Welcome to this week’s Big Movers in the weekly update of the RotoProspects Top 500.
The No. 1 riser is Yoshinobu Yamamoto, a 25-year-old right-handed pitcher of the Dodgers who just signed a 12-year, $325 million deal to come to MLB from Japan. made just 4 starts last season before needing Tommy John surgery in May. The 5-foot-10, 176-pounder has won the Sawamura Award as Japan’s best pitcher in each of the past three seasons, posting microscopic ERAs of 1.39, 1.68 and 1.21. Yamamoto’s fastball reaches the upper-90s and has great ride from a lower release point. He pairs it with a filthy low-90s splitter that rated as a 155 Stuff+ across his WBC starts. Then there’s his unique curveball, which he gets elite spin and a 65-inch drop from a funky release. He has an average cutter that he doesn’t use much but the Dodgers could make something out of. Yamamoto immediately steps into the front of the Dodgers rotation and has us dreaming of a perennial Cy Young contender with elite stats across the board. Yamamoto debuts at No. 7.
Next up is Jung Hoo Lee, a 25-year-old outfielder of the Giants who just signed a six-year, $113 million contract to come from South Korea to San Francisco. The 6-foot-1, 192-pounder (pictured above) already has seven years under his belt as one of the best players in the KBO, putting up a career triple-slash of .340/.407/.491 with 65 homers and 69 steals in 884 games. Over the last three seasons combined, Lee has struck out just 92 times with 177 walks in 1,158 plate appearances. Lee has a 60-grade hit tool that should allow him to hit near the top of the Giants’ order, but we’ll see how much power he can get to in San Francisco’s pitcher’s park. Lee debuts at No. 66.
Josh Knoth, an 18-year-old right-handed pitcher of the Brewers who has yet to make his pro debut after going 33rd overall in July’s draft but has drawn comparisons to a young Lance McCullers Jr., and he jumps up 23 spots to No. 417.
Blake Mitchell, a 19-year-old Arizona Complex League catcher of the Royals who struggled in a brief pro debut after going 8th overall in the MLB draft, and he rises up 19 spots to No. 437.
Tekoah Roby, an 22-year-old Double-A right-hander of the Cardinals who posted a 3.00 ERA in four starts after coming over in a midseason trade from the Rangers, and he cruises up 13 spots to No. 146.
Eric Bitonti, a 18-year-old Arizona Complex League shortstop of the Brewers who hit 2 homers in a 12-game pro debut after going 87th overall in the MLB draft, and he moves up 12 spots to No. 443.
The biggest faller of the week is Estevan Florial, a 26-year-old Yankees outfielder who is once again getting buried on the depth chart in New York, so he drops 19 spots to No. 391.