Rays News

Tampa Bay Rays: Who is Yoshitomo Tsutsugo?

By Seth Carter
Yoshitomo Tsutsugo (Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images)
Yoshitomo Tsutsugo (Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images) /
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Yoshitomo Tsutsugo (Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images) /

Taking a look at Tampa Bay Rays’ newest addition, Yoshitomo Tsutsugo’s past and his future.

Yoshitomo Tsutsugo has always dreamed of being a Major Leaguer. He grew up watching Japanese stars, Ichiro Suzuki and Hideki Matsui excel in the Major Leagues, now he gets a chance to follow in their footsteps.

"“I’ve dreamed of playing in the majors since before I turned pro, since I was a child,”"

-The Japan Times

Tsutsugo made a trip to America during the postseason and was in attendance during one of the ALCS games between the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros. Now that he’s signed with the Rays, we hope he’ll be playing in one of those games in 2020.

Yoshitomo Tsutsugo has averaged 34.75 homers per season over the past four years. The 28-year-old left-handed hitter has proven himself as one of Nippon Professional Baseball’s top offensive weapons with a career .382 OBP and a homer every 13.89 at-bats over the past four seasons.

Tsutsugo has spent the past ten seasons playing for the Yokohama BayStars. In 2011 he got his first extended look in Yokahama, playing in 40 games. He hit .241 and registered an OBP of .306 that season. However, even at 19-years-old, the kid still gave Yokohama a glimpse of what was to come as he slugged .476.

His 2012 season didn’t get a lot better as he slashed .218/.309/.352 with 10 HRs in 108 games. The following season only saw him play in 23 games. in 2014 he became a regular player and never looked back.

Over the course of his career, he has slugged at a .528 clip. Between 2015-2019 he would make five All-Star games. He is the youngest player in BayStars’ history to reach 200 home runs. How does this 28-year-old slugger fit the Rays’ offseason needs?