The record that was achieved only by Ichi, a junior in Japan has achieved it again… Will Lee Jung-hoo’s contract come out with a ‘jackpot’?

One season was enough for Ichiro Suzuki (50), who conquered the Japanese stage, to conquer the major league stage. Although it was known belatedly, back when the major leagues were in a home run race with the power of ‘steroids’ on their backs, Ichiro proved that he could contribute to the team in other ways as well.스포츠토토

He didn’t hit a home run like others, but he reminded major league fans of the taste of sophisticated hitting. In 2001, his first season in the major leagues, Ichiro recorded a batting average of 0.350, 242 hits, 8 homers, 69 RBIs, 56 stolen bases, and an OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) of 0.838, ranking first in batting average, hits, and stolen bases. He won the Rookie of the Year Award, the American League Most Valuable Player (MVP), and the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards. All-Star was the default option.

Ichiro wasn’t a player who hit farther or chose to walk more than others. But he struck out few, and he never got out of the plate easily. He turned singles into doubles with his quick feet, or even stole them to that effect. He showed his excellent defense here and became a player representing the major leagues.

Ichiro’s style was evident in his first 50 games. Ichiro had a .358 batting average in his first 50 major league games, with 83 hits and 10 walks on four walks, totaling 93 on base. On the other hand, his strikeouts were only 14. Entering his 21st century, he was the only player with 25 or fewer strikeouts in his first 50 major league games, with 85 or more on base. Since Ichiro, no one has come close to this record.

But in 2023, a player who set this record again appeared. Masataka Yoshida (30‧ Boston), also from Japan, is the main character. Yoshida, who struggled at the beginning of the season and could not be free from suspicion, made Boston laugh after a short adaptation period and his bat exploded after mid-April.

Yoshida had a .314 batting average in his first 50 games. He also showed off formidable slugging power, hitting 7 home runs, and recorded an OPS of 0.899. He was rather better than his OPS (.866) in Ichiro’s first 50 games. Yoshida had 61 hits, 23 walks, and 3 walks in his first 50 games, totaling 86 on base. On the other hand, his strikeouts were only 22. He remained the only player who met Ichiro’s conditions at the time.

Ichiro was better on defense, and so was his base runners. Yoshida isn’t a fast-footed player, and he doesn’t get very good reviews on defense. However, his long hit production is better than Ichiro’s. In other words, he makes up for the indicators he forgot in defense with offense. Since his sluggish performance in early April, Yoshida has consistently produced hits and has not shown any particular slump.

Yoshida signed a five-year, $90 million contract with Boston ahead of this season. When you add up his postings, his total investment comes to $105.4 million. At first, the question of whether it was worth investing more than $100 million in Yoshida was constantly raised. Some clubs are known to have withdrawn from the market altogether because of their defensive capabilities. However, given his current offense, Yoshida is projected to be able to provide more than $100 million in value to the team.

If so, the contract of Lee Jung-hoo (25‧ Kiwoom), who will challenge the major leagues through the posting system after this season, may hit a ‘jackpot’ beyond what we expected. Thanks to the road laid by Yoshida, Lee Jung-hoo can see the return benefit.

Yoshida and Lee Jung-hoo are basically similar in style. He’s a left-handed outfielder, and his focus is a bit more on precision hitting production than long hitting. ‘Yoshida’s hitting is better, but Lee Jung-hoo goes to the major leagues at a much younger age than Yoshida’s entry point. The current market evaluation is that Lee Jung-hoo may be better on defense. Yoshida went to the major leagues at the age of 30, but Lee Jung-hoo is 26 years old. This could be a metric that major league clubs will consider quite important.

Lee Jung-hoo can also play as a center fielder. Yoshida’s success in batting may have a positive effect on Lee Jung-hoo’s batting. Lee Jung-hoo has also been showing his original batting skills lately after getting out of the sluggishness at the beginning of the season. As much of the major league clubs’ evaluations have already been completed, we can expect large-scale contracts as well.

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