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What Yamamoto’s nasty stuff would possibly appear like in MLB

December 22nd, 2023 We’re finally going to get to see what Yoshinobu Yamamoto can do in the Major Leagues — but MLB fans have already gotten to see the Japanese superstar pitcher on the big stage. Yamamoto was the ace of Samurai Japan at the 2023 World Baseball Classic. That means we got a sneak

What Yamamoto’s nasty stuff would possibly appear like in MLB

December twenty second, 2023

We’re lastly going to get to see what Yoshinobu Yamamoto can do within the Main Leagues — however MLB followers have already gotten to see the Japanese famous person pitcher on the massive stage.

Yamamoto was the ace of Samurai Japan on the 2023 World Baseball Basic. Meaning we received a sneak peek at what the 25-year-old right-hander can deliver to the Dodgers’ rotation now that he has agreed to a 12-year, $325 million contract with the membership, a supply informed MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand.

The WBC video games had been outfitted with Statcast monitoring, so we received an early have a look at Yamamoto’s stuff. And his stuff appears good. Actually good.

This is a dive into the early Statcast knowledge we now have on Yamamoto’s arsenal, which incorporates shades of latest teammate Shohei Ohtani and longtime Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, amongst others.

All Statcast knowledge for Yamamoto beneath is from the World Baseball Basic.

  • Velocity: 95.3 mph (max velo: 96.9 mph)
  • Spin price: 2,269 rpm
  • Vertical drop: 13.2 inches
  • Horizontal break: 11.0 inches

Yamamoto confirmed his high-velocity, operating four-seamer within the WBC. His fastball averaged over 95 mph in his two outings — virtually 2 mph sooner than the typical massive league starter — and touched 97.

The 11 inches of run he was getting was additionally effectively above common for an MLB four-seamer, and we additionally noticed him generate wonderful “rise” on sure fastballs to get swings-and-misses — like when he struck out Australia’s Ulrich Bojarski with a 96.1 mph, 2,477 rpm four-seamer that solely dropped 9 inches on its approach to the plate.

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You may evaluate that to an MLB fastball like Kevin Gausman’s: In 2023, the Blue Jays ace averaged about 95 mph on his four-seamer with 14 inches of drop and 11 inches of run, an analogous instance of a operating fastball with carry.

And for Yamamoto, that is solely a two-game pattern from the very starting of the yr. We all know from his NPB video games that Yamamoto’s rising fastball will sit within the mid-90s however typically attain the upper-90s.

  • Velocity: 77.0 mph (max velo: 79.1 mph)
  • Spin price: 2,809 rpm
  • Vertical drop: 65.8 inches
  • Horizontal break: 14.2 inches

However let’s get to the signature pitch: Yamamoto’s rainbow curveball.

Whereas Yamamoto throws a wipeout splitter like many Japanese aces — Ohtani, Kodai Senga, Masahiro Tanaka, Roki Sasaki and so forth — his most enjoyable pitch to look at is the curve.

Yamamoto’s curveball, visually, is just like the Kershaw curveball of Japan: It is an exquisite pitch. However actually, from the monitoring knowledge, it appears prefer it’s someplace between Kershaw’s, Max Fried’s, Adam Wainwright’s and Yu Darvish’s, with its mixture of mid-to-upper 70s velocity, massive vertical motion and swooping break.

  • Kershaw’s curveball: 73 mph, 67″ drop, 4″ break
  • Fried’s curveball: 74 mph, 67″ drop, 9″ break
  • Wainwright’s curveball: 72 mph, 68″ drop, 17″ break
  • Darvish’s curveball: 76 mph, 62″ drop, 11″ break

There’s nothing like when an enormous looping curveball like Kershaw’s freezes a hitter. Yamamoto can do precisely that. Like when he buckled Joey Meneses’ knees with a 77 mph curveball that dropped 65 inches and broke 14 inches within the WBC semifinal towards Mexico.

Ohtani has the sweeper. Senga has the ghost fork. Yamamoto has the curve.

  • Velocity: 89.8 mph (max velo: 92.2 mph)
  • Spin price: 1,522 rpm
  • Vertical drop: 32.8 inches
  • Horizontal break: 9.6 inches

Yamamoto’s curveball is the attractive pitch, however his splitter could be his nastiest providing.

It is the one he goes to for Ok’s, and it is a wipeout split-finger identical to Ohtani’s or Sasaki’s — a high-velocity “offspeed” pitch that often breaks into the 90s, with drop-off-the-table downward motion.

Of Yamamoto’s 11 strikeouts within the World Baseball Basic, seven got here on splitters (the opposite 4 got here on fastballs). Of the 19 swinging strikes he induced within the WBC, 11 got here on splitters. His opponents whiffed on slightly below half their swings towards his cut up.

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From a velocity and motion standpoint, Yamamoto’s splitter is lots like Ohtani’s — and Ohtani’s has been overwhelming hitters ever since he received to the Majors.

Ohtani’s splitter in 2023 averaged 89 mph and 1,305 rpm with 31 inches of drop and eight inches of break, very near Yamamoto’s splitter profile from the WBC.

  • Velocity: 93.2 mph (max velo: 93.8 mph)
  • Spin price: 2,470 rpm
  • Vertical drop: 18.3 inches
  • Horizontal break: 2.5 inches

Yamamoto’s fourth pitch is a tough slider/cutter hybrid, like numerous energy pitchers within the Main Leagues at the moment.

It is not as nasty of a strikeout pitch as his splitter, however it’s one other efficient secondary providing due to its excessive velocity for a pitch that is not his major fastball. (This pitch for Yamamoto is extra cutter than slider; individually, he’ll combine in a uncommon mid-80s “sweeper” type of slider.)

Yamamoto’s cutter sits within the low 90s with tight motion, making the pitch perform one thing like Nathan Eovaldi’s cutter, which averages about 91 mph with simply an inch or two of break.

Utilization-wise, although, it is most likely extra like Gerrit Cole’s cutter — which can also be a high-velo, tight-movement cutter, however extra of a tertiary pitch, used behind his different massive out pitches.

Quickly, we must always have much more info with which to additional examine Yamamoto. However from the preview we have already gotten, we are able to see that he has the stuff to be a dominant MLB pitcher like Senga, Ohtani and the opposite NPB aces who’ve made the bounce.

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