The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

The Student Newspaper of Poly Prep Country Day School

The Polygon

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Athletics With Eli: The Market…for Starters

The Major League Baseball (MLB) Winter Meetings have concluded, and free agency is ramping up. With the news that two-way Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani has signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers for a history-making 700 million dollars, the market for some lesser known yet still impactful players is set to take shape in the coming days. A strong starting rotation is a crucial part of any club looking to make the postseason, and with some big names on the board, it is up to front offices to make a splash and have some new faces on the mound come opening day. 


The top 3 starting pitchers on the market:


Yoshinobu Yamamoto – MLB Free Agent (from Japan)

Yoshinobu Yamamoto


Yamamoto has been the talk of the MLB offseason well before it began. He and fellow Japanese-born stud Shoehei Ohtani were the top two names being thrown around by major sports publications. Yamamoto was nothing short of incredible in his seven years in the Japanese Professional Baseball League, playing for the Orix Buffaloes of Osaka. This past season, he submitted an unheard-of 1.21 ERA in 164 innings. His career numbers leave almost nothing to be desired, as he proudly boasts a 1.74 all-time ERA to go along with 986 strikeouts. Yamamoto’s name has been floated around in talks surrounding the Dodgers, Yankees, Cubs, Mets, and Giants. Baseball-Reference says he is set to command a six-year, 122 million dollar contract, with his highest grossing AAV coming in the final year of that deal at $29.5M in 2029. 


Blake Snell – Currently with San Diego 

Blake Snell (VIA Creative Commons)

Snell rose to stardom during his time with the Tampa Bay Rays, where they taught him how to utilize his offspeed offerings more effectively. Snell has always been a ground ball pitcher, posting a career 41.7 percent ground ball rate (GBR), putting him in the top 10 of pitchers in that regard with at least 150 innings of work in 2023. Snell won his second Cy Young award (an award given to the best pitcher from each league) this past season, yet his team struggled and did not make the postseason, making this that much more of an impressive feat. Snell will be looking for a multi-year deal and a big payday this offseason. FanGraphs has him projected at a five-year deal worth 125 million dollars with a $25.0M AAV, slightly higher than that of Montgomery’s and by far the most lucrative in the starting pitcher market. 


Jordan Montgomery – Currently with Texas

Montgomery has been the model of consistency ever since he got a full time position in the Yankees rotation back in 2020. He has posted a mid-3’s Earned Run Average (ERA) the past four seasons and showed the world that he could pitch effectively when it matters most this past October when the Rangers won the World Series. He is only 31, and amidst his prime, his FanGraphs free agent projection sees him getting a five-year deal worth up to 105 million dollars with a fairly team-friendly $21.0M AAV (Average Annual Value). A team on the outside of the playoff picture looking in and needing a strong southpaw at the top of their rotation (i.e., Cubs, Giants, Cardinals, Yankees) should be jumping all over the lefty from South Carolina.

Jordan Montgomery


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