Are you going to heat up a bench for 124.2 billion won? The trials of Japan’s genius hitters

Masataka Yoshida (31-Boston), one of the best shifters in Nippon Professional Baseball, recently left the local media scratching their heads. The Red Sox never announced Yoshida’s injury. The coaching staff didn’t say anything either, but he didn’t appear in either game against Cleveland on April 18 and 19.

Yoshida is a left-handed hitter. If the opposing starter is a left-hander, he might be taken out of the lineup for platooning purposes. However, the Cleveland starter on both days was a right-hander. CBS Sports in the United States raised a question on the 19th. “Left-hander Masataka Yoshida was left out of the starting lineup for the second straight day, both times against right-handed pitching,” CBS Sports wrote, adding that “Boston has never said Yoshida was dealing with an injury.

On the 18th, it was speculated that Rafael Devers, who has been dealing with a bad knee lately, was batting designated hitter, which could have hurt Yoshida’s chances. However, on the 19th, with both Devers and Tyler O’Neill out, Yoshida remained on the bench. Local media pointed to Yoshida’s early-season batting slump as a reason he was out of contention. In reality, Yoshida has been struggling with his batting average since the start of the season.

In his first 18 games of the season, Yoshida is batting just .215 with a .282 on-base percentage, .292 slugging percentage, one home run, eight RBIs, and a .574 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage). He hasn’t been able to get his game going. In his last seven games, he’s batting just .207. That’s putting him in a weaker position. Yoshida went 0-for-4 in Cleveland on April 16 and 0-for-6 in Cleveland on April 17 before missing back-to-back games on April 18 and 19.

Yoshida signed a five-year, $90 million contract with Boston before last season. Including his posting, the Red Sox totaled more than $100 million in spending. Despite being criticized for overpaying, the Red Sox were confident that Yoshida’s precision hitting would help their lineup. In fact, before Yoshida joined the Red Sox, major league scouts told him that his size was not expected to translate to defense and power. He was brought in solely for his offense.

Yoshida didn’t have a bad batting average last year, hitting .289 in 140 games. He had 155 hits. However, his on-base percentage was below expectations at .338 and his OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) was just .783. In the immediate offseason, there were rumors that the Red Sox put Yoshida on the trade market, but no team was willing to take on the remaining salary of a ticker-tape hitter who couldn’t defend. As a 토토사이트 result, Yoshida has struggled this season, with his velocity dropping off to start the year.

Yoshida isn’t the only Japanese slugger struggling. Seiya Suzuki (30-Chicago Cubs), one of the Cubs’ top prospects this year, has also had an injury-plagued start to his season. Suzuki, who signed a five-year, $85 million contract with the Cubs ahead of the 2022 season, had been on a steady upward trajectory and was expected to explode this season. In fact, after a .262 batting average and .769 OPS in 2022, Suzuki’s offensive production was even better in 2023, with a .285 batting average and .842 OPS.

After performing well in the exhibition games, Suzuki hit .305 with a .368 on-base percentage, .525 slugging percentage, three home runs, 13 RBIs, and an OPS of .893 in 15 games this season, but unfortunately, injuries slowed him down. The Cubs placed Suzuki on the 10-day disabled list on June 16 with a strained oblique muscle. It wasn’t a major injury, but it was a setback. It’s a bummer for Suzuki, who was expected to break out this year.

Lee Jung-hoo (26, San Francisco), who is more like Yoshida and Suzuki than Shohei Ohtani (LA Dodgers) in terms of playstyle, has been fortunate to stay injury-free and not have a major slump. Lee is batting .282 with a .326 on-base percentage, including a multi-hit game against Arizona on April 19. His batting average isn’t bad, and with his fastball speed, there’s hope that he’ll be able to hit the long ball if the ball gets a little more air. Outside of Ohtani, the three best multiplayers in Oriental Baseball are also expected to perform well.

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