Expectations weren’t too high for most viewers when Yoshi Sutsugo signed with the Pirates last month. Pittsburgh was the third organization of season two for the 229-year-old Sutsugo একজন a star of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball’s Yokohama DNA Bay Stars who has struggled since signing a two-year contract with The Race. That deal guaranteed Tsutsugo a total of $ 12 million, but he never set foot with Tampa Bay.
Appearing on 272 plates as a member of the race, Tsutsugo batted just .187 / .292 / .336 with a strikeout rate of 28.3 percent. He showed some pop in the short 2020 season, however, slogged eight Homers and reached enough to register 100 WRC + through 185 plate appearances (despite a poor .197 batting average). Things got worse in 2021, as Sutsugo became homeless by increasing the rate of strikeouts and reducing the rate of walking through 85 trips on the plate. The Ray nominated him for appointment on May 11th.
A trade for dozers did not bring good luck. Tsutsugo appeared in just 12 games and went 3-for-25 without extra-base hits and a dozen strikeouts. Los Angeles removed him from the -0 list in early July and released him in mid-August.
Enter the pirates.
Pittsburgh has been paying the printed league-minimum Tsutsugo since signing on August 15, and since donating black and gold, he has quietly looked like the middle-of-the-order bat that Rice had hoped to sign in the first place.
This is a small specimen, but there are massed out flats for Tsutsugo Bucs. With 117 plate appearances, he turned into a .291 / .368 / .612 slash as many home runs (eight) he lengthened in the presence of 303 plates between Tampa Bay and Los Angeles.
It’s not just the long ball that’s changing. Tsutsugo is a 29.4 percent clip fan between Ray and Dodgers, but that’s down 19.7 percent in Pittsburgh. He added seven doubles and triples with the Pirates, bringing his extra base hit to a total of 16 (just two less than his combined mark with his previous two companies).
Like many other hitters in recent years, Susugo has had some success with starting the ball more regularly. His 42.4 percent ground-ball rate during his tenure between LA and Tampa Bay has dropped to just 33.3 percent with his new club. Its infield-fly rate has dropped, its line-drive rate has increased somewhat, and it has improved its barrel percentage এমনকি even if its overall hard-hit rate has decreased.
Defensively, the Pirates played Tsutsugo on the right field and first base. The results on the outfield were not great. He was initially billed as the first baseman or left fielder after coming from Japan, but the race deployed him to both the infield angle and the outfield angle. The presence of Colin Moran and the lack of a designated hitter in the National League have repeatedly pushed Tsutsugo into the outfield, but it is certainly possible that the NL will have a designated hitter next season, which will open up some more avenues for Tsutsugo.
Rather than running a trial with all these pirates, Sutsugo’s initial contract called for him to become a free agent after the 2021 season. In that case remains, as Note By Jason Mackie of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette last month. One can only imagine that a rebuilding team like the Pirates would not see Sutsugo in the first post-trade deadline without some interest in keeping him out of the current season. Even if at the time he was only seen as a placeholder, his play in Pittsburgh should have fueled the interest of the front office.
Impossible as it may seem a few weeks ago, if they want to keep Susugo, they will probably face competition. All in all, this is a hitter who combined 139 home runs with 119 / .402 / .574 batting line, 116 doubles, five triplets, 15.1 percent walk rate and 20.4 percent strikeout rate in his last four seasons of NPB. This includes a huge 201 2016 season, when Tsutsugo turned a career-high 44 home runs and slashed .322 / .430 / .680.
Given that Tsutsugo won’t be 30 years old until November and is now starting to look a little closer to NPB form against the Major League competition, it will only stand to reason that other teams will be interested. The expected emergence of a universal DH cannot hurt its potential, if it is really fruitful.
It is possible that Tsutsugo would simply prefer to return to Japan, where he will no doubt gain interest from other NPB clubs. However, if he wants to pursue a career in majors, he should be given the opportunity to run late with the books – whether in Pittsburgh or with a fourth institution in three years.