Yoshinobu Yamamoto is the next, and according to some, the best Japanese player -aside from Ohtani- likely to move to the US this winter. If you watched this year’s WBC and weren’t fixated on Ohtani, you’ll have seen Yamamoto pitch. Here’s a concise description of the righty from Baseball America’s Kyle Glaser.
…The 5-foot-10, 176-pound righthander has won back-to-back Sawamura Awards, the Japanese equivalent of the Cy Young Award…back-to-back Pacific League Most Valuable Player Awards (helped) Japan to the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics and 2023 World Baseball Classic, won his third consecutive Japanese pitching triple crown this season and…became the first pitcher in NPB history to throw no-hitters in consecutive seasons.
Yamamoto’s thrown 170 innings a year for the past three seasons, featuring a 94-95 mph four-seam fastball that touches 99 when he needs it, a 91-94mph cutter, a high 70s hammer curve, and an 88-91 split all from the same arm slot.
What’s the Cost?
Yamamoto has no injury and should take very little time to adjust to the difference in baseballs and pitching every fifth day. He offers all these benefits at the ripe old age of….25.
Signing Yamamoto to a six to eight-year deal follows the Anthopoulos model of acquiring a stud player before his prime and extending him through it.
If a deal at an AAV around 29M I project for Fried for his age 31-36 years is possible, the Braves would land a second ace to the deck alongside Strider and give the arm in the low minors time to develop, and allow him to test free agent when he’s in his early thirties.