Yoshinobu Yamamoto is one of the most hyped up prospects out of Japan since Shohei Ohtani himself came to the MLB. While Ohtani came over at just 23 years old, Yamamoto is coming over at 25 and is a sight to behold. He doesn't bat like Shohei, but he might be an even better pitcher.
Yamamoto was ridiculously good for his team in Japan, with his final game being one of the best I've ever seen. Yamamoto pitched game six, threw a complete game, struck out 14 and threw 138 pitches. That 14 strikeouts also broke a record formerly held by Yu Darvish.
Yamamoto is incredible, but that just means more teams will do everything they can to get their hands on him. They will for sure break out the pocketbooks, it is just about seeing who actually gets him. Here are my predictions for the three most likely teams to bring in the pitcher from Japan.
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Los Angeles Dodgers
I hate that they are always here, but it's for good reason. The Dodgers have seemingly infinite money to burn, and are loaded to the brim with talent for Yamamoto to play with. Plus, with another bad postseason meltdown (primarily from the batters) the Dodgers could use a way to smooth the edge with their fans.
The Dodgers are also major players for Shohei Ohtani, a fact which could come to play if Yamamoto wants to play with another former JPPL player. The Dodgers have a need for arms with Walker Beuhler recovering from Tommy John surgery, Bobby Miller still being a younger pitcher getting his footing, and the rest of the rotation being question marks. The Dodgers should be in the running, but when aren't they?
Coming off a NLCS appearance a year after making the world series, the Phillies are flying high. They have the money after some big money being made over the last few years, and another ace is exactly what they need. Not to mention that Aaron Nola could be gone after a very strong post season, now could be the best time for the Phillies to get involved.
A team that is contending and just needs depth at pitcher is exactly where you'd want to go as a young stud who wants to contend for years to come. Not only would this team be scary from the bats with Harper and Turner, but a duo of Yamamoto and Wheeler is horrifying for years to come with. Imagine that duo in the playoffs, sheesh.
Yamamoto To The New York Mets?
Of course we had to have at least one New York team on here. The Mets are prime buyers for Yamamoto and have been for a while. They even sent scouts to a game of his in Japan, and you know what he did? He threw a no hitter. After the success they had with Kodai Senga in his rookie year, you have to imagine they'd be eager to get right back into the deep well that is Japanese star pitchers.
The Mets are still a team that need to see pitching be consistent after paying record amounts to Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander, and then trading them both. A young rotation is a desperate need for the Mets and that can't stop at Senga. The Mets have infinite money it seems with owner Steve Cohen seemingly willing to open the pocketbooks for any amount. Given they should also be major players for Shohei, it makes sense for them to be in the running here as well.
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