Life couldn't be better for the Phillies after splitting the first two in Houston. There's so much good coming back to the Bank tonight that perfectly lines up with the Phils historic run. It's all momentum as Noah Syndergaard takes the mound and they look to steal game 3 with Suarez-Nola-Wheeler looming. You win tonight and you get a small taste of real control in this series. And at this point, we've got no reason to doubt it. There's house money everywhere.
And even so, life is STILL getting better for Phillies fans with the recent news that NPL standout Masataka Yoshida wants to play for the Phillies:
Great timing with the NPL championship just wrapping up. Yoshida led the Orix Buffaloes with 2 homers in game 6 including a walk-off. Then they won game 7 and now he's one of the best players coming to the US. Rumor mill swirling says he wants to play with with Bryce in front of the great people of Philadelphia. Clearly John Middleton has the money and willingness to make it happen.
There's a big game tonight that deserves a lot of attention. But for now I'm curious how much the recent Phillies run influences any kind of big move like this. The reality is the Phillies have major money committed to the 3 positions he can play: LF, RF and DH. Nothing about his background suggests he can play CF or anything else. So you'd have 4 major thumpers filling those 3 spots daily between Harper, Schwarber, Castellanos and then Yoshida. That's the weird part to me if you're going to hit Free Agency very hard and not improve the starting pitching just as much.
The good part is that he's 29 and ready to explode in MLB. He walked twice as much as he K'd in 2022 with a 46% hard hit rate and the 2nd highest wRC+ in the NPL. That's enough quality for a full 600 plate appearance season in the big leagues. Reports say he finally developed his pull side power and now he's a very real threat. But it only developed after he became a consistent line drive machine so he's really become a complete hitter by the experts' estimations.
Personally I'm just very jealous that Philly is dominating every facet right now. They've won over America. They play the most dramatic baseball. The fans are categorically obsessed and the lineup is littered with junkyard dogs. And now rumors are swirling they're only making more moves to keep the magic going.
More on tonight's game later. For now here's a breakdown on the big guy
More this week on Starting 9