Free agent draw Yoshinobu Yamamoto may have an extra incentive to join the New York Mets as fellow Japanese countryman Kodai Senga provides a familiar face for the ace in the locker room.
Camaraderie Helped Yamamoto Dominate at WBC and Peaked His MLB Interest
SNY detailed how Senga has been in Yamamoto’s ear about transitioning over to the big leagues and doing so in a Mets uniform:
As it pertains to the World Baseball Classic, both pitchers helped lead Japan to a 3-2 victory over the United States en route to their third tournament championship.
Japan held opponents to under four runs scored in all but one of their matchups and dominated the field in an undefeated run. Yamamoto finished second among all pitchers with 12 strikeouts, exceeding that of former MLB MVP teammate Shohei Ohtani.
Yamamoto’s output gives teams reason to salivate over him. Since 2017, Yamamoto has produced a 1.82 ERA across seven seasons in Japan’s NPB league. Yamamoto’s fastball tops out at 96 mph and the veteran has command of every pitch in his arsenal, including his four-seam fastball which he threw more than any other pitch at the WBC.
- Mets sign bullpen arm to bolster depth
- Mets have 3 franchise greats on 2024 HOF Ballot
- Mets’ Kodai Senga primed to win 2023 Rookie of the Year Award
Senga’s Experience Can Serve as Tutelage For the Mets’ Prospect
Senga also made the jump to the Major Leagues from Japan and knows what it takes to prove himself among baseball’s top talent. The 30-year-old righty spent 11 seasons in the NPB and carried over his strong 2.59 ERA and win percentage to the United States.
In his lone season with the Mets, Senga boasted a winning 12-7 record behind a 2.98 ERA and a polished 3.63 FIP. His 4.5 WAR was third among all National League pitchers, though he did show a tendency to throw erratic pitches with an NL-leading 14 wild pitches thrown.
If anyone can ease Yamamoto’s transition to the MLB the smoothest, it would be Senga. The 2023 All-Star took his time in visiting every MLB city he received recruitment from and his desire to play in the Big Apple was met with a catered pitch from the Mets’ front office. Yamamoto is being actively recruited by several other big market franchises including the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees across the water. Senga may be the tipping point in his ultimate decision.
The Mets could sign a former MVP