- Ichiro Suzuki and Hisashi Yamada are the other two players with the honors
- Yamamoto also got his hands on the Sawamura Award for the third straight time
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Japanese pitching sensation Yoshinobu Yamamoto has been named MVP of the Pacific League for the third year in a row in his home country.
Yamamoto, who is wanted by a host of MLB clubs this offseason after entering free agency, joins an exclusive group with Ichiro Suzuki and Hisashi Yamada as the only players to win three MVP awards in the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization.
‘He is a legend of the franchise,’ the 25-year-old said about Ichiro, who also once played for the Orix when the club was known as the Blue Wave.
‘I’m happy to have done the same as him. Everyone looks up to him, and I’m one of those.’
Yamamoto also won his third straight Sawamura Award 0 the NPB equivalent of the CY Yong award.
Yoshinobu Yamamoto has been named MVP of Japan’s NPB Pacific League for the third year
Ichiro Suzuki and Hisashi Yamada are the only other players with three straight MVP awards
Yamamoto is wanted by a number of MLB clubs this offseason after entering free agency
He went 16-6 this season with a 1.21 ERA and a 0.884 WHIP in 23 appearances, while also striking out 169 batters, and 28 walks in 164 innings.
Despite this Yamamoto still felt that he had more room to grow as a pitcher.
‘I can’t quite say I left everything out there on the field, but I’ve had a terrific journey in pro baseball,’ he said. ‘I’m very happy because it’s important to me to continue to contribute.’
Yamamoto is expected to be one of the most sought-after MLB free agents this off season and has been linked with multiple teams including the New York Mets, Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan previously mentioned that Yamamoto is likely to start negotiations with teams at $200million and work upwards from there.
While describing his game ESPN’s Buster Olney said: ‘His trademark is his wide assortment of breaking pitches, excellent command and a fastball in the mid-90s.’
Paul Heyman of the NY Post also noted that rumors have been circulating through MLB circles that Yamamoto may prefer to play for a team on the west coast, potentially making things difficult for teams like the Mets and Yankees.