Shun Yamaguchi, who led the Central League in wins, strikeouts and winning percentage this season, intends to move to the major leagues through the posting system, the Yomiuri Giants right-hander said Monday.
By receiving the nod of approval from the Tokyo-based CL club, the 32-year-old pitcher becomes the first Giants player to be involved in the posting system.
“I will take a shot at my dream of playing in the majors. I’d like to express my appreciation to Yomiuri Giants officials, manager Mr. (Tatsunori) Hara, my coaches, teammates and fans for the past three years,” Yamaguchi said in a press conference at a Tokyo hotel.
“I will work even harder as I pursue a new challenge,” he said.
Yamaguchi went 15-4 this year with 188 strikeouts and a .789 winning percentage as he contributed to Yomiuri’s first CL pennant in five years. He signed with the Giants ahead of the 2016 season after leaving the Yokohama BayStars as a free agent.
Yamaguchi turned pro in 2006 after the BayStars took him in the first round of the 2005 high school draft. By 2009, he had become the BayStars’ top reliever, and in 2012 became the youngest player to record 100 saves. He has been used as a starter since 2014, and has a career record of 64-58 with 112 saves.
Hara said he joined the press conference to celebrate the sendoff of the “main pillar of the team,” adding that he is delivering on his promise to support Yamaguchi in achieving his dreams.
The posting system allows Japanese players under contract to negotiate with major league teams. If a contract is concluded, their Japanese clubs receive a transfer fee based on a prescribed percentage of the value of the player’s contract.