Following the success of Kodai Senga transitioning from NPB to MLB, Yoshinobu Yamamoto has been every team’s favorite offseason item. He’s surpassed Shohei Ohtani as the player atop of my Mets’ wish list. While there’s some concern about signing Yamamoto necessitating the Mets having to use a 5.5-man rotation, the Mets likely have the depth starters to pull off that move. But what kind of pitcher is Yamamoto?

Yamamoto’s arsenal is deep and it’s electric with a pitch mix that attacks the zone more vertically, than horizontally. He fits the profile of power pitchers that teams desire. He has velocity along with a killer breaking ball and offspeed pitch; the three make him hard to hit and, with his control, he rarely gives up free passes.


As Yamamoto transitions to facing MLB hitters, he might opt for more high four-seams and more reliance on his curveball as a change of pace early. The MLB ball is slightly bigger and less tacky than its NPB counterpart, and we could see his usage possibly change by adding in more cutters and sliders while he adapts his splitter. However, it is worth mentioning that he threw an MLB ball in the World Baseball Classic this spring with minimal issues.

With three double-plus offerings and elite command of all his pitches, Yamamoto has the chance to be a Top 10 or Top 5 pitcher in MLB next season. There are always questions about the transition from NPB to MLB, but Yamamoto is the most polished pitcher to make this transition.

Source: Brandon Tew, Sports Info Solutions

The Mets cut back on the pitches Senga threw early, only to have him add more back as the season progressed. If they were to sign Yamamoto, it’s easy to see them following the same blueprint. The article also noted that Yamamoto threw 138 pitches in Game 6 of the Japan Series, with his 133rd pitch clocked at 98 mph.

The full article is well worth reading, complete with multiple videos giving extra information about his pitching.

8 comments on “Scouting report for Yoshinobu Yamamoto

  • Nym6986

    I think he is a must for the Mets and the fan base because of his star potential, his young age, and how well he has pitched these last 2-3 years. Cohen was willing to spend $80 million on Scherzer and Verlander when a title appeared possible. Spending $20-$25 million on this guy would be a bargain in today’s world of $20 million plus qualifying offers. We can only really depend on Senga and let’s not forget that Quintana is on the wrong side of 30, and was hurt a good amount of the season before he came back and we got what we had originally expected. You can parse together a 4th and 5th starter but your front three needs to come in to a town and dominate the opposition.

    • Brian Joura

      There are too many teams involved for an AAV of $20 million. It’s likely $25 million won’t get it done, either.

      • Nym6986

        The world of sports economics appears to be getting out of hand. Could it be that the owners are making more money than we think to pay all these salaries?

        • Brian Joura

          That particular ship passed many, many years ago.

          This is from an old article but it’s still true today — “The Atlanta Braves are owned by Liberty Media, a publicly-owned corporation that is required to share their financial information every quarter. As such, the Braves are one of the few major U.S. professional sports teams which report reliable profit numbers. For privately held teams, you and I are more likely to make the roster than to see their actual financial information.”

          This piece quotes their 2019 annual report, which showed the Braves with $476 million in revenue, up 8% from the prior year. Next is from their 2022 reports:

          “According to public sources, in 2022 the Braves ranked #1 in the NL East in revenue and EBITDA3 , and #3 in payroll. We have steadily increased our payroll
          over the past 5 years4 while maintaining healthy profitability. Braves management prioritizes sound investments without tying us to long-term
          contracts that won’t deliver value. Their strategy is paying off—financially and competitively on the field.”


          “Atlanta Braves full-year 2022 revenue increased 4% to $588 million driven by ticket demand during the season and return to full capacity.”

          Click to access Liberty+Media+Corporation+Annual+Report+Proxy+Statement+Bookmarked.pdf

          This year, numbers are available thru the 3rd quarter and they show $528.8 million in revenue. Thru a similar period in 2022, that number was $478 million, an increase of 11%

          • Nym6986

            It is important to remember that while amortization and depreciation, two common expenses that drove the Braves operating income into an operating loss, they are accounting entries that do not require the outlay of money. The are “paper” entries that are valid but only change the bottom line as far as tax purposes. The Braves likely made money before these “expenses” were applied so they are likely in much better shape than one would think. Seems illogical that a sports team could exist without breaking even or at least coming close. A $100k salary in 1972 which is what Seaver made would be worth about $750k in 2023. But if Seaver was pitching now, his salary would be $40 million. Somethings still out of whack.

            • T.J.

              Sports revenues have grown exponentially relative to the rate of inflation. This has been driven by the astronomical growth in TV locally and nationally, including cable TV, and radio. The inception of digital revenue streams has driven even more growth. MLB may be a tough business from the standpoint of cash flow and big vs small markets, and there are certainly teams that run losses in particular years, but rest assured that the owners are not handing out these huge guaranteed contracts out of the kindness of their hearts or to lose money. Uncle Steve may be an anomaly, but he didn’t rack up his billions giving away money either.

              YY is certainly a big financial risk, but he seems to be the kind of purchase that Cohen DNA is built for. With all the salivating, YY will get to pick his destination if his goal isn’t to go to the highest bidder. The big markets seem to all be interested. He really can’t be better positioned. Boras would only need one page in his binder to sell this guy.

            • Brian Joura

              Which is why everything I posted was about revenue.

              Also, 1972 was before Messersmith-McNally, when the reserve clause was still in effect. We think arbitration holds down salaries from what players would get on the free market. The reserve clause was much more effective in that regard.

      • Steve_S.

        Agree. We’re looking at 8 years/$240m. for him, with a couple of opt outs.

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