10 best Angels free agent targets to pursue this offseason

The Angels have a lot of room to improve following another disappointing year.

May 3, 2023; St. Louis, Missouri, USA;  Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani (17)
May 3, 2023; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani (17) / Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
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2) Yoshinobu Yamamoto

Normally when free agents become available they're around or over the age of 30. Even looking at this list, only Bellinger, Hader, and Hicks are below the age of 30, and Hader turns 30 in April. What makes Yoshinobu Yamamoto special is he's just 25 years old.

Yamamoto's youth not only means that he's going to be good for a while for whatever team he signs with, but it also means he's not going to be under contract when he's seriously regressing. That's the downside to signing almost every major free agent, but the Angels wouldn't have to deal with that if they convinced him to come.

Even with Yamamoto not pitching in MLB yet, he's still one of, if not the best pitchers available. He's the highest-touted Japanese prospect since Shohei Ohtani came to the Angels, and should make an immediate impact as a frontline starter for whatever team he ends up signing with.

Yamamoto won back-to-back Sawamura awards as NPB’s best pitcher in 2021 and 2022. He arguably improved on that performance, posting a 1.21 ERA through 164 innings this year with 169 strikeouts compared to just 28 walks. Perhaps what was most impressive from the right-hander was he only gave up five home runs all year.

We saw how well Kodai Senga pitched for the Mets this season, and Yamamoto comes in younger and better. He showed it in the WBC and has been the best pitcher in Japan in the last three years. It will be fascinating to see where he signs, and would be awesome for the Angels to at least show some interest.