Jan 10, 2024 - Sports

5 things to know about new Cubs pitcher Shōta Imanaga

baseball player

Shota Imanaga of Team Japan pitches in the first inning against Team USA during the World Baseball Classic Championship in 2023. Photo: Megan Briggs/Getty Images

The Cubs finally made a splash in free agency Wednesday, signing Japanese pitcher Shōta Imanaga.

What's happening: The move comes right before the Cubs Convention this weekend. Here are some fun facts about Chicago's newest pitcher.

1. He's no Shohei or Yoshinobu Yamamoto, for that matter. But he does boast similar stats from his eight-year career in the Nippon Professional Baseball League, where he averaged a strikeout per inning!

Yes, but: Insiders are worried he won't have success in the MLB because Japanese baseballs are different.

2. He's older. At 30 years old, he's already older than most rookies in the league. He's also 5' 10" and weighs 176 pounds.

What to watch: The left-hander is known for a dramatic "paused leg lift" that keep batters off balance.

3. He has an awesome nickname: The Throwing Philosopher. He reportedly earned the name from doing unique interviews in Japan.

4. He most recently played for the Yokohama BayStars, who play in one of the smallest stadiums in the entire league. Opposing teams hit a lot of home-runs there, but Shota still excelled.

  • He may feel right at home at the Friendly Confines.

5. He'll be the 10th Japanese player to play for the Cubs.

Of note: The Cubs connection is also deep in the NPB League. One of the biggest home run hitters in league history? Tuffy Rhodes.

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