Yoshinobu Yamamoto has been on the New York Yankees’ radar for quite a while now. Brian Cashman and his comrades scouted him during this year’s NPB season, wherein the pitcher dazzled them with a no-hitter game. Since then, the Bronx Bombers have ranked Yamamoto higher in the off-season priority list.
Last month, Yoshinobu Yamamoto was posted on MLB free agency by his NPB team, Orix Buffaloes. Since then, teams have lined up their best offers to lure Yamamoto. While the Yankees initially had the upper hand, the last-minute entry of the Dodgers has messed things up. Amid uncertainties, Yanks have identified a couple of alternatives who also happen to be NPB stars.
Shota Imanaga On Yankees Hit List As Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s Pursuit Falls In Jeopardy!
Yoshinobu Yamamoto, the most sought-after Japanese pitcher, has been on the radar of numerous MLB teams due to his impressive track record in NPB. However, with the unpredictable nature of free agency, the Yankees are well aware that securing their top choice is not guaranteed. In the event that Yamamoto opts for a different destination, the Yanks have strategically identified Shota Imanaga as a viable alternative. Imanaga, a 29-year-old southpaw, has been turning heads in NPB. In 2023, he went for 7-4 with a 2.80 ERA, 1.05 WHIP, and 174 strikeouts across 148 innings pitched. Moreover, across eight seasons in NPB, Imanaga has a career record of 74-54 with a 2.96 ERA.
While Imanaga may not boast the same hype as Yamamoto, his consistent success in the Japanese league has caught the attention of scouts and baseball enthusiasts alike. The Yankees have conducted thorough evaluations of Imanaga’s skill set, performance metrics, and adaptability. One of Imanaga’s notable strengths is his left-handedness, providing a valuable balance to the Yanks’ pitching staff. Having said that, the transition from NPB to MLB is undoubtedly a challenging one. But Imanaga’s experience and maturity as a pitcher make him a more seasoned prospect than some of his counterparts. Overall, the Bronx Bombers are keeping their options open when it comes to pitching reinforcement. The moment they lose Yamamoto to any other rivals, we expect the front office to make a move for Shota Imanaga.
Naoyuki Uwasawa Also In Yanks Pitching Reinforcement Plans!
Besides Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Shota Imanaga, Naoyuki Uwasawa remains another potent alternative. The Nippon-Ham Fighters pitcher also transitioned into MLB this year. This year, Uwasawa posted a 2.96 ERA and a 1.135 WHIP with 124 strikeouts across 24 starts. Uwasawa gained recognition as a standout performer in the Japanese league.
His skills on the mound, including a diverse pitching repertoire and strategic game management, established him as a key player for the Fighters. After achieving esteemed success in NPB, the pitcher decided to make a switch to the big leagues. Therefore, the Yankees can target Naoyuki Uwasawa owing to his unique skillset and exemplary experience.