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Blue Jays among the teams scouting star Japanese pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto

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Photo credit:Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
10 months ago
According to Newsday’s Erik Boland, the Toronto Blue Jays were one of several teams watching 25-year-old starter Yoshinobu Yamamoto when he threw a no-hitter on September 9.
The Blue Jays might have an opening in their rotation next season. Kevin Gausman, Jose Berrios, Chris Bassitt, and Yusei Kikuchi are all signed for 2024, while Hyun Jin Ryu is set to become a free agent and the recent drama surrounding Alek Manoah might raise some questions about his future with the organization. 
The team’s most glaring need certainly isn’t the starting rotation, but you can certainly never have too much pitching depth. Signing a pitcher with the upside of Yamamoto would make an already strong staff even better. 

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This season with the Orix Buffaloes of the Pacific League in Japan, Yamamoto has a 1.26 ERA in 143 innings pitched. To add to this, he has a 26.2 K% and a very low 4.3 BB%. For his career in Japan, he has a 1.84 ERA in 876 innings pitched, along with a 26.4 K% and a 5.9 BB%.
Yamamoto’s fastball sits 94-95 miles per hour and has hit 99 mph in the past. The 25-year-old also features a splitter, a curveball, and a cutter. As you can tell by his career BB% in Japan, he also does a tremendous job at keeping the free passes down as well.
Since Yamamoto doesn’t have 10 seasons of NPB service time, he’ll have to go through the posting system to sign with a team in North America rather than doing so as a regular free agent. As per MLB.com, “The release fee will be 20 percent of the first $25 million plus 17.5 percent of the next $25 million plus 15 percent of the total guaranteed value exceeding $50 million.”

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