Joining Yoshinobu Yamamoto (25) of the Orix Buffaloes and Yuki Matsui (28) of the Rakuten Eagles, left-hander Shota Imanaga (30) of the Yokohama BayStars has made his Major League Baseball debut. Both pitchers represented Japan at the World Baseball Classic (WBC) in March and helped the team win the title. Yamamoto and Imanaga have been starting and Matsui has been closing.
The Yokohama club announced on Nov. 11 that Imanaga will be allowed to enter the major leagues through the posting system. A club official said, “We spoke with the player himself and decided to allow him to try out for the major leagues. We hope he will improve and play for us someday.”
Imanaga, a graduate of Komazawa University, joined the organization as the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft. In eight seasons, he appeared in 165 games (158 starts), compiling a 64-50 record with four shutouts and a 3.18 ERA.
He led the team to a third-place finish in the Central League this season with fellow left-hander Atsuki Azuma (28) and Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer (32) as the 1-3 starters.
Imanaga went 7-4 with a 2.80 ERA in 22 games this season. In 148 innings pitched, he struck out 174 batters to lead the Central League in that category. The ‘Shoe won four Pacific League titles for the third straight year.
per Ace” Yamamoto (169), who won the Pacific League title three years in a row.
Imanaga threw a no-hitter against the Nippon Ham Fighters in an interleague game at the Sapporo Dome on June 7 last year. He faced 28 batters until the ninth inning, throwing 117 pitches with one walk and nine strikeouts. It was the first no-hitter by a Yokohama pitcher in 52 years.
The team is no stranger to Korean baseball fans, having played in the WBC Korea in March. He pitched the fourth inning after Darvish Yu (San Diego) and gave up one run in three innings. He gave up a run-scoring home run to Park Geon-woo in the sixth inning. Started the final game against the United States, allowing one run in two innings. 토토사이트
Several major league teams have checked on Imanaga this season, including the Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, and San Diego Padres.
Some American media outlets rate Imanaga as a middle-of-the-rotation pitcher rather than a starter, but overall the reviews are favorable. Along with Shohei Ohtani and Yamamoto, Imanaga is one of the top 10 free agents this offseason. Some outlets are projecting $85 million over five years. Signed by the New York Mets last winter for five years and $75 million.