Yudai Ohno bypassing MLB chance to remain in Japan

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - MARCH 23: General view of a baseball and rosin bag on the pitcher's mound prior to a Grapefruit League spring training game between the Atlanta Braves and Detroit Tigers at Champion Stadium on March 23, 2018 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The Tigers won 11-3. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - MARCH 23: General view of a baseball and rosin bag on the pitcher's mound prior to a Grapefruit League spring training game between the Atlanta Braves and Detroit Tigers at Champion Stadium on March 23, 2018 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The Tigers won 11-3. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** /
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Japanese star Yudai Ohno is bypassing a chance to come to Major League Baseball, as he has signed a three year extension to remain in Japan.

As the posting window nears, there has been a lot of speculation as to which players will be made available for major league teams to bid on. One of the more intriguing pitchers named was Yudai Ohno, who was absolutely brilliant in 2020. With his impending free agency, it would not have been a surprise to see the Chunichi Dragons post their ace.

Instead, Ohno will be staying in Japan. He has signed a three year extension with the Dragons which will keep him under team control through 2024.

This does not necessarily mean that Ohno will not be posted in the future. Players have signed extensions in Nippon Professional Baseball before, only to be posted a year or two later. However, as Ohno is already 32 years old, this could signal that he is looking to spend the rest of his career in Japan.

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Ohno had put together an impressive 2020 campaign for the Dragons. He had a 10-5 record, along with a 1.79 ERA and a 0.826 WHiP. Not only did he complete ten of his 18 starts, but six of those were shutouts. Over his 135.2 innings, he struck out 127 batters with 20 walks.

While that was easily his best showing in NPB, Ohno’s arsenal made him an intriguing arm had he been posted. His mid 90s fastball plays up due to a somewhat deceptive delivery, making it seem as though it is thrown harder than it actually is. His splitter has impressive movement and is easily his best offering despite a similar velocity to his fastball. Ohno also throws a slider that is average at best, tending to work more as a ground ball pitch than one that will generate swings and misses.

That arsenal also led some to think that Ohno would be better suited to a relief role in the majors. Had he come stateside, it is possible that he would not have received the type of offers, or the role, that he desired. By staying in Japan, Ohno can remain as one of the top pitchers in the league, getting the recognition he desires.

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Yudai Ohno is staying in Japan, agreeing to a three year extension with the Chunichi Dragons. Despite any major league interest, this was likely the right move.