The Mariners are right to consider Masataka Yoshida

On Sunday, the Mariners have been linked to Orix Buffaloes star outfielder Masataka Yoshida by MLB Network reporter Jon Morosi.

The 29-year-old star from Nippon Professional Baseball is probably going the highest worldwide skilled free agent available on the market this winter, with a staggering observe document of hitting on the planet’s second-strongest skilled league. Although accidents held him again within the 2016-17 seasons, Yoshida has been one of the vital constant hitters in Japan since coming into the league, with an OPS over .950 in every of the previous 5 seasons. It is up to the Buffaloes as to whether or not they submit Yoshida or not, as they management his contract for another season, nevertheless given Yoshida has telegraphed his need to come stateside, Orix might recoup some thousands and thousands of {dollars} in a posting payment this yr, as opposed to receiving nothing ought to they maintain him for one more season. The deadline to determine on in the event that they submit him is December fifth, and will he be given go away to pursue MLB, he needs to be on the Mariners’ radar.

Yoshida’s main expertise are a sensational mixture of bat/barrel management and pitch choice. Since 2018, Yoshida has 368 walks in 2,675 plate appearances, good for a 13.8% stroll charge that’s extraordinarily spectacular. What’s extra hanging is that in that very same time interval he is simply struck out 235 occasions, for a microscopic 8.8% strikeout charge. The solely certified MLB hitter who whiffed that not often this yr was Luis Arraez, and unsurprisingly like Arraez, Yoshida has a batting title to his title, taking residence the Pacific League title in each 2020 and 2021 earlier than seeing his .335 line bested by Go Matsumoto in 2022.

Setting Yoshida aside, nevertheless, is his balanced offensive skillset, because the 29-year-old native of Fukui, Japan led the Pacific League by a dramatic margin in OBP (.449) and OPS (1.008), numbers solely surpassed by Tokyo’s Yakult Swallows’ famous person, Munetaka Murakami. The lefty-hitting Yoshida has carried out on the worldwide stage as effectively. Listed at simply 5’8, 176, Yoshida completely has shocking energy for his dimension. His swing stands out for distinctive potential to regulate to a pitch the place it’s hit, though I’m barely cautious his pull-side energy might be curtailed considerably by stronger velocity.

If Seattle believes Yoshida’s sport will translate, and I believe they are right to suppose it could, what may they count on to get? A leadoff hitter looks as if the best, maybe most hopeful final result.

The pleasure of the emergence of Julio Rodríguez, American League Rookie of the Year, is sort of countless in its sides. One of his extra apparent boons to the Seattle Mariners in 2022 was his apparent brilliance because the membership’s hitter who was assured probably the most alternatives per sport for a lot of the season. In 254 plate appearances because the M’s leadoff hitter, Julio’s 169 wRC+ was the perfect of any leadoff hitter (min. 250 PAs) in all of MLB, simply forward of Jose Altuve. Too typically, nevertheless, the M’s offense fell wanting its “ominous” preseason hopes laid out by Jerry Dipoto, rating a below-average 18th in runs per sport regardless of a 107 wRC+ that ranked eighth in MLB and a 14th-ranked crew wOBA. Affording Julio a high-OBP leadoff man forward of him that enables the M’s to slot their famous person in on the No. 2 gap appears best, and considerably akin to what the M’s hoped they may get from Jesse Winker and/or Adam Frazier.

In all honesty, I see a little bit of Frazier in Yoshida’s swing, but the pint-sized Japanese star creates far better torque than Frazer, producing superior velocity and sharper contact. Unfortunately, “higher hitting Adam Frazier” is just acceptable should you are enjoying up the center on the infield dust, and Yoshida is fairly securely slotted into left area defensively. I’ll confess to you, beloved reader (sure you), that I’ve solely seen just a few full video games of Yoshida, and in none of them did he make any evident errors, an evaluation ostensibly backed up by his good fielding proportion this season . That stated, his foot velocity is below-average as is his vary, and his arm is likewise.

In essence, then, Yoshida has a really comparable profile to one other participant the Mariners at the moment have of their make use of: Jesse Winker. If Yoshida can preserve his high quality OBP and a few semblance of his slugging – say 15-18 residence run energy – whereas working a excessive batting common by spraying singles and doubles as he is performed in Japan for over half a decade, he might simply outperform Winker or any of Seattle’s different present outfielders. However, it is a longshot to count on him to match the perfect model of Winker, who has a observe document as one of many league’s finest hitters and stays younger sufficient to justify a bounce-back if the crew trusts him and his well being. Given that Seattle reportedly desires to add “one to two outfielders,” nevertheless, that doesn’t seem to be a given, and Yoshida’s higher echelon of potential on the plate is in step with Winker and different bats available on the market they have been linked to like Brandon Nimmoalbeit with comparable defensive shortcomings to Winker.

A remaining level in favor of Yoshida is his lack of draft decide compensation hooked up. As a world free agent, he prices Seattle nothing however candy candy money. If we wish to mission much more aggressively into our issues, Yoshida additionally presents the Mariners one other potential crack on the reward of draft decide compensation as they may obtain for having had Rodríguez on their Opening Day roster and seeing him win the Rookie of the Year award . This is contingent on a number of components, in fact, together with the place the opposite large worldwide free agent, RHP Kodai Senga, indicators, in addition to if Yoshida earns “prime prospect” standing from MLB’s considerably opaque calculation of varied prime prospect rankings, in addition to clearly the efficiency of Yoshida relative to gamers like INF Gunnar Henderson and RHP Grayson Rodriguez in Baltimore, in addition to C Gabriel Moreno in Toronto simply to title just a few. If the M’s are comfy including Yoshida whereas staying out there for different top-tier upgrades on the infield dust, I believe he is greater than price their consideration.

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