Yoshida Masataka (30‧ Boston), who is one of the best hitters in Japanese professional baseball and has achieved his dream of entering the major leagues ahead of this season, is a player who is attracting a lot of attention from the contract to the expected performance of the first season.
Backed by a major league agency named Scott Boras, Yoshida signed a five-year contract with Boston worth 90 million dollars (approximately 111.2 billion won). This surpassed the record of 85 million dollars in 5 years by Seiya Suzuki (Chicago Cubs), who was one year his senior in the major leagues and was also considered one of the best 5-tool players in Japan.
In the local media, as other teams did not prepare that much money for Yoshida, it was constantly pointed out that it was Boston’s ‘overpay’. The views are mixed. On the other hand, there is a story that “I gave too much money”, but there is also a counterargument that “a hitter who can sufficiently recover the principal” according to the projection of the statistical projection.
The statistical projection favors Yoshida’s future. It would be difficult to take the results of Japanese professional baseball as it is, but if it is moderately cut, it is possible to survive as an alternate hitter.
‘Steamer’ projected a batting average of .298 for Yoshida’s first season, which was higher than ‘Steamer’ predicted for any other American League hitter. ‘ZiPS’ went one step further and expected Yoshida to record a batting average of 0.305 in 2023 and 0.298 in 2024. The two-year projected win-to-replacement ratio (WAR) is 5.2, which is worth more than $60 million at this point.
The analysis of the North American sports media ‘The Athletic’ on the 26th (Korean time) is a little neutral. ‘The Athletic’ cited Yoshida’s strikeout rate in Japan as only 8%, and said, 안전놀이터 ‘As expected, we expect to be a Jeff McNeil or Stephen Kwan type hitter with a very low strikeout rate, but below average power.’ .
McNeil recorded a batting average of 0.326 last year to become the National League batting champion, and Kwan’s batting average also reached 0.298. I don’t know about long hits, but it is an interpretation that at least the batting average itself can become a high player.
“Suzuki Seiya had a strikeout rate of 16.5% in Japan (first season) but 24.6% in the United States. Yoshida can also expect a 12-13% higher strikeout rate than Japan,” he said. “It will be a hitter with a batting average of 0.275 to 0.300, and the fact that it is likely to be in the top batting order with a certain walk rate is a bonus.”
However, ‘The Athletic’ added that ‘just don’t believe the hype of Japan’s Juan Soto.’ He asserted that it was difficult to achieve a walk/strikeout ratio, or on-base percentage, or 5-tool performance in the major leagues’ best class. Yoshida’s expected performance is expected to cause continued controversy and curiosity until the season begins and the lid is opened. However, with a batting average between 0.275 and 0.300 and walk ability, there is a possibility that Boston’s investment will not end in failure.