If Bauer wins, I must win too.”
If there are Yoshinobu Yamamoto (Orix Buffaloes) and Rocky Sasaki (Chiba Lotte Marines), right-handed pitchers representing Japanese professional baseball are definitely Shota Imanaga (Yokohama). DeNA Baystars). Imanaga was nominated by Yokohama DeNA in the first round of the 2015 rookie draft, and has appeared in 154 games, recording 63 wins, 47 losses, and an ERA of 3.16.
Imanaga appeared in 21 games last year, including the first “no hit, no run” in his life, and marked an ERA of 2.26 with 11 wins and 4 losses. 3 hits (1 home run), 2 strikeouts, 1 run, no run, 2 strikeouts, 1 inning against Italy in the quarterfinals, 4 hits, 2 strikeouts and 1 run in 2 innings in the final against the United States.
Imanaga, who left an ‘impact’ on the world stage of the WBC, is aiming to enter the major leagues through the ‘posting system’ after this season. This year, Imanaga pitched in 11 games, including 7 innings, 15 strikeouts and 1 run in the previous appearance, recording 2 complete games, 6 wins and 1 loss with an ERA of 2.29. The Central League is tied for 5th in most wins, 5th in ERA, and 1st in strikeouts (88).
Imanaga has shown a great game recently. He started on the 7th (hereafter Korean time) in the match against the Yomiuri Giants of the 2023 Japanese Professional Baseball held at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan, pitched 113 pitches, 6 hits (1 home run), 15 strikeouts and 1 run (1 earned) in 7 innings. ) and won the 6th win of the season.
It was a pitch of ‘overwhelm’. Imanaga started the game with two strikeouts in the first inning, and hit a solo home run by lead batter Kazuma Okamoto in the second inning, but he struck out two more and finished the inning without much faltering and no additional runs. And in the third inning, Togo Shousei, Louis Brinson, and Maru Yoshihiro all struck out, and in the fourth inning, he struck out all three batters and struck out seven batters in a row.
At the end of the 4th inning, Imanaga, who had already struck out 11 strikeouts, added 1 strikeout in each of the 5th and 6th innings. Even though he passed it easily, he threw a winning shot 151km fastball against pinch hitters Hisayoshi Chono and Yukinori Kishida, striking out in a row and completing the pitching with 1 run in 7 innings.해외안전놀이터 추천
Imanaga, who is aiming to enter the major leagues, is growing step by step in a short period of time while receiving ‘special advice’ from Trevor Bauer, the 2020 National League ‘Cy Young Award’ winner. According to ‘Sponichi Annex’, Imanaga had a conversation with Bauer for about 20 minutes during pitching training at Yokohama Stadium on the 3rd. At the time, Imanaga asked Bauer about the secret to increasing speed in the middle and late stages of the game, saying, “I want to raise at least 2 to 3 km.”
Bauer, who shows a tendency to speed up gradually in the middle and late stages of the game rather than at the beginning, taught how to use the slope of the mound. Based on the advice at the time, Imanaga threw 128 pitches against the Yakult Swallows on the 6th and got a complete victory, and on the 15th he also showed off a 15 strikeout game.
According to ‘Sankei Sports’, Imanaga said, “In order to raise the pitch in a crisis situation, you have to use the angle of flexion of the hip joint, and thanks to that, the arm came out clearly. Bauer has a very good ability to understand his body. Recovery (recovery) I’m definitely putting my energy into it, and I’ve come to pay attention to that too,” he said, “If Bauer wins, I have to win too.”
According to ‘Sponichi Annex’, Imana’s fastball miss rate was 12.5%, higher than Sasaki Rocky’s, ranking first among 12 clubs. Ten of the 15 strikeouts he picked out on the 15th were fastballs, and at that time, the fastball swing rate was a whopping 15.5%. The strike rate is also 74.3%, which is the highest in Japanese professional baseball. Bauer’s advice is working.
Imana is learning a lot of ‘know-how’ from Bauer, who holds the ‘Cy Young Award’ given to the best pitcher in the big leagues ahead of his advance to the major leagues. Currently, major league clubs such as the St. Louis Cardinals are paying attention to Imanaga and observing him. After growing to the next level through Bauer, how big of a contract will he enter the big leagues with?