Dodgers: Yoshi Tsutsugo dominating with Pirates is a wild turn of events

Thomas Carannante
PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 25: Yoshi Tsutsugo #32 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action against the Philadelphia Phillies during a game at Citizens Bank Park on September 25, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 25: Yoshi Tsutsugo #32 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action against the Philadelphia Phillies during a game at Citizens Bank Park on September 25, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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OK, it’s a small sample size, but still! It’s worth noting, especially with 2021 coming to a close in a few days.

Yoshi Tsutsugo, who arrived in Los Angeles after being let go by the Tampa Bay Rays, has since latched on with the Pittsburgh Pirates following his release from the Dodgers when it became evident he couldn’t produce alongside an assortment of star players.

In 12 games with the team, he hit just .120 with a .410 OPS in 31 plate appearances. It doesn’t get much worse than that. In his previous 26 games with the Rays, he’d hit .167 with a .462 OPS. Right on par.

In 38 games with the Pirates? The narrative has completely flipped. Tsutsugo has been one of the best hitters in MLB over the last month!

Former Dodgers OF Yoshi Tsutsugo’s turnaround with the Pirates is wild.

As of this writing, the Japanese slugger is hitting .287 with a .953 OPS with Pittsburgh. He has 17 runs scored, eight home runs and 24 RBI too … and that’s after totals of seven, zero and seven in his previous 38 games.

In fact, Tsutsugo, in 38 games with the Pirates, has nearly the same output as he’d piled up across 51 games in his rookie season with the Rays last year. Out of his 31 hits, 16 have gone for extra bases. This is the turnaround the Dodgers were hoping for when they quickly scooped him up after his release from Tampa.

Yeah … any reason the Dodgers decided to keep lesser ‘tweeners in Luke Raley and Sheldon Neuse? After all, at Triple-A, Tsutsugo was OPSing a rock solid .878. It’s clear the 29-year-old just needed a bit more time to acclimate to MLB after his decade in Nippon Professional Baseball.

What weird time for Dodgers baseball in 2021. Back in mid-May, they brought in Tsutsugo and Albert Pujols as options to potentially come off the bench and provide a spark. Pujols has obviously remained due to his invaluable veteran presence and clutch bat, but Tsutsugo couldn’t fill the mini utility void LA was hoping he would (it was believed he could play a little bit of first, third and left field).

A big reason for that was because his bat was dreadful. Had the Dodgers waited a little bit longer, they might’ve had another lethal bench weapon heading into October.

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