Before he even made his debut, the word “overpaid” was attached to him like a tag. But that’s no longer the case for Masataka Yoshida (Boston Red Sox). He’s in the midst of a dazzling season that has even earned him the title of Rookie of the Year.
Yoshida was drafted by the Orix Buffaloes in the first round of the 2015 Nippon Professional Baseball Draft. Expectations were high for Yoshida, as evidenced by his selection, and he’s certainly lived up to them. In his rookie season, Yoshida started to break out, hitting .290 with 10 home runs and a .854 OPS in 67 games.
In 2017, his second year, Yoshida began to improve and earned a starting spot, and in 2018, his first full season of play, he began to dominate the Japanese scene, never posting an OPS below 0.900. As a result, he earned a call-up to the major leagues after finishing his career with 884 hits, 133 home runs, a .327 OPS and a .960 OPS in 762 games.
After his breakout performance in Japan, expectations were high that he would receive a big contract. However, the Boston Red Sox’s offer for Yoshida exceeded expectations. The Red Sox offered Yoshida, who was unproven at the major league level, a massive five-year, $90 million contract and put their stamp of approval on the deal.
Boston’s signing of Yoshida made a lot of noise. Because of the large amount of money Boston offered. Before the lid was even lifted, Yoshida was labeled an “overpayment”. Senior Boston executives even took the unusual step of speaking to local media and reporters to clarify that Yoshida’s contract was not an “overpayment”.
Yoshida scoffed at the “overpayment” label early in the season. However, starting on April 4 against the Pittsburgh Pirates, his batting average began to drop noticeably, and by the time the season ended on April 19 against the Minnesota Twins, his batting average had plummeted to .167. However, this was only a temporary slump and an adjustment period.
Yoshida shook off the injury and began to regain his batting touch, raising his average by “more than a percentage point” in just 10 games. After the start of May, his batting average rose to a high of .321, and he was hot for the month, hitting .351 with 34 doubles, three home runs, and a .962 OPS. He then failed to produce a hit in the first game of June, but has continued his good feelings with a hit in each of his last three games.
As you can see from his stats, Yoshida has had a very successful major league career. If he continues on his current path, he could become the second 스포츠토토 player in 22 years to win the Rookie of the Year title after the “legendary” Ichiro Suzuki. He is also approaching Ichiro in terms of actual performance. Recently, Yoshida achieved something that hasn’t happened since Ichiro.
According to NESN on Friday, the Boston-based network, Yoshida is the first player since Ichiro in 2001 to strike out 25 or fewer times in his first 50 games in the majors since the turn of the 21st century, while making 85 or more plate appearances. Ichiro had 83 hits, 12 walks (8 BB, 4 HR) and 14 strikeouts in 50 games in his rookie season, while Yoshida has 61 hits, 26 walks (23 BB, 3 HR) and 22 strikeouts.
After five days of play, Yoshida is batting .318 on the season, which ranks second in the American League. He’s one run behind first-place Bo Bissett (Toronto Blue Jays, .329). Yoshida has already matched Ichiro’s rookie season through 50 games. Now, Yoshida is in the hunt for both the Rookie of the Year and the Batting Championship.