Yoshinobu Yamamoto (25-Oryx Buffaloes), the best pitcher in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) after winning four titles in three consecutive years, is set to become the highest-paid Asian player in Major League Baseball free agency.
Yamamoto started 23 games and threw 164 innings this season, posting a 16-6 record, 1.21 ERA, .727 winning percentage, and 169 strikeouts. He led the Pacific League in wins, ERA, strikeouts, and winning percentage.
He is also a lock to win the Pacific League Pitcher of the Year award for the third consecutive year starting in 2021. No Asian player has ever been as close to perfect as Yamamoto before reaching the major leagues. As such, Yamamoto is expected to break the seven-year, $155 million record set by Masahiro Tanaka when he joined the New York Yankees in 2014.
Yamamoto plans to pursue a major league contract through the posting system after the Japan Series. He is expected to be posted in early December.
This is why Yamamoto is being hyped by top US media outlets. He is considered a top-tier starting pitcher in this free agent market.
CBS Sports ranked Yamamoto No. 2 in its “Top 25 MLB Free Agent Rankings for 2023” section. No. 1 is undoubtedly Shohei Ohtani (LA Angels). Yamamoto is #1 among pure pitchers because Ohtani is a two-hitter. With Ohtani having elbow surgery and unable to take the mound next year, Yamamoto’s value is only going to skyrocket.
In this ranking, Yamamoto sits above some of the best starters in baseball, including Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Aaron Nola (fifth), San Diego Padres left-hander Blake Snell (sixth), and Detroit Tigers left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez (seventh).
Yamamoto could be the second most expensive pitcher in free agency after Ohtani, especially considering Snell, who is a lock for the National League Cy Young Award this season, is ranked sixth.
CBS Sports wrote, “In our opinion, Yamamoto is the best pitcher in the world who hasn’t pitched for a major league team,” and added, “It’s remarkable that he only turned 25 in August. Scouts who have watched him for years say the most impressive thing about him is that he has great command in addition to his great stuff.
“With a fastball that sits in the mid-to-high 90s, an excellent splitter for a breaking ball, and a high-turnover curveball, he’s thrown at least 65 percent of his strikes this year, giving you the feeling that he’s painting with a fine brush,” the outlet continued, “and there’s plenty of reason to believe he’ll easily adjust to the major league culture and schedule. There’s no reason for teams to hesitate to take a chance on him, and he could easily break Tanaka’s record of $155 million.
CBS Sports went on to list the Yankees, New York Mets, and Philadelphia among the teams that could land Yamamoto.”\
Another outlet, Sporting News, ranked Yamamoto second behind Ohtani in its “Top 10 Major League Baseball Free Agents” section on Wednesday. “Yamamoto is only ranked second without considering his age, and he has already accomplished what most other free agent pitchers have accomplished at the age of 25,” Sporting News said, emphasizing that the level of competitiveness of Yamamoto can be seen by comparing him to the three seasons before the Mets’ Godai Senga entered the majors.카지노
Senga posted a 2.24 ERA in three years with the SoftBank Hawks before joining the Mets. Yamamoto has a combined ERA of 1.44 over his last three years. Senga signed a five-year, $75 million deal with the Mets in a post last December.
As for Tanaka, he joined the Yankees in 2014 after posting a 2.30 ERA in seven years with the Rakuten Golden Eagles. In his previous season, 2013, he posted a phenomenal 24 wins and a 1.27 ERA. However, Yamamoto has been more stable of late, with three consecutive years of sub-1 ERAs.
According to Sporting News, the Mets, Yankees, and Boston Red Sox are the most likely destinations for Yamamoto.