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NPB Pitcher Rankings

Seibu’s Tatsuya Imai jumps into the Top 10 with newfound command.

Starting Pitcher Power Rankings by Yuri Karasawa

Advanced statistics and trends are prioritized to predict future performance. Click player photo for highlights.

Update #1 (April 8, 2024)
RankNameNotes
1
(-)
Roki
Sasaki


Lotte
Age 22
Fastball is down
from 99 to 96 on
average but the
stuff is unmatched
when he’s on.
2
(-)
Shunpeita
Yamashita


Orix
Age 21
7 BB in season
debut raises some
concerns but stuff
is still overpowering.
3
(+2)
Hiroya
Miyagi


Orix
Age 22
Fastball is up
2-3 mph and
breaking balls
remain top-class.
4
(-1)
Hiroto
Takahashi


Chunichi
Age 21
Had mechanical
troubles in spring
but has thrown 16
scoreless innings
tuning-up on farm.
5
(-1)
Kaima
Taira


Seibu
Age 24
Career-worst 5 BB
in season debut
but held opposition
scoreless anyway.
6
(-)
Shoki
Murakami


Hanshin
Age 25
Had some bad
batted ball luck
and lasted just 3 IP
in season debut.
7
(+1)
Hiromi
Itoh


Nippon-Ham
Age 26
13 IP, 2 ER, 16 K
to open the year.
Chase% and
CSW% are up.
8
(-1)
Shosei
Togo


Yomiuri
Age 23
Fastball velo and
GB% are down again
but still getting
the job done.
9
(+1)
Atsuki
Taneichi


Lotte
Age 25
Struggled in most
recent start but
still missing bats.
New knuckle curve
yet to feature much.
10
(+10)
Tatsuya
Imai


Seibu
Age 25
Fastball sitting 96.
Slider getting whiffs.
Much improved
command, unafraid
to attack the zone.
11
(-3)
Hiroto
Saiki


Hanshin
Age 25
Still too fastball
reliant, which is
also down a tick.
Still hasn’t maximized
his crazy potential.
12
(-1)
Katsuki
Azuma


DeNA
Age 28
Allowed 10 hits
on opening day.
Excellent BB%
should continue to
mitigate damage.
13
(NEW)
Livan
Moinelo


SoftBank
Age 28
8 innings in first
career start followed
by 6 no-hit innings
in second outing.
Starter experiment
is going seamlessly.
14
(+2)
Chihiro
Sumida


Seibu
Age 24
Secondary usage
is way up, which
makes his fastball
play much better.
Changeup is elite.
15
(-3)
Masashi
Itoh


Hanshin
Age 27
Same old Itoh.
Lots of soft
contact, not a
lot of strikeouts.
16
(-2)
Masato
Morishita


Hiroshima
Age 26
Was scratched
from his first start
with right elbow
tightness.
17
(+1)
Yudai
Ohno


Chunichi
Age 35
5 IP, 1 ER, 4 K
in first start back
after missing
most of 2023.
18
(-5)
Kona
Takahashi


Seibu
Age 27
Recorded 0 K
in 6 IP in farm
tune-up start.
Velo drop of 3 mph
is quite concerning.
19
(-2)
Shinnosuke
Ogasawara


Chunichi
Age 26
Showed slight velo
increase but wasn’t
getting whiffs in his
first start of the year.
20
(-5)
Takayuki
Katoh


Nippon-Ham
Age 31
Still has a minuscule
BB% but GB% has
slipped to 30%. Red flag
because he doesn’t have
the stuff to offset it.

Biggest Rise: Tatsuya Imai (+10)
Biggest Fall: Kona Takahashi, Takayuki Katoh (-5)
Fell off List: Taisuke Yamaoka (Injured)
Risers Outside Top 20 to Watch: Koki Kitayama, Kojiro Yoshimura, Kohei Azuma

Preseason (March 25, 2024)
RankName2023 Stats
1Roki
Sasaki


Lotte
Age 22
91.0 IP
1.78 ERA
1.32 xFIP
39.1 K%
4.9 BB%
151 PPQ+
2Shunpeita
Yamashita


Orix
Age 21
95.0 IP
1.61 ERA
2.90 xFIP
26.4 K%
7.8 BB%
101 PPQ+
3Hiroto
Takahashi


Chunichi
Age 21
146.0 IP
2.53 ERA
3.15 xFIP
23.3 K%
8.2 BB%
117 PPQ+
4Kaima
Taira


Seibu
Age 24
150.0 IP
2.40 ERA
3.01 xFIP
25.0 K%
9.0 BB%
105 PPQ+
5Hiroya
Miyagi


Orix
Age 22
146.2 IP
2.27 ERA
2.97 xFIP
21.2 K%
5.4 BB%
114 PPQ+
6Shoki
Murakami


Hanshin
Age 25
144.1 IP
1.75 ERA
2.55 xFIP
25.8 K%
2.8 BB%
113 PPQ+
7Shosei
Togo


Yomiuri
Age 23
170.0 IP
2.38 ERA
3.39 xFIP
20.9 K%
5.8 BB%
100 PPQ+
8Hiroto
Saiki


Hanshin
Age 25
118.2 IP
1.82 ERA
3.32 xFIP
22.6 K%
7.6 BB%
95 PPQ+
9Hiromi
Itoh


Nippon-Ham
Age 26
153.1 IP
3.46 ERA
3.11 xFIP
20.6 K%
6.3 BB%
106 PPQ+
10Atsuki
Taneichi


Lotte
Age 25
136.2 IP
3.42 ERA
2.73 xFIP
27.5 K%
7.9 BB%
111 PPQ+
11Katsuki
Azuma


DeNA
Age 28
172.1 IP
1.98 ERA
2.96 xFIP
20.0 K%
2.3 BB%
107 PPQ+
12Masashi
Itoh


Hanshin
Age 27
146.2 IP
2.39 ERA
3.29 xFIP
15.9 K%
3.7 BB%
103 PPQ+
13Kona
Takahashi


Seibu
Age 27
155.0 IP
2.21 ERA
3.32 xFIP
19.2 K%
7.5 BB%
101 PPQ+
14Masato
Morishita


Hiroshima
Age 26
131.2 IP
3.01 ERA
3.59 xFIP
17.3 K%
6.6 BB%
101 PPQ+
15Takayuki
Katoh


Nippon-Ham
Age 31
147.2 IP
2.87 ERA
3.49 xFIP
12.8 K%
2.5 BB%
91 PPQ+
16Chihiro
Sumida


Seibu
Age 24
131.0 IP
3.44 ERA
2.99 xFIP
23.1 K%
7.4 BB%
113 PPQ+
17Shinnosuke
Ogasawara


Chunichi
Age 26
160.2 IP
3.59 ERA
3.36 xFIP
20.2 K%
6.2 BB%
99 PPQ+
18Yudai
Ohno


Chunichi
Age 35
Injured
19Taisuke
Yamaoka


Orix
Age 28
94.0 IP
2.30 ERA
2.83 xFIP
24.9 K%
8.5 BB%
114 PPQ+
20Tatsuya
Imai


Seibu
Age 25
133.0 IP
2.30 ERA
3.44 xFIP
24.4 K%
11.4 BB%
102 PPQ+
Note: PPQ+ is Pitching Process Quality+, a custom stat combining CSW%, K-BB%, and GB% into one number (100 = League Average)