Full Scouting Report On New Red Sox Outfielder Masataka Yoshida

Image credit: Masataka Yoshida (Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images)

SAN DIEGO—The Red Sox have agreed to sign Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida to a five-year, $90 million contract, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

The deal is the largest ever given to a Japanese position player, surpassing the five-year, $85 million contract the Cubs signed outfielder Seiya Suzuki to before last season.

Yoshida, 29, hit .327 in seven seasons in Nippon Professional Baseball and won back-to-back Pacific League batting titles in 2020-21. He hit .336/.449/.559 with 21 home runs and 89 RBIs for Orix last season and was officially posted Wednesday morning.

The Red Sox will pay a posting fee of $15.4 million, according to Passan, bringing the Red Sox’s total outlay for Yoshida to $105.4 million.

Below is a full scouting report on Yoshida.

Masataka Yoshida, OF
BA Grade: 50/Medium
Born: July 15, 1993. B-T: L-R. HT: 5-8. WT: 176.

Track Record: Yoshida represented Japan in tournaments worldwide as an amateur and was drafted by Orix in the first round of the 2015 NPB Draft. He debuted a year later and quickly blossomed into one of Japan’s top pure hitters, making four all-star games and winning back-to-back Pacific League batting titles in 2020-21. He progressively added power without sacrificing any contact ability and led the Pacific League in OPS for the second straight season in 2022 while leading the Buffaloes to their first Japan Series championship in 26 years. Orix posted him after the season, concluding a run in which he hit .327 over seven NPB seasons.
Scouting Report: Yoshida is undersized at 5-foot-8, but he’s strong in his frame. He has a quick, flat swing from the left side and consistently barrels balls with his elite hand-eye coordination. He has good rhythm and balance in the batter’s box and is able to hit multiple pitch types, including the high-velocity fastballs he’ll see in MLB. Yoshida is an aggressive hitter who attacks pitches early in counts and mostly hits hard line drives from gap to gap. He has expert command of the strike zone and had more walks than strikeouts each of the last four seasons in NPB. Yoshida shows plus raw power in batting practice and had three 20-home run seasons in Japan, but his power projects to be fringy in MLB. He will have to add loft to his swing and learn to hit the ball out front better to access more power against big league pitching. Yoshida’s value is tied almost exclusively to his bat. He’s a below-average runner and below-average defender in left field whose range is severely limited. He plays hard and catches what is hit to him, but he struggles to reach balls in the gap or down the line. He has below-average arm strength that limits him to left field.
The Future: Yoshida projects to hit for average in MLB but will have to access more power to be an above-average, everyday left fielder. If he doesn’t, his contact and on-base skills from the left side should still make him a solid contributor.

Scouting Grades
Hit: 55. Power: 45. Speed: 40. Fielding: 40. Arm: 40.


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