The Yoshinobu Yamamoto sweepstakes appear over as the Japanese ace will sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Jack Curry of the YES Network was the first to break the signing. The 12-year, $325 million contract is the largest given to a player who has yet to make his major league debut. Yamamoto had a robust market for his services, with multiple big market clubs apparently having him as their top target. The heavy competition no doubt inflated the contract. Initial estimates predicted a deal of around $200 million.

Yamamoto was a prized target this winter due to his skills, great success in Japan, and his age. The 25-year-old comes to America after winning his third consecutive MVP award in the Pacific League. In seven professional seasons, Yamamoto won three Eiji Sawamura Awards (the Nippon Professional Baseball version of the Cy Young award) and three MVPs.

Last season, his final in Japan, the righty went 16-6 with a 1.21 ERA and a 0.884 WHIP in 23 appearances. Yamamoto’s 169 strikeouts and 28 walks in 164 innings highlights his dominance.

Yamamoto’s Repertoire

Yamamoto has drawn comparisons to Tim Lincecum due to his smaller size and great stuff. The 5-10 ace will throw a mid-90s fastball that pairs with a great splitter. His splitter is by far his best pitch, and he effectively pairs it with his fastball. While he doesn’t throw incredibly hard, the command of his fastball, especially up in the zone, absolutely fools hitter.

Even more, Yamamoto has a plus curveball that further keeps hitters on their toes. Without good command, hitters would be able to eliminate a pitch (or two) and can focus on one pitch. Yamamoto’s skills will prevent hitters from getting comfortable off of him. Pitchers with his youth typically lack the polish and development he has.

It’s no wonder why so many teams fought hard for his services. Yamamoto signs with the Dodgers to lead the rotation possibly through the end of the decade. While some question whether his size can handle the workload of an MLB season, Los Angeles clearly is buying high on Yamamoto’s upside.

Main Photo Credits: Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

Akash Mahi, a dedicated enthusiast of the game, is a recognized expert in the domain of tennis balls. With a keen understanding of materials and aerodynamics, he has contributed to the evolution of tennis ball design, enhancing playability and performance. Mahi's expertise continues to impact both casual players and professionals alike.