Over the past two weeks, Yoshi Tsutsugo has become a fan favorite in Pittsburgh. The 29-year-old was claimed off waivers after struggling in 38 games with the Rays and Dodgers. With his third team in 2021, however, Tsutsugo has been a different player. In 15 games with the Pirates, he has made a good first impression and thrived in his new home.
Through 35 at-bats, Tsutsugo is batting .286 with 11 RBI’s. The Japanese native has also hit five home runs which are only three short of his career-high. While he has struck out eight times, Tsutsugo has also forced three walks. With the Pirates in need of a spark, their newest bat has been a bright spot over the last few weeks.
In his first month with the Pirates, Tsutsugo has also shown a flair for the dramatic. With Pittsburgh trailing St. Louis 3-1 on Sunday, Tsutsugo stepped to the plate. The Pirates outfielder/ infielder then belted a three-run home run off Alex Reyes to give Pittsburgh the win and send PNC Park into a frenzy. Although the Pirates have struggled this year, Tsutsugo provided one of the season’s best moments.
Yoshi Tsutsugo walks it off for the Pirates! pic.twitter.com/FgudNXRhkJ
— Justin Groc (@jgroc) August 29, 2021
Can Tsutsugo keep up his recent play?
Through 295 at-bats in the majors, Tsutsugo has posted a .193 average. He has also struck out 97 times and only forced 43 walks. While overall stats do not stand out, he has shown signs of a breakthrough in Pittsburgh. His power has been on full display as nine of his ten hits have gone for extra bases. That has lead to a .857 slugging percentage and .333 OBP.
As the regular season winds down, Tsutsugo will be a player to keep an eye on. He will be a free agent in a few weeks but has improved his stock due to his recent stretch. He has also shown the power that made him a popular international free agent. With every home run, his value increases which could make him more challenging to re-sign.
When asked if he’s in the U.S. to stay, Tsutsugo told the media, ” That’s not something I can determine, but I just want to do my best to help the Pirates win.” While the future is uncertain, Tsutsugo has shown in his time with the Pirates that he can succeed at the big league level.
Featured Image: Pittsburgh Post- Gazette
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