On Tuesday, it was announced that right-handed pitcher Shun Yamaguchi of the Yomiuri Giants would be posted making him eligible to be signed by a major league team for 2020 and beyond. Yamaguchi joins Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, Shogo Akiyama, and Ryosuke Kikuchi in this year’s class of NPB players who could be playing in the big leagues come Opening Day. We’ve written about the slappy Akiyama and the sluggy Tsutsugo, so it’s time to take a closer look at Yamaguchi before he signs with a team that isn’t the Giants.
Thanks to quick looks from Kazuto Yamazaki and Jim Allen we know that Yamaguchi has four pitches: a fastball that sits around 90 mph, a put-away splitter, a slider, and a curveball.
FB averaged at 90 MPH in 2019. Splitter is his go-to put-away. Throws a SL and CV as well. Likely a mid-rotation starter. https://t.co/wPTURSVzLi
— Kazuto Yamazaki (@Kazuto_Yamazaki) November 18, 2019
Allen notes that the 32-year-old cut back on his fastball usage in 2019 relying more on the splitter and slider. It seemed to work for him as he led NPB in strikeouts with 189 in 181 innings and swinging strike rate at 13.5 percent. Yamaguchi owns a 3.33 ERA in 14-season career…