Masataka Yoshida, a two-time batting champion in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball league, could be "posted" by the Orix Buffaloes for Major League Baseball teams' consideration in the coming weeks, according to MLB.com. Yoshida would then have 30 days to work out an agreement with a team, with the Buffaloes receiving a compensatory fee based on his contract's total value. Should he fail to reach an agreement with a MLB team, he would return to Japan for the 2023 season.
Yoshida, a 29-year-old left fielder, has played in parts of seven NPB seasons. He's amassed a career .326/.419/.538 slash line with 135 home runs and 21 stolen bases (on 31 tries). Yoshida's penchant for contact has allowed him to record 120 more walks in his career than strikeouts. Indeed, his career strikeout rate is just over 9.4 percent. For reference, Cleveland Guardians rookie outfielder Steven Kwan also struck out in 9.4 percent of his plate appearances, (albeit only in 2022), giving hithe second-lowest rate in the majors. (Luis Arraez had the majors' lowest K rate at 7.1 percent.)
Yoshida has a good approach and decent power. He has room to fill out at the plate but his selective approach and ability to get on base is serving him well. He doesn't play a big role as a basestealer, but moves well.
Yoshida's contractual desires are unclear at the moment. Last winter, Seiya Suzuki signed a five-year pact with the Chicago Cubs worth $85 million. (Suzuki hit for a 116 OPS+ and accrued two Wins Above Replacement in his "rookie" season.) Whatever the cost, and however it compares to Suzuki, Yoshida is unlikely to be the only NPB star coming to the majors this winter. Right-hander Kodai Senga, a member of the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks, is expected to trek across the Pacific Ocean as well.