Why the Dodgers’ Yoshinobu Yamamoto is must-see TV | Baseball Bar-B-Cast

Yahoo Sports' senior MLB analysts Jake Mintz and Jordan Shusterman explore the Dodgers' latest pitching asset, diving into the distinctive qualities that set his pitching style apart.

Video Transcript

JORDAN SHUSTERMAN: This introduction of Yamamoto, even in a spring training context, seeing him in a Dodgers uniform pitching over a couple of innings, felt different. Felt special. Felt like I was seeing something for the first time, and that's because we were. And I know this is a pitcher that fascinates you. He fascinates me, and I think we should really take a moment to appreciate what we might be about to witness with him in his first year as a Dodger.

JAKE MINTZ: 12-year, $325 million, plus a $50 million posting fee for a guy who had never thrown a single pitch in the major leagues. And I think it was rational for people to see that dynamic and be confused, and aghast, and have skepticism, if that, quote, "was worth it". I think he is going to be as worth it as any $325 million pitcher whose value rests solely upon a flimsy elbow ligament can possibly be because his raw stuff is flat out elite.

And it's not just the stuff, it is how it comes out of his hand, and how it gets from the mound to the plate. And I think the hardcore ball heads among us had watched quite a bit of Yamamoto video from his time in Japan, from his time in the WBC, but it's a different experience to see that on a spring training mound. To see it with an MLB camera. To see it in an MLB uniform. And my first takeaway, before we get to the data, his motion is wild, right?

It looks like he's falling over with his straight leg. He's not getting to full leg lift. And then, out of nowhere, he explodes towards the plate, and the ball flies out of his hand at 95 miles an hour. It's a remarkable thing to see.

JORDAN SHUSTERMAN: And the most important part about it-- the reason why it's so special-- is the command, the intent, and that's something that I talked to a top prospect, Dalton Rushing, about. He told me a story about catching one of his bullpens. And this wasn't even in LA, this is before they even got to spring training, and how apologetic he was when he would miss his spot by half an inch.


It's like, no, dude. It's fine. Like, you're going to be OK even if you're throwing 97 miles an hour there. And it's just so impressive. His athleticism and just the grace with which he moves, and all the pitches kind of work together, is really exciting.

JAKE MINTZ: Immediately must-see TV.