‘King of relief for two years in a row + 236 saves in total’ Japan’s top finisher, aiming to advance to the major leagues


Yuki Matsui (28, Rakuten Golden Eagles), a special left-handed closing pitcher who holds the record of the youngest 200 saves in Japan Professional Baseball (NPB), is aiming to advance overseas.

Japanese media outlets such as ‘Spochihochi’ reported, “Japanese baseball’s best closing pitcher has decided to exercise his rights as an overseas free agent.” The media said, “Matsui is attached to the Rakuten club that has raised him so far, but he is expected to look for a place where he can grow further and aim for a new stage,” adding that Matsui had a high possibility of advancing overseas.

Matsui, who joined Rakuten as the first pick in the 2013 rookie draft, mainly appeared as a starter in his first year of debut in 2014 (starting 17 of 27 games), but later changed his position to relief in his second year and enjoyed success. Starting with 33 saves in 2015, his first year as a closer, Matsui achieved 30 saves for three consecutive years from 2016 (30 saves) and 2017 (33 saves), and recorded 38 saves in 2019, winning the title of Salvation King for the first time in his life. occupied.레모나토토

Matsui, who faltered with 2 saves (4 wins, 5 losses, 8 holds) between starter and bullpen in 2020, accumulated saves again at a scary pace, recording 24 saves in 2021 and 32 saves in 2022. And on April 5th of this year, in a game against the Seibu Lions, he won the NPB youngest-ever 200-save title at the age of 27 years and 5 months.

Matsui also firmly guarded Rakuten’s back door this season, showing outstanding performance with 2 wins, 3 losses, 8 holds, 39 saves, and an ERA of 1.57 in 59 games. Matsui, who won the relief title for the second consecutive year and the third time in his career following last year (32 saves), is recognized as Japan’s best closer with a total of 25 wins, 46 losses, 76 holds, 236 holds, and a 2.40 ERA in 501 NPB games.

Matsui, who has a fastball of up to 154 km/h and a forkball, slider, and curveball of up to 140 km/h despite being only 174 cm tall, is receiving a lot of attention from major league clubs. According to ‘Sports Hochi’, officials from nine teams, including the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and Chicago Cubs, gathered at the game between Rakuten and Orix Buffaloes on September 16 to see Matsui. Also, in October, San Diego club executives visited Japan to check on Matsui.

Matsui, who has excellent strikeout ability, is expected to receive a lot of attention from teams lacking left-handed relievers. It is known that Rakuten, the original club, is preparing a large four-year contract worth 1.6 billion yen (about 14.4 billion won) for Matsui to remain.

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