Emerging star on the horizon? Yankees send scouts to analyze Japanese prospect

Yanoshibu Yamoto - who has been linked with a move to Yankees - in action for the Japan NT.

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The New York Yankees kickstarted the week by promoting prospects Oswald Peraza and Everson Pereira. However, their attention seems fixated on securing an intriguing talent from the market – Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

According to MLB insider Jon Heyman of the New York Post, the Yankees dispatched a scout to assess the performance of Orix Buffaloes’ star right-handed pitcher, Yoshinobu Yamamoto, during Wednesday’s start. Yamamoto’s display over seven scoreless innings exuded composure, focus, and athleticism. His repertoire included several impressive pitches: a four-seamer reaching 97 mph, a cutter, a curveball, and a splitter. Notably, the Yankees were among ten teams, including prominent clubs like the Mets, Red Sox, and Cardinals, scouting the Japanese player.

In attendance to evaluate the two-time MVP, who is expected to be posted, were the Cubs, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Phillies, Rangers, and Tigers. Yoshinobu Yamamoto, a two-time MVP with the Orix Buffaloes, is capturing substantial attention from MLB teams, including the New York Yankees.

Who is Yoshinobu Yamamoto?

CBS

Yamamoto has undeniably dominated Japanese baseball in recent years, emerging as a premier pitcher. His name had been associated with a potential move to the Mets – the Yankees’ rival – before the trade deadline, although the deal failed to materialize. In March, CBS recognized him as the top non-MLB prospect globally.

Yamamoto’s pitching attributes align seamlessly. His command of a mid-90s fastball with impressive carry, coupled with a deceptive splitter and a high-spin curveball, positions him well. While he needs to validate the effectiveness of his arsenal, particularly the splitter, in the MLB context, history suggests optimism. Physical stature stands as a minor concern; though listed at 5-foot-10 with a slender frame, the trend towards shorter pitchers is favorable due to evolving pitching concepts and reduced workload expectations. Upon transition, Yamamoto is likely to assume the role of a No. 2 starter.

Yanoshibu Yamoto - the newest Yankees' target - during a game in Japan.
MLB

At 25 years old, he avoids MLB’s international bonus regulations, granting him the freedom to sign a contract of any magnitude. However, the signing team will compensate the Buffaloes with a posting fee linked to the contract size. Notably, Masahiro Tanaka’s Yankees agreement of seven years and $155 million is the most substantial ever awarded to a posted Japanese player.

With the impending free agent class lacking depth beyond Ohtani, Yamamoto could promptly ascend as the second- or third-most coveted free agent.

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