Red Sox sign Masataka Yoshida

joe dokes

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As has been suggested:
Red Sox rest weary left fielder Masataka Yoshida to allow him to regroup - The Boston Globe


WASHINGTON — Masataka Yoshida has hit the wall.
The left fielder was out of the lineup for Tuesday night’s game against the Nationals and Red Sox manager Alex Cora suggested that would be the case on Wednesday, too.
Yoshida had hit .236 with a .614 OPS in his last 23 games with one home run. His slugging percentage has dropped from .500 in early June to .468.
“He’ll benefit from [the rest]. You can see it, the way he’s moving and hitting-wise, all the ground balls,” Cora said. “He’s not using his legs. Even on mistakes he’s out in front.
“Good for him that when he struggles, he gets hits anyway. But there’s a lot of ground balls right now, a lot of rollovers.”
That was something Yoshida’s coaches in Japan told the Red Sox to watch out for during the season.
 

curly2

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Yoshida the last two months: 164 plate appearances, three walks. That's just ghastly. I figured as a contact guy he wouldn't draw a ton of walks, but it looked at the start of the year he would contribute a decent number.
 
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soxhop411

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Yoshida the last two months: 164 plate appearances, three walks. That's just ghastly. I figured as a contact guy he wouldn't draw a ton of walks, but it looked at the start of the year he would contribute a decent number.
Wonder if this is a fatigue thing.. Its his first season stateside... ( IIRC baseball seasons in Japan are 144 games vs the 162 in MLB) (also he played in a bunch of games in the WBC before the season)
 

zenax

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There haven't been many Japanese players who became stars in MLB but look at Ohtani: he's 6'4, 211 lbs and began his MLB career at age 23. Ichiro was 5'11, 175 lbs when he began playing in the majors at age 27, Yoshida is 5'8", 192 and turned 30 in his rookie season in the majors. The average height of a Japanese adult male in 2023 is 5"7.2'. Does size have anything to do withJapanese player's success in the majors?
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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There haven't been many Japanese players who became stars in MLB but look at Ohtani: he's 6'4, 211 lbs and began his MLB career at age 23. Ichiro was 5'11, 175 lbs when he began playing in the majors at age 27, Yoshida is 5'8", 192 and turned 30 in his rookie season in the majors. The average height of a Japanese adult male in 2023 is 5"7.2'. Does size have anything to do withJapanese player's success in the majors?
Both of these guys are All Stars and league MVPs...



I don't think size has a significant impact on player success, Japanese or otherwise. Skill is skill.
 

dhappy42

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Both of these guys are All Stars and league MVPs...



I don't think size has a significant impact on player success, Japanese or otherwise. Skill is skill.
Size definitely matters. The average US male is 5’9”. The average MLB player is 6’2”. For pitchers, it’s nearly 6’3”.
 

cannonball 1729

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Wonder if this is a fatigue thing.. Its his first season stateside... ( IIRC baseball seasons in Japan are 144 games vs the 162 in MLB) (also he played in a bunch of games in the WBC before the season)
Yeah - the NPBL season has fewer games and takes place over roughly the same amount of time as an MLB season, which means that the games are more spaced out. Pretty much every Monday is an off-day, as well as many Thursdays.

Yoshida also hasn't played a full 143-game season since 2019. 2020 was a Covid-shortened 120-game season, and in 2021 and 2022 he only played 112 and 121 games, respectively. He's played 111 so far in 2023, and it's still August.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Size definitely matters. The average US male is 5’9”. The average MLB player is 6’2”. For pitchers, it’s nearly 6’3”.
Right, but it's not prohibitive to success, which seemed to be the implication of the post I responded to. If Dustin Pedroia and Jose Altuve can win MVPs and have borderline Hall of Fame careers at their (below average) height, it suggests that skill can be an overriding factor to size.
 

jon abbey

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Mookie Betts also listed at 5’9”, 180, he seems to be doing ok.
 

Remagellan

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Wonder if this is a fatigue thing.. Its his first season stateside... ( IIRC baseball seasons in Japan are 144 games vs the 162 in MLB) (also he played in a bunch of games in the WBC before the season)
This is a very smart take that often gets overlooked in these discussions: these guys are human beings, and not everyone adjusts the same to a big change like that. And factoring in all the innings he played in the WBC was very sharp as well.

It looks like Ohtani might be shut down from pitching for while due to arm fatigue, which might be another WBC-related development. (Not that I'd be for scrapping the tournament, because it was great.)
 

nvalvo

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If what we have in Yoshida is a LF/DH who can be a good middle of the order bat for 135 games a season, that's fine.
 

reggiecleveland

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Enough pure skill can override a size issue but both matter.
There are ideal sizes for sports. Being undersized creates disadvantages that take extra skill or talent to overcome. I was frequently annoyed by the idea that Pedroia was just a normal a guy who worked his ass off. His had eye talent had to be at the upper end of all athletes ever. I can't find it but I read something that his reactioin time, hand eye skill was up their with Ted Williams. The article also noted since Ted was 6'3 he was the best hitter ever while Pedroia was a tier 2 HOF candidate.
 
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iddoc

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If what we have in Yoshida is a LF/DH who can be a good middle of the order bat for 135 games a season, that's fine.
Perhaps he would wear down less if he spent more time at DH. Of course this would make retaining Turner complicated.
 

soxhop411

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This is a very smart take that often gets overlooked in these discussions: these guys are human beings, and not everyone adjusts the same to a big change like that. And factoring in all the innings he played in the WBC was very sharp as well.

It looks like Ohtani might be shut down from pitching for while due to arm fatigue, which might be another WBC-related development. (Not that I'd be for scrapping the tournament, because it was great.)
Also, there are no huge time zone differences when traveling in Japan.. Not so for MLB away games... Especially now that there is the unbalanced schedule
 

SoFloSoxFan

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There are ideal sizes for sports. Being undersized creates disadvantages that take extra skill or talent to overcome. I was frequently annoyed by the idea that Pedroia was just an oatmeal guy who worked his ass off. His hand eye talent had to be at the upper end of all athletes ever. I can't find it but I read something that his reaction time, hand eye skill was up there with Ted Williams. The article also noted since Ted was 6'3 he was the best hitter ever while Pedroia was a tier 2 HOF candidate.
This is what I meant to say if I were a better poster.
 

zenax

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Right, but it's not prohibitive to success, which seemed to be the implication of the post I responded to. If Dustin Pedroia and Jose Altuve can win MVPs and have borderline Hall of Fame careers at their (below average) height, it suggests that skill can be an overriding factor to size.
Of course there are great ballplayers who aren't tall. Just look at Eddie Gaedel, who 'retired' with a 1.000 OPB. What I was trying to say is that it might matter when a short player begins competing against taller ones. If you begin playing at an early age against players with a height advantage and you have the talent, it probably is easier to adapt than if you begin that situation when you are 30 years old. There's also a heck of a difference between facing pitchers who are 5'8" and 6'4"; one of them has a release point a bit closer to the plate.

I grew up in a very small town, two-room school, 8-grades, and the only way we could get two teams was for kids as young as 3rd-graders playing and girls. We played slow-pitch softball as soon as the field dried out after the winter until snow began again and I got to be a very good hitter. Once I got to high school, I played some baseball and was still a good hitter, a good average but not the power because of the difference in pitch speed. Sometime later when I was in the service overseas, the base I was at had a fast-pitch softball tournament with teams from other bases. One of the units on my base had an exceptional pitcher, who gave up one hit in a doubleheader in the tournament. The only way I could get a bat on one of his pitches was to take a wide-open stance in the front of the box and just hit with my wrists. Maybe if I grew up batting against him, I would have figured out how hit his pitching. And maybe not.
 

Marciano490

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There are ideal sizes for sports. Being undersized creates disadvantages that take extra skill or talent to overcome. I was frequently annoyed by the idea that Pedroia was just a normal a guy who worked his ass off. His had eye talent had to be at the upper end of all athletes ever. I can't find it but I read something that his reactioin time, hand eye skill was up their with Ted Williams. The article also noted since Ted was 6'3 he was the best hitter ever while Pedroia was a tier 2 HOF candidate.
It’s always amused me what people think of when they think of “athlete” versus the actual meaningful skills. Hand eye coordination and reflexes are so much more important than almost anything else. Or with Ted, eyesight.
 

reggiecleveland

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It’s always amused me what people think of when they think of “athlete” versus the actual meaningful skills. Hand eye coordination and reflexes are so much more important than almost anything else. Or with Ted, eyesight.
I agree. I am a hoops guy and people see talent as jumping and quickness. I was just working with a high school kid who could go in dunk contests with college kids, but his touch is awful, and it isn't his fault. He works really hard, but can't finish around the rim. I coach another kid, (you guys watched him when my games streamed) who is the best shooter I have been around. But, since he is not big leaper and around 6' people say he isn't an athlete. This kid works hard, but I have coached a 100 kids that work that hard, I worked that hard or harder myself. But, none of the rest of us ever shot the ball like this guy. The first kid will never be as valuable as the second kid.
 
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LogansDad

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I've been trying to spend more time doing actual analysis on things than talking out of my butt lately, since I've retired from the military and am currently on winter break from school, and I think data analysis of some sort is what I want to do with my life once I graduate.

I've been working on a spreadsheet dealing with league wide batter projections for 2023, which has been a lot of fun, but I've been focused on Yoshida this morning because coming up with any kind of projection for him is hard, especially since he was such an outlier in his league that it's really difficult to say "The Japanese Pacific League had this K rate and MLB had this K rate, so let's just regress it similarly". What I decided to do was increase his K rate and decrease his walk rate pretty drastically, while also regressing his BABIP all the way to MLB average, which was nearly a 40 point drop.

What I ended up with for a 600 PA size was: .275/.366/.430/.796, with 31 doubles and 16 home runs. That said, those numbers are probably a little aggressive, BUT the JPPL has a really low home run rate compared to MLB, so I wouldn't be surprised if the front office thinks his power will play up some over here.

Needless to say, if he comes close to those numbers I think most of us would be pretty happy with his addition to the team.
I vaguely remembered making this post back in the offseason, and am surprised at how close it's looking to be. Overestimated the OBP and under on the AVG and SLG by a little, but he has 15 HR and just hit his 31st double today.
 

ngruz25

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https://blogs.fangraphs.com/a-contact-wizard-is-here-to-help-the-red-sox-and-their-outfield/

Big variance in projections, but a very positive review of the Sox new leftfielder.

And, dare to dream:

"What’s really interesting are those percentile projections. Yoshida’s 95th percentile 2023 season is ridiculous. A .357 batting average? Thirty-one home runs? It’s a season that would be enshrined in baseball lore."

I'd sign up for that 50th percentile season right now.

View attachment 58712
After reading the above post, I was curious about the ZIPS projections that had us all excited. Yoshida is super close to the 20% projection.
 

dhappy42

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Is Yoshida really that bad a defender? Weak arm, but only 3 errors. How much does playing half of games in Fenway's left field affect defensive rating stats like UZR? Verdugo went from -10.1 UZR in 2022 when he mostly played LF to +3.6 UZR this year playing RF.
 

YTF

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Is Yoshida really that bad a defender? Weak arm, but only 3 errors. How much does playing half of games in Fenway's left field affect defensive rating stats like UZR? Verdugo went from -10.1 UZR in 2022 when he mostly played LF to +3.6 UZR this year playing RF.
I'm not well versed in different metrics, but Verdugo was nursing a foot injury last season that many believe is the reason for the big improvement.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I’m pretty skeptical of defensive stats (except when they confirm my bias- kinda joking) but the LF in Fenway penalizes anyone. JBJ in his prime would appear weak out there.
That said…. He’s not good from the eye-test…. But not horrible IMO. Seriously…. There might be 1 ball he can’t get to over a week that a good fielder could…. And maybe one of those per every few weeks REALLY hurts.
I just don’t think he is hurting the outcomes of games as much as the stats may implicate. I’d like to see Duran in LF (Or Abreu) with only Yoshida getting 40% time out there as the DH the other 60%
 

derekson

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Is Yoshida really that bad a defender? Weak arm, but only 3 errors. How much does playing half of games in Fenway's left field affect defensive rating stats like UZR? Verdugo went from -10.1 UZR in 2022 when he mostly played LF to +3.6 UZR this year playing RF.
He has no range in the outfield; it's not a Fenway artifact.
 

kazuneko

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He has no range in the outfield; it's not a Fenway artifact.
Unless the Red Sox trade a bunch of outfielders in the offseason, it looks like Yoshida will be the DH next year. Even without him in the OF the Sox look like they have four guys who deserve regular OF ABs, and all play better defense than Masa: Verdugo, Duran, Rafaela and Abreu.
That’s why retaining Turner seems like a nonstarter. Half the lineup is atrocious defensively (Devers, Yoshida and Casas’s issues are well known but Duran -in CF at least- needs to be added to the list) and we have a bunch of young bats that need ABs.
 

pjheff

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That’s why retaining Turner seems like a nonstarter. Half the lineup is atrocious defensively (Devers, Yoshida and Casas’s issues are well known but Duran -in CF at least- needs to be added to the list) and we have a bunch of young bats that need ABs.
Yet this team is so lefty dominant that it will be difficult to balance the lineup without its best RH bat (and very possibly Duvall). It’s hard to face tough southpaws when your only regular right handed bats are your middle infield and catcher with Refsnyder platooning.
 

Fishy1

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Yet this team is so lefty dominant that it will be difficult to balance the lineup without its best RH bat (and very possibly Duvall). It’s hard to face tough southpaws when your only regular right handed bats are your middle infield and catcher with Refsnyder platooning.
Yoshida has a pretty neutral split (800 vs 740), for what it's worth. Duvall's split is even more neutral for his career.

On the other hand, Wong's split has been a reverse split since he came to the big leagues, at least. So he actually makes things tougher.
 

nvalvo

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Getting *anything* from Story and Urías would really help in this department.

I think this is where the Trade Verdugo energy comes from: he’s the LHH it would be easiest to move on from, especially because Duvall makes so much sense as a replacement.

We should probably have a thread to brainstorm RHH targets and think about how they might fit into the roster.
 

jbupstate

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Yoshida has a pretty neutral split (800 vs 740), for what it's worth. Duvall's split is even more neutral for his career.

On the other hand, Wong's split has been a reverse split since he came to the big leagues, at least. So he actually makes things tougher.
I was looking at Duvall on B-ref today and noticed they had him listed as LF/1B. Probably hasn’t played there in forever but would be an option to spell Casas against really tough lefties.
 

JM3

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I was looking at Duvall on B-ref today and noticed they had him listed as LF/1B. Probably hasn’t played there in forever but would be an option to spell Casas against really tough lefties.
Duvall has 263.1 career innings at 1st. Most recently in 2018.
 

kazuneko

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I think this is where the Trade Verdugo energy comes from: he’s the LHH it would be easiest to move on from, especially because Duvall makes so much sense as a replacement.
But that ignores the fact tact this team is atrocious defensively and Verdugo is the team’s best fielder. No, if they are trading a LH outfielder they should trade Duran.
He should have more value than Verdugo and trading him will rid the team of at least one of their defensive problems.
 

Chainsaw318

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I was looking at Duvall on B-ref today and noticed they had him listed as LF/1B. Probably hasn’t played there in forever but would be an option to spell Casas against really tough lefties.
Casas may end up being okay against lefties, and worth keeping in the lineup relative to some others with splits, though the samples not big.

Ended the year with 97 PA’s against lefties and though he hit .215 and stuck out over 30%, had a .361 OBP and .456 SLG, for a 122 WRC+
 

jbupstate

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Casas may end up being okay against lefties, and worth keeping in the lineup relative to some others with splits, though the samples not big.

Ended the year with 97 PA’s against lefties and though he hit .215 and stuck out over 30%, had a .361 OBP and .456 SLG, for a 122 WRC+
I was looking through the lens of it having any 1B in the system and having to potentially keep Dalbec as injury insurance.

I don’t think either Duvall or Dalbec are the answers. But Duvall is RH pop and can play the OF… very versatile if he can competently play 1B.
 

chawson

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This is a complex conversation but if the Padres are shedding payroll and are trading Soto, I think now's probably the time to strike and sign him long-term. I prefer him to Ohtani or Yamamoto.

That's not especially relevant to this backup 1B conversation except that I'd be interested in taking Jake Cronenworth (7/$80) in exchange, which is something not every team can offer. BTV has Soto and Cronenworth for Yorke as a massive overpay by Boston, but they'll obviously need something substantive in any Soto return and there will be bidders.
 

chrisfont9

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But that ignores the fact tact this team is atrocious defensively and Verdugo is the team’s best fielder. No, if they are trading a LH outfielder they should trade Duran.
He should have more value than Verdugo and trading him will rid the team of at least one of their defensive problems.
If Verdugo is a negative part of the team culture, which I can't say definitively but kinda seems like it, then I don't care about his defensive value. We need a different team to show up in spring. This year's edition would fight for stretches but then the fight would drain out of them. I'm willing to take my chances with others. Hell, we probably aren't much more than a year away from Roman Anthony at this rate.
 

BigSoxFan

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This is a complex conversation but if the Padres are shedding payroll and are trading Soto, I think now's probably the time to strike and sign him long-term. I prefer him to Ohtani or Yamamoto.

That's not especially relevant to this backup 1B conversation except that I'd be interested in taking Jake Cronenworth (7/$80) in exchange, which is something not every team can offer. BTV has Soto and Cronenworth for Yorke as a massive overpay by Boston, but they'll obviously need something substantive in any Soto return and there will be bidders.
I love Soto’s bat but isn’t the issue that he’s unlikely to sign a long-term deal before FA? His road OPS of 1.040 is a good indicator that Petco has suppressed his numbers quite a bit. But he’s the type of guy I would go big for. Perfect swing for Fenway and young. Defense stinks but stick him in LF and DH Masa. Or, could rotate them. Lineup would be very LF-heavy but there would be some serious talent.
 

jon abbey

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I love Soto’s bat but isn’t the issue that he’s unlikely to sign a long-term deal before FA?
Yes, he is a Boras client who already turned down 15/440 (!!!!) when he was 2 1/2 years from FA in mid-2022, so WAS traded him to SD.
 

moondog80

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This is a complex conversation but if the Padres are shedding payroll and are trading Soto, I think now's probably the time to strike and sign him long-term. I prefer him to Ohtani or Yamamoto.
Agree.

If the Padres are trying to shed payroll but still contend, they will want minimum salary players who can be at least average producers now. I'd think guys like Abreu, Valdez, Houck, and Duran would interest them. Not that it would take all 4 of those guys to get one year of Soto.

Would be poetic if they traded Abreu and Valdez for for him.
 
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E5 Yaz

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This team has some many holes to fill that bundling prospects to get Soto for one year does not seem like an optimal use of resources

Soto projects as the perfect RF for the Yankees, where his defensive issues will be somewhat negated by the short field
 

BigSoxFan

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Verdugo would probably go for them to stay competitive.

If Soto is here long term, where does that put Anthony in our future?
LF: Soto
CF: Rafaela
RF: Anthony

Sign me up. Don’t know about Anthony’s arm though.
 

moondog80

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This team has some many holes to fill that bundling prospects to get Soto for one year does not seem like an optimal use of resources
There are prospects, and there are prospects. The guys I mentioned might not fit into the long term or short term plan. They're not the level of Anthony/Mayer/Teel.

I'd also think you don't trade for Soto without a clear plan to sign him.
 

LogansDad

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There is no universe that Soto isn't going to free agency. Unless they completely swindle tge Padres, I would much ptefer waiting until next year to go after him when it's just money and a draft pick.
 

E5 Yaz

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There are prospects, and there are prospects. The guys I mentioned might not fit into the long term or short term plan. They're not the level of Anthony/Mayer/Teel.

I'd also think you don't trade for Soto without a clear plan to sign him.
I understand that, but I'd rather use that level of prospects to bolster the starting rotation