When Boston signed a five-year contract with Yoshida Masataka (30), one of the best fielders in Japanese professional baseball, the local reaction was skeptical. Everyone acknowledged that he was an outfielder with the potential to perform well. However, many people tilted their heads at the investment amount of 90 million dollars (approximately 111.8 billion won).
Although he is a good player, the total investment of 90 million dollars and an annual average of 18 million dollars was too much. Local media criticized Boston for paying too much money, saying, “Other teams have not offered Yoshida that much.” However, if one projection’s prediction is correct, it may not necessarily be so.
On the 13th (Korean time), the official Major League homepage (MLB.com) selected the 12 most surprising players based on the 2023 predictions of the statistical projection ‘Steamer’. Yoshida, who was especially generously evaluated by ‘Steamer’, was also included on this list.
‘Steamer’ predicted that Yoshida would record a batting average of 0.298, an on-base percentage of 0.388, and an OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) of 0.867 in 2023. The expected adjusted goal production (wRC+) reached a whopping 140. ‘Steamer’ is based on the idea that Yoshida’s record in Japan will be used to a large extent even after coming to the major leagues. 메이저놀이터
MLB.com commented, “Despite his lack of big-league performance because he played in Nippon Professional Baseball, Steamer has high hopes for the 29-year-old left-handed outfielder.” It is second, followed by (estimated) on-base percentage, second only to Juan Soto. The expected OPS is the TOP 10 among all hitters in the major leagues, and Yoshida’s expected wRC+ 140 is the same as Bryce Harper and Paul Goldschmidt’, revealing surprise.
In fact, Bryce Harper, one of the league’s best outfielders, had a wRC+ of 145 last year. A score over 140 means a top grade. If you achieve this level of performance, an average of 18 million dollars per year can be a worthwhile investment as well as a business that leaves a lot to be desired.
For each projection, Yoshida’s expected performance in 2023 is somewhat mixed, but overall it is much warmer than the reaction of the local media. ‘Steamer’ was very generous, and ‘ZiPS’, another representative projection, expected a wRC+ of 131, albeit more conservatively. Even if it exceeds 1.3 million, it can be said that it is a successful recruitment.
However, ‘ZiPS’ predicted that Yoshida’s scoring production would continue to decline throughout the five years, dropping to a mediocre figure of 112 in the final year. The predictions of the projectionists are lowered by referring to the results of the Japanese professional baseball to a large extent and substituting them to the level of the major leagues. As it reflects the precedents of players who went from Japan to the United States, it is still unknown what kind of results Yoshida will achieve.