Masataka Yoshida was solid in 2023, but he was not quite what the Boston Red Sox had expected.
He had been a star for the Orix Buffaloes, an on base machine who helped spark their lineup. Yoshida had produced a stellar .327/.421/.539 batting line in his 3189 NPB plate appearances, hitting 133 homers and 161 doubles. He struck out just 300 times while drawing 421 walks, showing impressive plate discipline and contact skills.
The Red Sox had hoped that those skills would translate to the majors. He put together a respectable rookie campaign, producing a .289/.338/.445 batting line in his 580 plate appearances, hitting 15 homers and 33 doubles. However, he drew walks in just 5.9% of his plate appearances while hitting grounders 55% of the time. The Red Sox had hoped for a lot more than that.
Boston Red Sox trying something different with Masataka Yoshida
Sometimes, a player just needs a different voice. The Red Sox are hoping that is the case with Yoshida as well. According to Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe, the Red Sox are looking to bring in a different interpreter for Yoshida.
Communication can make a big difference. That is especially the case with foreign players, particularly those who need an interpreter. Having the right person as a bridge between the player and the coaching staff can make a difference. Yoshida already had to deal with a completely different culture, far more travel time, more games, and a different league. Having a communication gap, and not being able to get that information across, would make a world of difference.
Maybe that is the missing piece. Maybe getting that information from a different voice, in a different way, will allow Yoshida to become the player the Red Sox hoped for. But it is also possible that this is simply who he is – a solid player who will never be a star. If so, changing the interpreter will not matter.
The Boston Red Sox are hoping that Masataka Yoshida can take a step forward. Maybe a different voice will bring him to the next level.