Tag Archives: Joel Wolfe

Tsutsugoing my way, to Rays

Yoshitomo Tsutsugo” class=”wp-image-5005″ width=”506″ height=”674″/>
Yoshitomo Tsutsugo has his eyes on the future.

After agent Joel Wolfe said the decision was down to three teams, the Dodgers were reported as one, while the Blue Jays had been connected in the media by people who thought he would be a good fit. And though the Rays were not mentioned, in retrospect they seem the best possible fit.

Tampa Bay has a history of committing to players whose value is low because other teams had not committed to them. That isn’t the case with Tsutsugo but it was a valid question considering the tough adjustments ahead of him.

My Tsutsugo profile suggests, according to analytic site Delta Graphs, that Tsutsugo is only a better-than-average fastball hitter in Japan, meaning he definitely has work to do against velocity that is a little higher than what he was accustomed to in Japan.

His outfield defense appears to have plateaued at league average in left field a few years ago and has gotten worse since. Because of who he is, and his attention to detail in everything he does, the most likely guess for this decline is the loss of a few steps and the effect of a couple of small nagging injuries over the past three seasons.

A different kind of cat

But Tsutsugo will give you everything you ask for and more that you didn’t know you needed from a player through his character and team-building skills. Despite being a newcomer to MLB, he will — like Hideki Matsui did with the Yankees — set an example for others about how to handle yourself.

Wolfe said the teams Tsutsugo worked out for this past week were impressed by his soft hands and his willingness to do whatever is necessary to be better. This, Wolfe said, was highlighted by his putting himself in uncomfortable situations, by playing ball in the Dominican Republic and grabbing his infield glove to help his team at third base — a position he hadn’t played at in over seven years.

He is also a rare individual among Japanese ballplayers in his willingness to endure potential controversy by taking a stand. This year, he published a book attacking Japan’s youth baseball culture as wrong-headed and damaging and has been spending his winters working with children, encouraging them to enjoy the game in a system that too often values winning at all costs for even the youngest and least-experienced children and puts their bodies at risk.

The kotatsu league: Tsutsugo works out for 3 clubs in California

DeNA BayStars slugger Yoshitomo Tsutsugo’s priority for choosing a new team is playing time, agent Joel Wolfe said Wednesday at the baseball winter meetings in San Diego, according to Kyodo News.

“He is not simply looking for the most money,” Wolfe said. “He wants to be in a baseball environment where he can showcase his talents, and prove that Japanese hitters can successfully be productive in Major League Baseball.”

According to the agent, the two-hour workouts left teams impressed by Tsutsugo’s versatility and willingness to put himself in challenging situations such as playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic and playing third base at the drop of a hat because his team needed him to.

Agent Joel Wolfe describes Yoshitomo Tsutsugo’s activities while in California.

The agent said Tsutsugo, who has been working out with major leaguer Nolan Arenado at a facility owned by the Colorado Rockies’ Gold Glove third baseman.

Tsutsugo will have to sign a contract by next week, but Wolfe said he expects a decision a few days ahead of that to account for any potential hangups.

“In baseball we expect the unexpected,” Wolfe said.

The jballallen.com profile of Tsutsugo can be found HERE.