Shota Imanaga, the “ace” of the Yokohama DeNA Baseball Club and the “left-handed ace” of Nippon Professional Baseball, has been confirmed for the major leagues.
“Imanaga will be able to challenge the major leagues this offseason through the posting system,” Japan’s Nikkan Sports reported on Nov. 11 (JST).
General manager Hagihara Yokohama made the announcement himself. “We had final discussions on Imanaga’s challenge to the United States the day before (Tuesday), and the club decided to accept, so we would like to inform you,” he explained.굿모닝토토 주소
Imanaga was highly touted to make it to the major leagues after this season. Drafted by Yokohama DeNA in the first round of the 2015 Nippon Professional Baseball Entry Draft, Imanaga has pitched in 165 games over eight seasons, posting a 64-50 record with four shutouts and a 3.18 ERA.
Imanaga has a variety of pitches, including a fastball that reaches up to 154 mph and his “main weapon” changeup, as well as a slider, curve, two-seam, and cutter.
The team is also well known to Korean baseball fans. In March, he took the mound behind Darvish Yu (San Diego Padres) in the World Baseball Classic (WBC) Korea-Japan game and pitched powerfully. He pitched in three games, including the final, and went 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA to help Japan win the tournament.
It was during this time that he made a name for himself with Major League Baseball teams, and indeed, he has received interest from many of them. Scouts from six teams, including the New York Yankees, traveled to Japan to watch him pitch.
Imanaga signed with Octagon, an overseas agency, to represent him in the major leagues. He will be contacting American clubs as much as the clubs allow.
MLB.com, the official website of Major League Baseball, took notice. “Imanaga is not the only Japanese star pitcher who could come to the major leagues next season,” the site said, adding, “Imanaga will also be coming to the posting system and could sign with an MLB team this winter.”
“Imanaga won’t get the same level of contract as Yamamoto, the best pitcher in Japan, but he’s one of the best starters in NPB. He could potentially be a valuable addition to the starting staff as a second or third starter.”
“We are very happy to have a player from Yokohama who is challenging for the major leagues, but we are also sad to see him go,” said General Manager Hagihara. “We would be happy to see him succeed and come back and play for us one day.”