could use the left-handed bat in the OF, but this is yet another 40 defender who you can’t find DH at bats for because of Grandal/Eloy/etc. I think he’s gonna hit, but it’s hard to imagine it’ll be enough to be a star, especially given the moderate defensive liability.

Believe me, there’s almost nothing I want more than to be able to buy a Yoshida Sox jersey, but I think the Sox would be better off with a true RF this year. 

Also, just looked up this guy's numbers (a 23-year old, left-handed hitting third baseman. Wow.

https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=muraka000mun

Edited by Bob Sacamano
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4 hours ago, Bob Sacamano said:

Also, just looked up this guy's numbers (a 23-year old, left-handed hitting third baseman. Wow.

https://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.fcgi?id=muraka000mun

Yeah, he's the man right now. He basically just had the NPB equivalent of Aaron Judge's season, but he's 22. He won the triple crown while breaking Sadaharu Oh's single season HR record for a Japanese player (actual NPB record is 60 by Wladimir Balantien). He just set an entirely new bar for NPB hitters. He won't be available for a few years at least, we'll see if he somehow still has room to grow.

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