The LA Angels were considered lucky by nearly every MLB organization and fan when Shohei Ohtani chose Anaheim as his destination in 2017.
Tsutsugo is considered one of, if not the, best power hitter in all of Japan. It was announced earlier today that he would be posted by his JPL team, the Yokahoma DeNa BayStars.
So who is Tsutsugo the player? At the plate, he is a premier slugger in Japan from the left side, and at just 28-years old, is in the prime of his career. He has mentioned in years past how badly he wants to play in the MLB, and now Tsutsugo will get his chance.
With a career slash line of .284/.382/.525, Tsutsugo will fit perfectly into the middle of any big league lineup card in 2020. Obviously his game has to translate, and this breakdown by FanGraphs outlines why that may be troublesome.
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“The main concern with Tsutsugo is that some believe he might end up being a one-dimensional strikeout-or-home-run player in the MLB. If his hit tool can play along with his raw power, then you may have a worthwhile everyday outfielder in the majors. It also helps that he has displayed high OBP approaches, which counts a lot!”
As I said earlier, Tsutsugo’s defense is below-average for a corner outfielder. His bat should make up for it, but a team with an open designated hitter spot might be more preferable for Tsutsugo.
That’s a problem for the Angels. However, there is still a way they can fit him into the lineup should Billy Eppler work his magic and land another Japanese phenom.
While moving a player’s position to first base is more difficult than most seem to believe, Tsutsugo may be a candidate for it. If the Angels can sign him, they can create a platoon with Ohtani, Tsutsugo, Justin Upton, and Albert Pujols…hear me out.
On Ohtani start/rest days: Tutsugo at DH, Pujols at 1B
On Ohtani DH days vs LHP: Ohtani at DH, Pujols at 1B, Upton in LF
On Ohtani DH days vs RHP: Ohtani at DH, Pujols at 1B, Tutsugo in LF
So while it may not be a seamless fit, there are definitely ways to navigate a platoon to get Tutsugo in the lineup nearly every day.
If the Angels decide to go after him, he could provide a huge left-handed power boost to this Angels’ lineup, something they’ve needed since… *checks notes*… the beginning of time.