4 crowns + MVP + Sawamura Award → Pitching form change… I’m not the ‘Japanese ace’ I knew until now
Yoshinobu Yamamoto (Orix Buffaloes), the ‘ace’ of the World Baseball Classic (WBC) team in Japan, changes. Take a change from the existing pitching form. It is expected that he will not be the Yamamoto he has known so far.
Koji Uehara, a critic at Japan’s Nikkan Sports, visited Orix Buffaloes’ spring camp in Miyazaki, Japan on the 6th (Korean time).
Koji Uehara, Japan’s ‘Legend’, started his professional life after being nominated by the Yomiuri Giants in the first round of the 1998 rookie draft. Losing 23 holds, 33 saves, ERA recorded 3.02.
After the 2008 season, Uehara stepped on the major league stage by signing a contract with the Baltimore Orioles, and played for the Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox, and Chicago Cubs. left a huge mark. His career record in the US and Japan is 134 wins, 93 losses, 104 holds and 128 saves.
Uehara, who works as a critic for Nikkan Sports, told the media, “I visited Softbank Hawks, Yomiuri Giants, Hiroshima Toyo Carp, and Orix Buffaloes 먹튀검증camp.” I was able to properly examine the pitchers’ pitching in the bullpen.”
According to Uehara, Japan’s ‘ace’ Yamamoto changed his pitching form. Yamamoto is already a familiar figure to domestic baseball fans. Yamamoto climbed the mound against Korea at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, and in the last two years in a row, he won four pitcher crowns (most wins, win rate, strikeouts, average ERA), Pacific League MVP, and Sawamura Award in his arms.
Uehara explained, “In general, pitchers put their weight on their pivot foot and transfer the power of the lower body to the ball as if it were an explosion, but Yamamoto barely lifts his left foot and steps forward as if it were sliding.”
The existing Yamamoto raises the left foot greatly, puts all the weight on the right foot, and has a brief pause. He then has a pitching form where he hits the glove once with his right hand holding the ball and then throws all his weight onto his left foot. However, according to Uehara’s account, Yamamoto does not appear to be lifting his left foot very much anymore.
As the recent results show, Yamamoto’s ball was not easy to match the timing. But if he barely lifts his left foot and takes a slide step, his pitching form gets cleaner and quicker. Each hitter may feel differently, but it may be more difficult to calculate the timing for the Korean national team to face Japan at the WBC.
Why did Yamamoto change his pitching form? In response to Uehara’s question about the reason for the change in pitching form, Yamamoto said, “It was to facilitate the transfer of weight from the right foot to the left foot.”
Uehara called Yamamoto a “genius” and said, “Last year’s performance was very good. An ordinary pitcher would not change his pitching form. However, he changed his pitching form to the point of being too bold. It is proof. They say that the number of rotations and speed of the ball are not different from last year. Now, I think it is important how batters feel.”