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Yoshinobu Yamamoto

Born: 08/17/1998 (Age: 20)
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Height: 5' 10" Weight: 176
Mechanics
Slight build for a starter. Could add a bit more weight. Semi-windup, hands start at letters. Moderate leg kick. High three-quarter arm slot. Exceptional arm speed. Athletic and fluid mechanics, though lower half looks a bit stiff. Stays upright throughout the delivery. Maintains the velo from the stretch. Works quickly, takes no more than 8 seconds between pitches with no one on.
Evaluator Kazuto Yamazaki
Report Date 07/06/2019
Affiliate (, )
Dates Seen 4/11/, 5/15, 6/28/2019
OFP 70
MLB ETA 2024
Video Yes
Pitch Type Future Grade Sitting Velocity Peak Velocity Report
Four-Seam Fastball 60 92-95 97 Rail straight action. Shows late, explosive life. Used both as a setup (especially early in the game) and put-away pitch. Misses bats up in the zone and above, but looked hittable when it was located down. Needs to elevate it more. Carries the velo into late in the game, hit 94 on the stadium gun on the 122nd pitch. Command flashes plus, but it can come and go and lags behind control. The velo was a couple ticks down in April on a cold, windy night.
Two-Seam Fastball 50 90-92 93 Shows fringe-average run. Can keep it down in the zone. Uses it for change of pace. Could be an effective weapon in north-south sequences if he learns to elevate the four-seam fastball.
Splitter 70 85-89 91 The best ones show well above-average late tumble. Effective swing-and-miss pitch especially against opposite-handed hitters. There's some inconsistency, but projects to be a future elite MLB put-away pitch.
Cutter 60 88-90 91 Shows hard, late bite. Used as a slider substitute. Swing-and-miss pitch. Command on the pitch gets shaky at times. In June 28th outing, he used it sporadically early in the game, then bumped the usage in the third time through the order.
Curveball 55 72-79 81 Shows big, sweeping action in the lower velo band (72-77). Uses to steal strikes early in the count. In the upper velo band (77-79), it shows sharp bite with quality depth for put-away. The latter iteration could be called a soft slider. In some plate appearances this pitch becomes the backbone of the sequences.
Overall

Basically MLB ready with five (or more) above-average-or-better pitches. Overall command projects to be plus. Shows mature composure beyond his age. Only time he lost concentration on the mound was when the defense behind him committed five miscues in an inning. He is comparable to other front-line starters from the NPB, such as Yu Darvish and Masahiro Tanaka.

However, Yamamoto's slight build raises long-term health concerns. By the time he is available for MLB teams, he will have logged some mileage on his arm, with a load of high-stress innings. As a 20-year-old this season, he has exceeded 120 pitches in multiple starts. The body may break down or the stuff may diminish towards his late 20s.

Ultimately, though, you could see a true front-line MLB starter in him if things go his way, with a high-leverage reliever as a fallback option.

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