Yoshinobu Yamamoto, 25, is the No. 1 free agent pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB).
MLB.com released its “Top 10 Free Agent Starting Pitchers,” as voted on by a panel of experts, on Tuesday, with Yamamoto at the top of the list.
Shohei Ohtani, a two-hitter who has become a sensation in MLB, is the “eye of the storm” in the free agent market, but he was excluded from the rankings because he underwent elbow surgery this year and is unlikely to pitch next season.
Yamamoto, the ace of Japanese baseball, went 16-6 with a 1.21 ERA in 23 games for the Orix Buffaloes this season, becoming the first pitcher in Nippon Professional Baseball to win four pitching titles (wins, ERA, strikeouts, and winning percentage) in three consecutive years. His career record in Nippon Professional Baseball is 70-29 with a 1.82 ERA and 922 strikeouts in 172 games.
He knocked on MLB’s door through the posting system after the season with the consent of his club. Several MLB teams have expressed interest in Yamamoto.
According to MLB.com, “For a pitcher who has yet to make his MLB debut to top the polls is a testament to Yamamoto’s game-changing ability. There is always a risk of how overseas players’ performance will be reflected in MLB. But the odds are stacked in Yamamoto’s favor,” he said, adding, “The 25-year-old is a young free agent pitcher, has an impressive track record, and a strong arsenal of pitches.” 보스토토 도메인
Yamamoto was followed by Blake Snell, Aaron Nola, and Sonny Gray. Another Japanese pitcher trying to break into the MLB, left-hander Shota Imanaga, was ranked eighth.