While it's only natural to compare new Dodgers ace Yoshinobu Yamamoto to his other successful countrymen at first blush -- like Daisuke Matsuzaka and Masahiro Tanaka -- MLB Network's Tom Verducci dropped a surprising (and joyous) comp on the air Friday afternoon.
Yamamoto's "no-windup delivery" might evoke memories of pitchers in the past who've lulled hitters to sleep with a quick strike following a defined lack of movement. Add in his arsenal (fastball/splitter), and Verducci sees shades of a pitcher who's been on the national stage in recent months -- and once put the Dodgers to bed for nearly a full game's worth of playoff extra innings.
Watch the package below. Are you, too, feeling Nathan Eovaldi vibes?
Yoshinobu Yamamoto could be the Dodgers' ... Nathan Eovaldi?
Add in the fact that Roger Clemens himself felt that the movement on Yamamoto's splitter was reminiscent of his own famed "Mr. Splitty," and it starts to become fairly obvious why all the smart organizations and big spenders were willing to eclipse Gerrit Cole's contract to nab a 25-year-old with 0 MLB innings under his belt.
Eovaldi left Boston last offseason in a cloud of injury concern, but emerged as the Rangers' ace in a season that somehow left him venerated as the rotation's healthiest member (as well as a World Champion). For just two years and $34 million (along with a 2025 vesting option), the Rangers secured Nasty Nate and his playoff bravado, and the right-hander -- who's in love with attacking the zone before diving below it -- delivered. He was their postseason co-ace, alongside Jordan Montgomery, and defeated the dreaded Astros twice in the ALCS seven-gamer, both times on the road.
If Yamamoto's going to evoke Eovaldi in the bigs, with his casual rock-and-fire (Verducci also compared the windup to Don Larsen, of all people, in the wayback machine), he'll need to overcome the postseason bugaboos that sometimes arose in Japan. Luckily, unlike Eovaldi, he won't have to be the man immediately, with Walker Buehler, Tyler Glasnow and Bobby Miller around to pick up any lingering slack in Year 1 (and that Shohei Ohtani guy ready to co-lead next summer).