Red Sox sign Masataka Yoshida

chrisfont9

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I guess the question is do we trust Bloom's/ the Sox's talent evaluation on how well Yoshida is going to make the transition to MLB to warrant blowing everyone out of the water like this and going to $90M? The NPB highlights and stats are one thing, but the history of players making the jump overall isn't good, and it doesn't look like he'll have a lot of defensive value either.

I guess this looks like a better move at less $; I really hope we're not dealing with Rusney Castillo 2.0...
They have an army of people looking deeply into this. On the other side, you have some unnamed sources who may or may not have ever taken a look at Yoshida saying "meh, too much money," a take that is getting overcome by events. So either we trust Bloom to have done all you can to project what a Japanese player can do in the majors, changing both his baseball environment and his entire life, and if they are right then it looks like a smart contract compared to the alternatives (Nimmo at $160m or trading the farm for Reynolds). Or you just give up on the team doing anything right. But it's definitely a projection, and we won't know if it will succeed until it does or doesn't.
 

chrisfont9

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I really, really hope he gets off to a good start, because if he doesn't hit in April, he is going to be a target for the media and a lot of fans as the symbol of how Bloom screwed up the offseason.
He might weirdly get a pass because people are going to be so bitter and miserable that they'll hate everything, so when he starts hitting it will be a pleasant surprise.
 

Yo La Tengo

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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.

58712
 

Max Power

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All those projections seem to be wildly optimistic on the SLG side. I wouldn't be too surprised with a 300 BA and 380 OBP, though.
 

scottyno

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Something isn't adding up. We have that fangraphs projection of his average rookie season being around 3 WAR, and we also have experts saying they expected him to get less than 10m a year in free agency. We also have those same people saying the Sox wildly overpaid. One of those has to be wildly wrong.

If he actually is a 3 WAR player his rookie year then they didn't overpay at all, in fact they got a bargain.
 

Scoops Bolling

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Seriously, even that 30th percentile outcome would be a perfectly good debut season. Is ZiPS running a straight MLE translation, or what is the comparison set used for those projections?
 

Marciano490

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Key point in that article:



...welp, Nimmo ended up getting 8 years /$162 million, coming off a career year in which he hit *checks notes* 16 HRs. It seems pretty clear that the Red Sox aren't the only ones who underestimated the market this year. Contracts getting thrown around are insane.
Honest question - is missing a top end prognostication by 10% considered a big fail? Even if they underestimated the top end of the market by 10%, that doesn’t really undermine their claim Yoshida is vastly overpaid. Maybe just by 40 instead of 50%.
 

rodderick

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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
I'd be pretty happy with the 30% one to be honest. That OBP at the leadoff spot?
 

BeantownIdaho

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Some interesting notes...
The stadium he played in the last number of years has a deeper right and left field (not factoring the monster).... center/left/right center are comparable
Without the shift this year, many in Japan are saying he will get more hits.
Great eye for the ball which doesn't really matter in Japan or US.
A few of his highlight shots were off of Senga

I think he will be fine in left as his shallow speed is average but his deep ball defense is below average. His arm strength will be suitable for left. He needs to get to Boston early and start learning to play the wall. If he does he will be fine. Much worse defenders have been hidden in left.
 

OCD SS

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They have an army of people looking deeply into this. On the other side, you have some unnamed sources who may or may not have ever taken a look at Yoshida saying "meh, too much money," a take that is getting overcome by events. So either we trust Bloom to have done all you can to project what a Japanese player can do in the majors, changing both his baseball environment and his entire life, and if they are right then it looks like a smart contract compared to the alternatives (Nimmo at $160m or trading the farm for Reynolds). Or you just give up on the team doing anything right. But it's definitely a projection, and we won't know if it will succeed until it does or doesn't.
I guess I want to consider the "army of people looking deeply into this" appeal to authority. I mean, I think we both agree that no one has this figured out, and it's certainly fair to trust the Sox more than a writer who's never seen him in person, but I'd be very curious to know how he was scouted in Japan, how the analytics translate, and just how many people are looking at this.

The market forces are another issue entirely; was anyone else even close on him? I don't begrudge him getting paid, but this feels a bit like a Dombrowski-style step in to overpay to make this happen (which is a bit ironic given what happened later on that night).
 

chrisfont9

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I guess I want to consider the "army of people looking deeply into this" appeal to authority. I mean, I think we both agree that no one has this figured out, and it's certainly fair to trust the Sox more than a writer who's never seen him in person, but I'd be very curious to know how he was scouted in Japan, how the analytics translate, and just how many people are looking at this.

The market forces are another issue entirely; was anyone else even close on him? I don't begrudge him getting paid, but this feels a bit like a Dombrowski-style step in to overpay to make this happen (which is a bit ironic given what happened later on that night).
Yeah, what's in the black box. I suppose we might get some reporting on this but not sure. As to the price, we can't be mad about them making a successful preemptive strike (that looks smart a few days later) and be mad about them not doing that for Bogaerts. I suspect the two experiences are related: By Tuesday Bloom now says the Sox knew they would be overwhelmed by others in the Bogey market, so he probably saw where they had to go if they really wanted Yoshida.
 

ponch73

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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
Genuinely curious ... how much stock should we put in the ZiPS projection for Yoshida when it didn't accurately peg Seiya Suzuki?

ZiPS projected Suzuki for .287 / .351 / .480. He put up .262 / .336 / .433.

What makes Yoshida less susceptible to the drop-off that Suzuki just experienced? Why shouldn't we adjust the 50th percentile projection down accordingly from .305 / .372 / .489 to .275 / .342 / .440 or thereabouts?
 
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radsoxfan

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Fangraphs had Senga ranked as the #18 FA with median crowdsource of 4/60. He tacked on a year at the same AAV (plus an opt out) and went for 5/75.

Fangraphs (and many others) didn't have Yoshida in their top 50 Free Agents yet we gave him 5/90. That's honestly concerning.

In the end, it only matters if he's good. Like reaching for a projected 4th rounder in the 2nd round of the NFL draft. Not good for the draft grade, but otherwise you need to see how it plays out.

Does Chaim and the scouting department get the benefit of the doubt here? At the moment, probably not.
 

jon abbey

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Actually it's a kind of exciting test case for those attempting to form judgment on Bloom in BOS, Chaim is likely going to end up looking really really good on this one or really really bad.

To me the best comp seems like Benintendi, that is the deal (not signed yet) and the results that should be compared to Yoshida's. I am not a Benintendi believer especially coming off another hamate injury, so if those were my choices at the same money this winter (and I have been watching the LF market pretty carefully, NY has an opening there too), I would take Yoshida.
 

scottyno

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Fangraphs had Senga ranked as the #18 FA with median crowdsource of 4/60. He tacked on a year at the same AAV (plus an opt out) and went for 5/75.

Fangraphs (and many others) didn't have Yoshida in their top 50 Free Agents yet we gave him 5/90. That's honestly concerning.
Didn't they not have him in the top 50 because when they made the list they didn't think he was going to come over this year? I mean they have guys on that list with projected contracts of 1 year and less than 10m, I think it's safe to say they'd rank Yoshida above that.
 

radsoxfan

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Didn't they not have him in the top 50 because when they made the list they didn't think he was going to come over this year? I mean they have guys on that list with projected contracts of 1 year and less than 10m, I think it's safe to say they'd rank Yoshida above that.
Not sure about Fangraphs, but Keith Law also specifically said Yoshida wasn't is in his top 50 FA rankings despite being eligible.

It seems quite clear the Red Sox overpaid significantly related to the market. Without this deal, sounds like maybe 3/40-ish was a likely landing zone?

If he is good none of this matters and the contract will look fine (or good). But hard to look at it now as anything but a very clear overpay.
 

radsoxfan

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Actually it's a kind of exciting test case for those attempting to form judgment on Bloom in BOS, Chaim is likely going to end up looking really really good on this one or really really bad.

To me the best comp seems like Benintendi, that is the deal (not signed yet) and the results that should be compared to Yoshida's. I am not a Benintendi believer especially coming off another hamate injury, so if those were my choices at the same money this winter (and I have been watching the LF market pretty carefully, NY has an opening there too), I would take Yoshida.
Seems reasonable.... though what are the chances Benintendi gets 5/90M (not to mention a 15M posting fee on top of that)?

I suppose it's possible he gets 90M but I'd definitely take the under on that one.
 

nvalvo

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Genuinely curious ... how much stock should we put in the ZiPS projection for Yoshida when it didn't accurately peg Seiya Suzuki?

ZiPS projected Suzuki for .287 / .351 / .480. He put up .262 / .336 / .433.

What makes Yoshida less susceptible to the drop-off that Suzuki just experienced? Why shouldn't we adjust the 50th percentile projection down accordingly from .305 / .372 / .489 to .275 / .342 / .440 or thereabouts?
Suzuki had a weird season, FWIW.

He began completely torrid, then cooled off somewhat, then jammed a finger on a slide at the end of May, missed a month, and then scuffled for about six weeks after returning, but then, got hot again and was excellent (.860ish OPS) for the last six weeks. Without the injury, he might have gotten pretty close to the ZIPS. No doubt there was some adjusting and counter-adjusting to the league, but the injury didn't help. At any rate, he finished strong, and I feel pretty bullish on his future.
 

jon abbey

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Seems reasonable.... though what are the chances Benintendi gets 5/90M (not to mention a 15M posting fee on top of that)?

I suppose it's possible he gets 90M but I'd definitely take the under on that one.
Yeah, we'll see pretty soon about the contract part. Benintendi is almost exactly one year younger, both are small LFers at 5'8" and 5'9" who are contact over power at this point. Benintendi is probably better defensively but he is only OK at this point, I think. Yoshida is presumably healthier right now, with Benintendi coming back from hamate issues a second time.

The pretty meaningless intangible on Benny as you guys know better than me is that he has to be one of the most effective and entertaining divers in the history of the sport, both in LF (yes you can link it) and flying through the air trying to score a run, he seems to end up fully horizontal effortlessly. That is pretty damn entertaining every few weeks but I am not hoping for his return to NY.
 

ponch73

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Love Brantley. He hits lefties as well as righties, doesn't strike out, and would just rake at Fenway (as he has everywhere). Doesn't have to DH full-time. He can certainly handle LF, especially at home.
I'm on board with this. Brantley has a .366 / .392 / .570 career slash line in Fenway. But it is worth noting that his career OPS is 150 points higher vs righties than lefties (.841 vs. .693), although the gap shrunk to 80 points in 2022, and the Red Sox lineup is already very left-heavy (Devers, Yoshida, Casas, Verdugo).
 

scottyno

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Not sure about Fangraphs, but Keith Law also specifically said Yoshida wasn't is in his top 50 FA rankings despite being eligible.

It seems quite clear the Red Sox overpaid significantly related to the market. Without this deal, sounds like maybe 3/40-ish was a likely landing zone?

If he is good none of this matters and the contract will look fine (or good). But hard to look at it now as anything but a very clear overpay.
Keith Law also said he had injury issues despite playing nearly every game for the last 5 seasons, so not sure I trust his analysis in this case
 

joe dokes

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Keith Law also said he had injury issues despite playing nearly every game for the last 5 seasons, so not sure I trust his analysis in this case
Keith Law said letting Henry/Werner buy the Red Sox would damage one of MLBs signature franchises. (the Red Sox).

Obviously, the more recent error is more important because it's a fact, not an opinion, but it's just too easy to let predictions, even ones deemed reliable, ruin the wintah. I still prefer to wait for actual ruination, rather than get angry and despondent over projected ruination.
 

simplicio

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Not sure about Fangraphs, but Keith Law also specifically said Yoshida wasn't is in his top 50 FA rankings despite being eligible.

It seems quite clear the Red Sox overpaid significantly related to the market. Without this deal, sounds like maybe 3/40-ish was a likely landing zone?

If he is good none of this matters and the contract will look fine (or good). But hard to look at it now as anything but a very clear overpay.
Do we have info on what other teams were bidding for him? Is it an overpay because the closest actual offer was 3/40, or because that's what fangraphs projected?
 

Philip Jeff Frye

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It has been speculated many times on this board that Bloom's plan last off season was to sign Suzuki to play right field, but then the Cubs outflanked him and we were left with the JBJ disaster. Anybody think the "overpay" for Yoshida is the result of Bloom saying, "I'm not going to let that happen again"?
 

bosockboy

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It has been speculated many times on this board that Bloom's plan last off season was to sign Suzuki to play right field, but then the Cubs outflanked him and we were left with the JBJ disaster. Anybody think the "overpay" for Yoshida is the result of Bloom saying, "I'm not going to let that happen again"?
That’s a solid bet. The Suzuki whiff and JD opting in really cratered last offseason.
 

deythur

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Keith Law also said he had injury issues despite playing nearly every game for the last 5 seasons, so not sure I trust his analysis in this case
Law also had Swanson as the #3 free agent ahead of Judge. If we are gonna get worked up about his rankings shouldn't we be more in on a Swanson signing? Lists are lists and there are always outliers on both sides.
 

johnlos

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I won't try to figure out where the games #'s came from but there are 143 games in the NPB regular season. Orix has thus played 143 games each of the last 5 regular seasons except the Covid-shortened 2020, when they had 120 regular season games. Yoshida played in every game (143, 143, 120) from 2018-2020, then missed some time in each of 2021 & 22, playing 110 & 119 respectively. This year he injured his left leg (hammy I think) on May 17th, was deactivated, came back on June 3rd, and then played more or less the entire 2nd half.
Thanks--was thinking of you when writing the post but figured ballpark figures were close enough. Largely confirms he missed the equivalent of 3, 15-day DL stints in the last 3 years after two completely healthy years. Doubling down on lazy Keith Law reporting.
 

teddywingman

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Just watching the videos:

I like his swing, but those projections on his power are ridiculous. I see a lot warning track fly balls.

Over/Under at 14.5 homeruns.
 

sezwho

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Just watching the videos:

I like his swing, but those projections on his power are ridiculous. I see a lot warning track fly balls.

Over/Under at 14.5 homeruns.
Definitely defer to better eyes than mine, but without a huge side of OBP that seems like a pretty rough outcome locked up in LF for years. I'm actually optimistic he will get on base, which as carry tools go is a pretty good one, but that's just the one tool. I'm sure its been linked before, but this Athletic piece had a couple interesting notes on him:
  • Very positive quote from article "The only major leaguers to come close to (t)his BB/K ratio in recent years are Joey Votto, Juan Soto, Victor Martinez and Alex Bregman.
  • More concerning quote: "One thing we do have access to, however, are Yoshida’s advanced defensive metrics, and they’re not great. Or even very good. He’s had negative defensive numbers across the board in every season, according to NPB Stats, regardless of metrics. If you’re distrustful of the metrics, here’s one that might convince you: He was a DH more than an outfielder this season."
Curious what we'll make of his reads and speed in front of the Monster and on the bases next season.
 

ehaz

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Definitely defer to better eyes than mine, but without a huge side of OBP that seems like a pretty rough outcome locked up in LF for years. I'm actually optimistic he will get on base, which as carry tools go is a pretty good one, but that's just the one tool. I'm sure its been linked before, but this Athletic piece had a couple interesting notes on him:
  • Very positive quote from article "The only major leaguers to come close to (t)his BB/K ratio in recent years are Joey Votto, Juan Soto, Victor Martinez and Alex Bregman.
  • More concerning quote: "One thing we do have access to, however, are Yoshida’s advanced defensive metrics, and they’re not great. Or even very good. He’s had negative defensive numbers across the board in every season, according to NPB Stats, regardless of metrics. If you’re distrustful of the metrics, here’s one that might convince you: He was a DH more than an outfielder this season."
Curious what we'll make of his reads and speed in front of the Monster and on the bases next season.
According to this scouting report, the metrics suggest he's better at tracking shallow balls vs deep balls. So if he figures out the Monster that bodes well for him sticking in LF.
  • "As a left fielder, teams could look for a way to maximize his abilities defensively. Over the last five years, Yoshida has totaled -15 DRS in 3,103 innings in left, averaging -3 DRS in around 600 innings per year (we judge NPB players using MLB out probabilities)."
  • "In the range and positioning component of DRS he has rated above-average on “shallow” plays in each year, while scoring negatively on “deep” plays in each year. If a team wants to use him in the outfield, they could dig deeper to determine how to optimally position him in left field in hopes of masking his deficiencies."
 

nvalvo

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Orix plays in a pretty big park, FWIW. The Kyocera Dome is a symmetrical park with 380 ft power alleys; that’s Fenway RF deep on both sides.

So some of those warning track shots at Kyocera are into the bullpen at Fenway, and a ton are XBH to left.
 

nvalvo

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Stadium overlaps are possible on this site: http://yakyujo.com/en/bu01/
Thank you! Very cool. It's not hard to see why the Pacific League is the pitchers' league over in NPB: all of the parks are gigantic.

This confirms my sense that while there are parts of Fenway that are deeper (the deepest parts of the triangle and the deep part of far right before it cuts sharply in towards the line and the Pesky Pole) than Kyocera, Kyocera also is considerably deeper in left. I wouldn't expect Yoshida to lose much SLG coming to the AL East, especially with the away parks (Camden, NYS) that are very friendly to LH power.

FWIW, it worked better for me in Chrome than in Safari.
 

Tokyo Sox

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Does anyone have a link to his splits?
If you mean L/R splits, a quick look only gives me this year's #'s, via https://baseball.yahoo.co.jp/npb/player/1500126/top:
This year in 290 ABs vs RHP he hit .324 with 16 HR & 31K:59BB
This year in 122 ABs vs LHP he hit .361 with 5 HR & 10K:21BB

For other normal splits, try here:
http://npbstats.com/players/db/batting/?wdt_search=106371

For everything but L/R (day or the week, day or night, vs opponents, in different parks) try here:
https://www.buffaloes.co.jp/team/player/detail/2023_7.html
 

E5 Yaz

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During today's press conference, Bloom said they see Yoshida primarily as the left fielder ... which means Verdugo in right on on his way out, I suppose
 

SouthernBoSox

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They could have had Rodon for 9 mil more AAV at similar term.

So yea, if he’s a bust it’s really bad.