The Baystars drafted Tsutsugo in the first round of the 2009 draft straight out of Yokohama High School, the same high school that was made famous by Daisuke Matsuzaka’s performances in the 1998 Koshien Tournament. Tsutsugo made his NPB debut in 2010 with a brief three-game appearance, played only 40 games in 2011 due to a wrist injury, and after playing in 108 games in 2012, an ankle injury suffered in the preseason limited him to only 23 games in the 2013 regular season.
Finally healthy in 2014, Tsutsugo posted a .300/.373/.529 slash line with 22 home runs in 114 games. 2015 brought more of the same production, with a .317/.400/.522 line with 24 home runs in 138 games. So far in 2016, although the slash line is similar to the past two years, Tsutsugo is posting an exceptional BB/K rate of 28/27 after rates of 47/100 and 68/98 in 2014 and 2015, respectively. He is also hitting for even more power, as he is already halfway to his 2015 home run total after just 41 games. Tsutsugo uses a more open stance from the left side of the plate, but his approach and path to the ball is very reminiscent of Anthony Rizzo (1B, Cubs).
Tsutsugo is in his seventh year as a pro, but the injuries that limited him in 2011 and 2013 mean that he is still a few years away from being eligible for free agency*. The Baystars have been one of the less competitive teams in the league in recent years, but they are currently tied for third place in the Central League, and they have a number of players poised to help them contend. Tsutsugo undoubtedly wants to continue to establish himself as one of the top players in Japan, so a move to MLB is unlikely in the near future.