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Sports Blue Jays could potentially target Japanese hitters Tsutsugo, Akiyama

16:50  13 november  2019
16:50  13 november  2019 Source:   sportsnet.ca

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Tsutsugo has long been on the MLB radar. He has been among the most effective hitters in Japanese baseball There ought to be a fair amount of interest in Tsutsugo among MLB teams, though he’s not generally It remains to be seen whether Tsutsugo will be targeted as a first-division regular, solid

Yoshitomo Tsutsugo , a five-time Japanese all-star with good plate discipline and a weak glove, plans to make the leap to MLB. The reason the Jays should be interested is because of Tsutsugo ’s plate discipline. Toronto has a lineup filled with free swingers and could use a couple of more hitters who

a baseball player holding a bat on a field: Akiyama© Provided by Rogers Media Inc Akiyama

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Moments after the first media availability of the 2019 GM Meetings officially began, Ross Atkins found himself fielding questions about some potential fits for the Toronto Blue Jays.

The questions revolved not around Zack Wheeler and Jake Odorizzi, but Yoshitomo Tsutsugo and Shogo Akiyama, two Japanese players now on the radar of MLB teams. Are the Blue Jays interested? Yes, Atkins told a gathering of Japanese media Tuesday afternoon.

Led by pro scouting director Ryan Mittleman and assistant GM Andrew Tinnish, the Blue Jays have spent ‘a lot of time’ on Tsutsugo and Akiyama. And that work will likely continue in the coming weeks.

Report: Blue Jays interested in Japanese slugger Tsutsugo

  Report: Blue Jays interested in Japanese slugger Tsutsugo The Toronto Blue Jays are definitely interested in signing Japanese first baseman/outfielder Yoshitomo Tsutsugo once he's posted, according to Scott Mitchell of TSN. However, the market for the Japanese star's services remains unclear and Toronto likely isn't a front-runner to land him at this time, Mitchell added. Tsutsugo, who will turn 28 later this month, has spent 10 seasons with the Yokohama BayStars in the Japanese Central League. He'sHowever, the market for the Japanese star's services remains unclear and Toronto likely isn't a front-runner to land him at this time, Mitchell added.

Toronto Blue Jays . Japanese Slugger Yoshitomo Tsutsugo To Be Posted. Tsutsugo has long been on the MLB radar. He has been among the most effective hitters in Japanese baseball since fully establishing himself at the nation’s highest level in 2014.

All Professional Baseball Statistics for Yoshitomo Tsutsugo . More Tsutsugo Pages. Yoshitomo Tsutsugo Overview. Japanese & Winter Lg Stats.

“We’ll continue to engage with their representatives and understand if they’re potential fits,” Atkins said.

While the Blue Jays are prioritizing pitching, they would also like to add a versatile first baseman and improve their centre field defence this winter. Under those circumstances, it would be reckless not to consider Tsutsugo and Akiyama, two left-handed hitters with proven track records of success in Japan.

Tsutsugo, who turns 28 later this month, has a lifetime .284/.382/.525 batting line with an average of 34 home runs per 162 games played in Japan. In 2019, he hit 29 home runs with an .899 OPS for the Yokohama Bay Stars while appearing in 131 games.

At the same time, he may already be past his defensive prime. As a fielder, he’s best suited to first base or a corner outfield position according to some observers.

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Yoshitomo Tsutsugo (筒香 嘉智 Tsutsugō Yoshitomo, born November 26, 1991 in Hashimoto, Wakayama, Japan ) is a professional Japanese baseball player.

Could the Jays sign Gerrit Cole? Would Kyle Gibson leave the Twins? But there is another group of potential free agents that could potentially be of interest: the international free agents Tsutsugo is also an active advocate for changes in the Japanese system for children’s baseball, saying “I’ve seen

“He’s an impressive hitter,” Atkins said. “A lot of fun to watch. An exciting talent. Obviously he’s lit up his country. We love the (fan) chant. We love watching the song when he comes up to hit. He’s an exciting hitter and versatile. An interesting player, for sure.”

While Tsutsugo will be posted by the Bay Stars, Akiyama is simply a free agent. The 31-year-old centre fielder has been remarkably consistent in recent years, appearing in exactly 143 games for the Seibu Lions in five consecutive seasons. Adding to his appeal, he has never hit below .296 or posted an OBP below .385 during that time. In recent years he has added more power, too, with three consecutive 20-homer seasons.

“Interesting as well,” Atkins said. “These guys could be very good major-league pieces and fits.”

Or… they could not be. As one rival GM noted Tuesday, there’s no guarantee that success in Japan translates to MLB. For example, Nori Aoki posted an .856 OPS in Japan and a .738 OPS in the majors. Kosuke Fukudome posted an .879 OPS in Japan and a .754 OPS in the majors. Even Hideki Matsui saw his OPS decline from .996 in Japan to .822.

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TSN "The Toronto Blue Jays have definite interest in Japanese first baseman/left fielder Yoshitomo Tsutsugo when he's posted, according to TSN Blue Jays reporter Scott Mitchell. Lions outfielder Shogo Akiyama to file for international free agency.

With that history in mind, the Blue Jays can’t possibly expect Tsutsugo or Akiyama to replicate their numbers against big-league pitchers. At the same time, MLB executives agree that these players can help big-league teams in 2020.

At first glance, Akiyama might seem to be a better fit than Tsutsugo given that the Blue Jays have plenty of corner bats already. But teams are already asking Atkins about Toronto’s outfielders, so the possibility of a trade exists. Plus, some of the Blue Jays’ existing players could move around the diamond if needed.

“We also have some versatility on our team,” Atkins said. “Guys could potentially play different positions, whether that’s Cavan Biggio or Brandon Drury or Billy McKinney. Teoscar Hernandez or Randal Grichuk playing centre. Lourdes Gurriel potentially playing some infield, which is still something we’re discussing.”

Of course the Blue Jays are discussing a lot of possibilities at this point in the off-season. Like every other front office in baseball, they’re inclined to keep their options open as long as possible. From a business standpoint, it makes all kinds of sense.

Just as it makes sense to continue dialogue with Tsutsugo and Akiyama after a season in which 22 teams outscored the Blue Jays.

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