Fukuya Yamazaki has achieved a career-high 11 wins this season.
On the 15th, Orix pitcher Fukuya Yamazaki was announced by the Japan Baseball Organization (NPB) as a declared free agent (FA) player for 2023. The 31-year-old left-hander, who won a career-high 11 games this season, is likely to be in contention to become a valuable left-handed starter. Here, I searched for a team that would be a good fit.
The first one that comes to mind is DeNA. Ace pitcher Shota Imanaga has decided to use the posting system to aim for a transfer to the major leagues. He has 7 wins in 22 starts this season. He won the title for most strikeouts.
Pitcher Trevor Bauer, who joined the team midway through the season, is also rumored to be returning to the major leagues, and pitcher Kendai Ishida, who started this season, is exercising his domestic free agency rights. There is a possibility that three starters will leave. Fuku Yamazaki would fit the reinforcement points.
Yakult, which has fallen to fifth place after winning the league for two consecutive years, also lacks a starting pitcher. Among southpaws in particular, pitcher Keiji Takahashi, who contributed to the WBC championship this spring, has gone from 8 wins and 2 losses last year to 4 wins and 9 losses this season. Pitcher Dillon Peters, who had a 6-5 record with a 3.22 ERA in 18 starts, is a free agent. He must be so wanted that he wants to raise the bar.
Nippon Ham in the Pacific League? Pitcher Naoyuki Uezawa, who pitched 170 innings this season, the most in the league, announced in a posting that he will be transferring to the major leagues. He would be an easy target to fill the void. Lotte faced a lack of starting pitchers towards the end of the season, so much so that they held a “bullpen day” during the Climax Series (CS).
Additionally, Softbank has had zero pitchers reach the required number of innings pitched this season. Pitcher Shuta Ishikawa had the most with 125 2/3 innings. The starting pitcher is the backbone of the team. It will be interesting to see what choices the left-hander will make, as he is expected to become popular.
(Full-Count Editorial Department)