Is Yamamoto's Curveball the Next Big Thing in Baseball?

Yoshinobu Yamamoto's Signature Yo-Yo Curveball Makes a Stunning MLB Debut

by Nouman Rasool
Is Yamamoto's Curveball the Next Big Thing in Baseball?
© Eric Espada/Getty Images

When Yoshinobu Yamamoto took the mound to pitch for the Dodgers, one couldn't help but sense a lot of anticipation in the air. Bluntly, Yamamoto was no stranger to occupying the center of the spotlight. He had become something of an enigma in the World Baseball Classic.

But fans and analysts had to imagine: how would he compare to the legendary career of Clayton Kershaw and his incredible curve? Dubbed "Public Enemy No. 2," Yamamoto's curve-ball has been devastating in his major league outings, showing a mastery level that puts it among the elite pitches in the majors.

In his Dodger Stadium debut, he treated it like it was lethal, piling up ten called and swinging strikes on the curve-ball, the most a few starters have registered in a game this season. With 3D tracking from Statcast, fans could see the pitch on which they marveled at how much deception and depth Yamamoto gets with the delivery.

Yamamoto's Curveball Magic

Statcast shows Yamamoto's curve-ball at 78.0 mph, a spin rate at 2,740 rpm, with a 63.0 vertical movement, and 13.1 inches horizontal movement. The induced vertical break of 17.1 inches is quite a difference and makes it a nightmare for hitters.

Yamamoto's curve-ball not only drops dramatically with a 7.7-inch greater depth of break than any other similar MLB offering it often has unique two-directional break that leaves batters frozen or flailing. Multidirectional movement had been the key to Yamamoto's success early in his career, drawing comparisons with Kershaw's iconic pitch.

Each time he takes to the mound, Yamamoto seems to get more and more impressive with his bag of curve-ball magic tricks to bedevil hitters. As he makes another stand against the Cubs, the baseball world takes notice as they have all season, expecting to see just how big his great talent will carry him.

The visual appeal and statistical excellence of Yamamoto are intertwined in the curve-ball, both reasons to be attracted as a pitch worth watching and a phenomenon reformatory to expectations on the diamond.