At the end of every season, the best players in Japanese professional baseball board a plane to the United States. At the end of last year, Softbank Hawks ace Kodai Senga (30), Hanshin Tigers right-hander Shintaro Fujinami (29), and Orix Buffaloes fourth hitter Masataka Yoshida flew to the major leagues.
The status of Japanese baseball has increased and the contract conditions are good. Senga signed a 5-year, $75 million contract with the New York Mets, Fujinami signed a 1-year, $3.25 million contract with the Oakland Athletics, and Yoshida signed a 5-year, $90 million contract with the Boston Red Sox.
He achieved results commensurate with his salary. Senga recorded 12 wins and 7 losses, an ERA of 2.98, and 202 strikeouts in 29 games. In his debut season, he filled the number of regulation innings and had the most wins on the team. He ranked second in the National League in earned run average and eighth in strikeouts.
Yoshida, who was the number 4 hitter in the opening game, adapted smoothly. He appeared in 140 games and had a batting average of .208 with 9 ERA, 155 hits, 15 home runs, 72 RBI, and an OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) of 0.783.
Fujinami transferred to the Baltimore Orioles during the season. He started as a starter and changed his position to a relief pitcher, recording 7 wins, 8 losses, 5 holds, 2 saves, and an ERA of 7.18 in 64 games. He showed extreme sluggishness in April and May, but gradually stabilized.
This year, Japanese players continue to advance to the major leagues. Interest in Orix’s ‘super ace’ Yoshinobu Yamamoto (25) is the hottest. As several teams compete to recruit, it is predicted that the total contract amount will soar to $200 million.
In addition to ‘one-top’ Yamamoto, there are two left-handed pitchers that major league clubs are keeping an eye on. They are Yokohama Baystars’ starter Shota Imanaga (30) and Rakuten Eagles’ closer Yuki Matsui (28). The two, who competed side by side in the Korea match as WBC Japan representatives last March, have already announced their intention to challenge for the major league. The team is also heading to the United States
There is an atmosphere of fait accompli.
Sankei Sports, a Japanese sports magazine, reported on the 30th that Imanaga is scheduled to leave for the United States soon. He has a meeting with Octagon, with whom he has signed an agent contract, and trains in the United States.
Imanaga graduated from Komazawa University and joined the team as the first pick in the 2016 rookie draft. He has 7 wins, 4 losses, an ERA of 2.80, and 174 strikeouts in 22 games this season. He recorded the most strikeouts in both leagues, more than ‘Monster’ Yamamoto, who won four gold medals in the Pacific League for three consecutive years.
Imanaga started in the WBC final against the United States held on March 22 and caught the attention of major league team officials. During the season, Chicago Cubs and LA Dodgers officials checked Imana’s games. 먹튀검증디비
Matsui will also soon move to the United States to discuss joining the major leagues with his agency. The Rakuten club is in the position of supporting the challenge of Matsui, who has acquired overseas free agent qualifications.
Matsui, from Tokogakuen, wore a Rakuten uniform as the first pick in the 2014 rookie draft. He was in charge of finishing from the second year of his joining. Last April, he became the youngest person ever to reach 200 years of age at 27 years and 5 months.
He pitched in 501 games over 10 years, recording 25 wins, 46 losses, 76 holds, 236 saves, and an ERA of 2.40. He made 39 saves this season, ranking first in saves for the third time in his career and for the second consecutive year.
It is said that the Major League sees Imanaga as a middle pitching resource rather than a starting pitcher. He may even see Imanaga and Matsui pitching in the major leagues next season.