Top 3 Under-The-Radar Stars Open For Bidding This Offseason

While all eyes will be on Shohei Ohtani this offseason, and other key free agents like Cody Bellinger, Blake Snell and Matt Chapman, there are three other big stars coming to the open market that are flying under the radar for most baseball fans at the moment. But not for long.

According to MLB Insider Jon Morosi, three top Japanese stars are coming to North America as well:

Yoshinobu Yamamoto

The Orix Buffaloes ace pitcher is "poised for immediate major league stardom" says former MLB star Adam Jones. “I love me some Yamamoto,” Jones told Morosi.

The right-hander is 14-6 with a league-best 1.32 ERA in 150 innings this season, with a "diverse repertoire" of pitches. 

The 25-year-old has won Pacific League MVP honors in each of the last two seasons. 

The New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, LA Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals are expected to be prime suitors for Yamamoto. 

Shōta Imanaga

The left-handed pitcher will be 30 next season and has been compared to the Braves ace Max Fried by some American players who faced Imanaga in the WBC. 

He's projected to be a No. 2 or 3 starter in the majors, and no less than 10 teams scouted his most recent start for the Yokohama DeNA BayStars. 

Yuki Matsui

Another lefty, Matsui is a reliever, and will be 28 for the 2024 season. Unlike the previous two, he'll be a full international free agent with neither a posting fee attached, nor MLB Draft pick compensation. 

He'll be a late-inning reliever according to scouts, and has a wide assortment of arm angles and pitch arrays, writes Morosi.

So plenty of Far East talent will be up for bidding this winter, in addition to the MLB free agents we're already familiar with. 

Photo: Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports