Yoshinobu Yamamoto Distinct Javelin Throw Pitching Style Expert Analysis on His Unique Form | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Yoshinobu Yamamoto Distinct Javelin Throw Pitching Style Expert Analysis on His Unique Form

Yushin joined the Dodgers, the same team as Shohei Ohtani, for a 12-year, 46.2 billion yen contract!

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Expectations for the longest contract ever signed by a pitcher in Major League Baseball are rising by the day.

Yoshinobu Yamamoto, 25, has agreed to a 12-year, $325 million (approximately 46.2 billion yen) contract with the Dodgers. Yamamoto will be teammates with Shohei Ohtani, who also joined the Dodgers, from this season. Takashi Kawamura, an expert in motion analysis and associate professor at the University of Tsukuba’s College of Physical Education, gives his approval to Yamamoto’s performance.

Yamamoto has a throwing technique like a yari thrower. Yamamoto throws with his legs stretched out to the ground and his arms flexed like a whip. In fact, he has been incorporating the yari throw into his training, which other Japanese pitchers do not do. Because he makes his feet firmly planted on the ground, it is an ideal style suited to the hard mounds of the Majors and suitable for the U.S.”

Let’s listen to Kawamura’s explanation of Yamamoto’s form while looking at a series of photos below.

In the first step, a right-handed pitcher usually raises his left leg high at the start of a game, but Yamamoto hardly raises it at all. This is evidence that his weight is firmly on his right leg.

It is a unique starting motion. Normally, right-handed pitchers raise their left leg high to maintain balance. Yamamoto, however, hardly raises his left leg at all and starts throwing from a standing position. The position of his right leg and the way he puts his weight on it must be very good. This is evidence that he is able to step firmly on the ground without lifting his left leg.

In the second step, the shoulders are almost parallel to the ground. The body moves smoothly in the direction of the batter, and even the small Yamamoto can throw a powerful ball.

In the second step, the body moves parallel to the batter’s side from the right leg that has stepped on the ground.

The parallel shift toward the batter is less wasteful and efficient, and is the reason why Yamamoto, who is small for a baseball player at 178 cm, is able to throw a powerful ball. At this point, his right hand is up to the shoulder level, allowing him to throw the ball high and with a large drop-off.

In the third step, you can see the abdomen and chest are tense and abdominal pressure is being exerted. The belly, which connects the lower and upper body, functions so that power is efficiently transmitted from the bottom to the top.

The point of the “third step” is the abdomen.

The third point is the abdomen,” he says. “You can see that the abdomen and chest are tense and that ‘abdominal pressure’ (pressure inside the abdominal cavity) is being applied. If the pressure in the abdomen, which connects the lower and upper body, is not released, force is transmitted smoothly from the bottom to the top. Normally, this is quite difficult. Yamamoto’s weight is firmly placed on his hip joints, so he is not losing abdominal pressure.

The fourth step is a pitching form similar to a yari throw. The muscles behind the hips and thighs are used well, and the upper body rotates with great momentum around the left leg.
The characteristic of Yamamoto’s form is his left leg, which is firmly planted on the ground with a firm stance. This is an ideal pitching style for the hard mound of the Majors.

From the fourth to the fifth step, you can see that Yamamoto’s upper body rotates around his left leg, which is firmly planted on the ground. This is the reason why it is called the “Yari-nage” style of pitching.

Many Japanese pitchers throw with their legs bent. This style is fine on a soft Japanese mound, but on a hard major league mound, it is not. But on a hard major league mound, the burden on the lower half of the body increases, and the hip joints become sore. Daisuke Matsuzaka and Koji Uehara, who were plagued by injuries in the United States, are examples of this.

Yamamoto overcomes the difference between Japan and the U.S. by stretching his legs and stepping hard on the ground like a yari-thrower. The key points are the hips and thighs. By using the hamstring (muscles in the back of the thighs) well to hold the stepped leg in place, he is able to rotate his upper body with great momentum and create a large arm flexion.

After winning all the major pitching titles in Japan and the Sawamura Award three years in a row, how well will Yamamoto do in the majors?

Yamamoto’s form is suited for the majors, and he has the potential to win 15 games.

Yamamoto is the only Japanese pitcher who can throw the ball like a sledgehammer, and he will take on the best hitters in the Majors.

From the January 19, 2024 issue of FRIDAY

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