The increase in strikeouts is a little worrisome when considering the type of pitching he’ll be facing in the Majors. Let’s also remember that in Shohei Ohtani‘s final season in the NPB he struck out in 27% of hit plate appearances and he’s doing quite alright with the Angels.
Ohtani brought his strikeout rate with him from Japan (career 26.8%) but also brought all the productivity. Ohtani has an outstanding 135 OPS+ over his first two Major League seasons.
When asked if Tsutsugo thought that he would remain the same type of player he had been in Japan, he responded:
"“I don’t really know until I start playing in games honestly” “It’s where the best players in the world are gathered,” Tsutsugo said of MLB. “I think it’s the world’s top level.”"
Ray of Hope
Tsutsugo had a chance to compete with current and former Major Leaguers during the 2017 World Baseball Classic. He worked as the cleanup hitter and left fielder for the Japanese team. He was awarded the Pool B MVP and ended the Classic among the leaders in home runs and runs batted in.
Japan made it all the way to the semi-finals, where they lost a 2-1 game against the United States. Tsutsugo’s final slash line for the tournament was .320/.433/.680.
Hopefully, it is an auspicious sign for the Rays that he stepped up on the big stage. Here’s to his success carrying over to the biggest stage of them all, the Major Leagues.
Welcome to Florida!
What do you think, will he game translate to the MLB? Let us know in the comments below!