It remains to be seen whether Masataka Yoshida can live up to his five-year, $ 90 million contract with the Boston Red Sox.
But make no mistake: He can rake.
Yoshida is proving as much at the 2023 World Baseball Classic for Team Japan, which advanced to the quarterfinals early Thursday morning with a 9-3 victory over Italy in Tokyo. Yoshida played a key role in the victory, launching a moonshot of a home run in the seventh inning to extend Japan's lead to 8-2.
While that was Yoshida's first home run of the tournament, he's been a force for Japan in the cleanup spot behind two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani. Yoshida is batting an even .400 (6 for 15) through five games and leads all players in the World Baseball Classic with 10 RBIs.
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The 29-year-old has yet to strike out in the tournament and has shown impressive bat control, spraying the ball to all fields with a disciplined plate approach.
Yoshida has even contributed with his glove, making a running grab at the wall in left field Thursday to save a pair of runs.
It's worth noting that Yoshida hasn't exactly faced elite pitching in matchups with China, South Korea, Czech Republic, Australia and Italy. He'll still have plenty to prove against major league pitching when the regular season begins later this month.
But the Japanese star is already flashing many of the skills that prompted the Red Sox to make him their biggest free-agent signing of the offseason.