Yoshinobu Yamamoto is another Japanese sensation of a baseball player. The 5-foot-10 pitcher is ready to come over to the MLB and show that he can hang with the best talent in the world of baseball. The right-hander has electric stuff and a lethal pitching repertoire that features a blazing fastball, biting slider, deceptive changeup, dazzling splitter, and knee-buckling curveball.
Yamamoto was first exposed to the MLB-viewing audience in the World Baseball Classic this past spring. Yamamoto struck out eight against Team Australia in a variety of ways. Every single strikeout besides one was swinging. The hitters looked absolutely helpless against Yamamoto as they chased pitches that wound up completely out of the strike zone. That is how much control Yamamoto has over the movement of his pitches.
Yamamoto has pitched for the Orix Buffaloes of the Nippon Professional Baseball League since 2017. This past season, Yamamoto won his third straight Eiji Sawamura award, which is the NPB’s equivalent of the Cy Young award. The 25-year-old was 16-6 with a 1.21 ERA in 23 starts in 2023. There’s no doubt that the Phillies could utilize this young, dynamic starting pitcher and fit him into their 2024 rotation.
Jordan Montgomery is a veteran option on this list. The left-hander is a brand new World Series champion, and he definitely contributed to the historic victory for the Texas Rangers. Montgomery is a big left-handed pitcher who uses finesse and location to get hitters out.
On the season as a whole, Montgomery had two different experiences on two different teams. Montgomery started out the year on the St. Louis Cardinals until he was traded to Texas around the trade deadline.
With the Cardinals, Montgomery was 6-9 with a 3.42 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, and 108 strikeouts in 121 innings over 21 starts. St. Louis fell out of the race and Texas needed an arm badly in their rotation. The former Yankee delivered for the Rangers as he went 4-2 with a 2.79 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP in 67 2/3 innings over 11 starts in the regular season.
He was one of the most important pitchers in the Rangers’ World Series run. Montgomery appeared in six games, tallied a 3-1 record, a 2.90 ERA, a 1.35 WHIP, and gave up eleven earned runs in 31 innings of work.
The experience that Montgomery had, along with his skill set, would make him a valuable fit for the Phillies. The team could always use starting pitching depth so the bullpen can be lined up to face favorable matchups. However, the postseason success that Montogmery experienced will certainly drive up his price as a free agent.