Could the Boston Red Sox surprise fans in 2023?
Boston finished in last place in the American League East in 2022 but there are some reasons to be optimistic about the club heading into 2023.
One of the biggest bright spots for Boston certainly is intriguing new outfielder Masataka Yoshida.
The longtime Orix Buffalo is set to make his Major League Baseball debut this season and he already has people buzzing.
His projections for the 2023 campaign are off the charts and people in the Red Sox camp are starting to discover that he may have more power than initially expected, according to the Boston Globe’s Julian McWilliams.
“He’s got a lot more juice than I thought,” hitting coach Pete Fatse said to McWilliams. “Just doing a lot of the work on video, some of the reports came back seeing upwards of 70 raw power in batting practice. He’s got a lot of juice.”
Although it will be Yoshida’s first year in the big leagues, Fangraphs currently projects the 29-year-old to lead all of baseball with a .299 batting average.
Fangraphs also expects Yoshida to club 18 home runs in 2023, but if he has even more power, he could quickly develop into Boston’s next star.
Yoshida likely will pencil in as Boston’s everyday left fielder and has been proven to be a solid defender.
He wasn’t much of a stolen base threat with the Buffaloes, but if he can be one of the league’s best hitters for average and also club over 20 home runs per season, it would be a major help for a Boston lineup that needs some pop.
There’s no way for sure to know how Yoshida will translate to the big leagues yet, but everything is looking his way right now.
He will get his first taste of spring training action in the very near future as Boston is set to see its first action of the spring on Feb. 25 as it takes on the Northeastern Huskies.