Tampa Bay Rays 2020 Player Profile: Yoshitomo Tsutsugo -DH/1B/OF

Yoshitomo Tsutsugo (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Yoshitomo Tsutsugo (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

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The Tampa Bay Rays made a splashy international signing when they brought in the Yokohama BayStars’ Yoshitomo Tsutsugo.

Yoshitomo Tsutsugo
Position: OF/DH/1B
Bats: Left
Throws: Right
Height: 6-0
Weight: 209lb
Birthdate: 11/26/1990
Birthplace: Hashimoto, Japan
Acquired via International free agency in December of 2019.
Contract: Two-years, $12 million
Free Agent: 2022

2019 Stats (NPB)
AVG: ..272
OBP: .388
SLG: .511
OPS: .899
Games: 131
AB:  464
R: 74
2B: 24
3B: 0
HR: 29
RBI: 79
BB: 88
SB: 0
CS: 0
SO: 141

Splits (Thanks to our friends at DRaysBay.com for finding these)
VS LHP: .278/.388/.481
VS RHP .263/.374/.552

Fun Facts

  • Tustsugo was the first pick of the NPB 2009 Draft.
  • He has slugged .528 over ten years in the Nippon Professional Baseball League.
  • Tsutsugo made five All-Star games between 2015-2019.
  • He is the youngest player in BayStars’ history to reach 200 home runs.
  • Over the past four seasons, he has averaged 35 home runs.
  • Tsutsugo reportedly had an average exit velocity of 92 mph last season, among Major League players with at least 50 batted balls, that would have been good for 19th best in the league.
  • 0.3 mph faster than Yandy Diaz‘s vaunted average velocity.
  • Tsutsugo was the cleanup hitter for Team Japan in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. He won the Pool B MVP by hitting .364 with two homers in three games.

Last season, Tsutsugo posted a -14.2 UZR in left field. That was the worst in the league. As Fangraphs points out, Tsutsugo has never posted a WAR above 5.0 in a season, in large part due to the negative impact on defense.

While he has experience playing at both corners of the infield, Yoshi profiles to spend the majority of his time in the designated hitter’s role.

Tsutsugo displayed more power against right-handed pitching but he was extremely effective against pitchers regardless of which hand they threw used to throw the ball.

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*Stats for this profile were harvested from baseball-reference.com and Fangraphs.com