Giants free-agent target Yamamoto breaks Japan Series strikeout record

NBC Sports Bay Area

One of the Giants’ possible MLB free-agent targets put on one final show before the offseason frenzy begins.

Japanese right-handed pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who is expected to be posted and available to MLB teams in the coming weeks, pitched a gem in the Orix Buffaloes’ 5-1 Game 6 win over the Hanshin Tigers in the Japan Series finals on Saturday.

Yamamoto went the distance, allowing one earned run across nine innings pitched with a Japan Series-record 14 strikeouts on 138 total pitches to force a Game 7.

In the regular season, Yamamoto posted a 16-6 record with a microscopic 1.21 ERA and 169 strikeouts to 28 walks in 164 innings pitched.

Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi and general manager Pete Putila recently traveled to Japan to scout Yamamoto ahead of free agency and are believed to be one of the teams who will heavily pursue the two-time Pacific League MVP when he is posted.

Zaidi even told NBC Sports Bay Area that the Giants are “monitoring” players like Yamamoto and heaped plenty of praise onto the star pitcher, claiming he is “one of the top starting pitchers in the world.”

Yamamoto is expected to be one of the top free agents this offseason and some believe the 25-year-old could land a $200-plus million contract with an MLB team.

The Giants certainly will have plenty of competition for Yamamoto’s services this offseason.

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