Yoshi Tsutsugo had been a complete bust. The power hitting Japanese outfielder/corner infielder was expected to add more pop to the Tampa Bay Rays lineup, only to completely flame out. He was designated for assignment and traded to the Dodgers, where he struggled even more and was released. When he was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates, absolutely nothing was expected from him.
But no one told Tsutsugo that he was no longer expected to produce. He has finally started to find his groove in Pittsburgh, showing signs that he may actually be able to be a viable major leaguer.
Yoshi Tsutsugo could be part of Pittsburgh PIrates future
While it has been a small sample size of 50 plate appearances, Tsutsugo has given the Pirates far more production than anyone would have anticipated. He has produced a .267/.320/.844 batting line, hitting seven homers and three doubles. He has also cut his strikeout rate, with only 11 strikeouts during that time.
The Pirates have also been moving Tsutsugo around the diamond defensively. He has received playing time at both corner outfield positions and first, giving him the flexibility that could keep him in the lineup.
Tsutsugo’s two year deal ends after this season. As the Pirates continue to look for players that they can build around, it would not be a surprise if they consider bringing him back. Tsutsugo is just 29 years old, and if his success in Pittsburgh is sustainable, he would be the type of player that they could use.
But it comes down to whether or not he would be willing to remain in Pittsburgh, or any other major league team. His overall struggles could lead to his heading back to Japan, where he would likely receive a larger contract than he would stateside. Nonetheless, for the first time in a while, there is reason to hope that Tsutsugo can be a viable major league option.
Yoshi Tsutsugo has found success with the Pittsburgh Pirates. If that continues, he could be the type of player that they can build around.