Hot Stove: Japanese star Yoshitomo Tsutsugo attends ALCS at Yankee Stadium, will be posted for MLB teams

At some point soon the Yokohama DeNA BayStars in Japan will post star outfielder Yoshitomo Tsutsugo for MLB teams. The soon-to-be 28-year-old has been one of the country's top power hitters the last few years and he has made it no secret he wants to come to MLB. Here is everything you need to know about Tsutsugo.

According to Jason Coskrey of the Japan Times, Tsutsugo recently made a trip to the United States and even attended a Yankees vs. Astros ALCS game at Yankee Stadium. From Coskrey:

Tsutsugo said his dream of playing in the majors was borne out of watching on television as Ichiro Suzuki and Hideki Matsui thrived in MLB. He's held on to that throughout his high school and pro career. Watching the Astros and Yankees earlier this month only helped drive the point home.

"I thought the atmosphere was amazing," he said. "I also thought it was a really high level of play."

Tsutsugo has not yet been posted and thus can not negotiate with teams yet, so the Yankee Stadium trip was a friendly visit rather than a recruiting trip. Of course, the atmosphere could convince him to sign with New York when the time comes to hammer out a contract. It's unclear which ALCS game Tsutsugo attended. Maybe Game 4, which countryman Masahiro Tanaka started?

The 2019 season was Tsutsugo's worst since his 2016 breakout. He authored a .272/.388/.511 batting line with 29 homers, which is obviously very good, but it is a step down from his previous seasons. From 2016-18, Tsutsugo hit .300/.406/.594 and averaged 40 home runs per 150 games. Also, his strikeout jumped 25.3 percent last year, far above his career average (20.8 percent).

Here's some video of Tsutsugo launching homers this past season:

Tsutsugo is most often compared to Cubs left fielder Kyle Schwarber because he is a left-handed hitter with big power and on-base ability, but he isn't expected to hit for a high average against MLB caliber pitching, and both his defense and baserunning leave a lot to be desired. Tsutsugo carries risk as an all-or-nothing hitter who fits in best at DH, which will impact his market.

The Yankees declined Edwin Encarnacion's option earlier this week so, if they do decide to pursue Tsutsugo, they have an opening at DH. That said, the Yankees like to rotate players at the position, and could use Giancarlo Stanton there most of the time anyway. Greg Bird, should he stay healthy, offers the same skill set as Tsutsugo and could be another DH option.

The posting window runs from Nov. 1 to Dec. 5. Once posted, Tsutsugo will have 30 days to sign a contract. The team that signs him will pay a percentage of his contract to Yokohama as a "release fee.". The Angels, Blue Jays, Indians, Mariners, Rays, and White Sox could also be potential suitors for Tsutsugo, though that is only my speculation.

CBS Sports Writer

Mike Axisa joined CBS Sports in 2013. He has been a member of the BBWAA since 2015 and has previously written about both fantasy baseball and real life baseball for MLBTradeRumors.com, FanGraphs.com, RotoAuthority.com,... Full Bio

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