Despite not ever playing a game in the major leagues until this season, the Boston Red Sox made Masataka Yoshida their prized free-agent signing this offseason.

It was clear how highly the Red Sox thought of the Japanese standout outfielder, given the reported five-year, $90 million contract the organization handed the 29-year-old on top of the $15.4 million posting fee sent to his Nippon Professional Baseball team.

But unlike the Red Sox, not all baseball evaluators were sold on Yoshida’s potential. Some even believed Boston overreached by signing Yoshida.

But as Yoshida enters his first All-Star break in the big leagues, he’s erasing doubts and has been worth Boston’s investment. He adjusted quickly playing in a new league in a new country, slashing .316/.382/.492 to go along with 10 home runs and 44 RBIs in 78 games.

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Yoshida ended the first half of the season with seven consecutive multi-hit games, including a 2-for-4 showing in Boston’s narrow 4-3 win over the Oakland Athletics at Fenway Park on Sunday. His hitting ability has been as advertised, with strong plate discipline — he’s struck out 36 times and walked 27 — and spraying the ball to all fields with a mix of power.

It’s been a fun sight for manager Alex Cora to witness, especially with Yoshida doing it in a Red Sox uniform.

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“They did a good job scouting him throughout the years,” Cora told reporters, as seen on NESN postgame coverage. “They understood that he was going to be OK. I know a lot of people still have question marks, right? But, I mean, jeez, what he’s doing is what good hitters do. They put the ball in play, they hit it hard, he takes his walks, he doesn’t strikeout. He hits the ball all over the place against lefties and righties. And I’m glad we took a chance.”

“I mean, what (else) are we going to ask him to do? The guy’s hitting like .320.”

Red Sox manager Alex Cora

It hasn’t just been at the plate where Yoshida has proved naysayers wrong. He has also held up defensively, making some strong plays in left field. He has two assists and three errors on the campaign.

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But Yoshida’s bat certainly was his biggest draw and he displayed why. On Sunday, Yoshida handled a 95 mph fastball from A’s left-handed reliever Ken Waldichuk that was at eye-level. With a flick of his bat, Yoshida cleared the Green Monster for a go-ahead solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning.

The power hasn’t been there as much as hitting for average in the first half for Yoshida. And that’s quite fine for Cora, but he suspects it could change after the All-Star break.

“I mean, what (else) are we going to ask him to do? The guy’s hitting like .320,” Cora said. “He’ll take his shots and that was a two-strike approach. The better the weather, the more the ball’s going to carry and that was a great swing.”

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Featured image via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images