Shōta Imanaga

Shōta Imanaga

Shōta Imanaga News

"We’re all kind of astonished at how good he’s been" - NL official on rookie ace Shota Imanaga's unstoppable rise to MLB prominence "We’re all kind of astonished at how good he’s been" - NL official on rookie ace Shota Imanaga's unstoppable rise to MLB prominence
"We’re all kind of astonished at how good he’s been" - NL official on rookie ace Shota Imanaga's unstoppable rise to MLB prominence
“One bad game doesn’t define you” - MLB fans rally behind Shota Imanaga after rough start against Brewers “One bad game doesn’t define you” - MLB fans rally behind Shota Imanaga after rough start against Brewers
“One bad game doesn’t define you” - MLB fans rally behind Shota Imanaga after rough start against Brewers 
"I want to apologize to Counsell for not having it " - Cubs ace Shota Imanaga reflects on first loss after disastrous start against Brewers "I want to apologize to Counsell for not having it " - Cubs ace Shota Imanaga reflects on first loss after disastrous start against Brewers
"I want to apologize to Counsell for not having it " - Cubs ace Shota Imanaga reflects on first loss after disastrous start against Brewers
"He has saved the Cubs": MLB analyst lauds Shota Imanaga, pegs Japanese star for Cy Young award amidst hot start "He has saved the Cubs": MLB analyst lauds Shota Imanaga, pegs Japanese star for Cy Young award amidst hot start
"He has saved the Cubs": MLB analyst lauds Shota Imanaga, pegs Japanese star for Cy Young award amidst hot start
"He's not losing out physically" - Shota Imanaga is all praises for countryman Yu Darvish after Padres pitcher's 200th win "He's not losing out physically" - Shota Imanaga is all praises for countryman Yu Darvish after Padres pitcher's 200th win
"He's not losing out physically" - Shota Imanaga is all praises for countryman Yu Darvish after Padres pitcher's 200th win

Shōta Imanaga: A Brief Biography

Shōta Imanaga
Shōta Imanaga. (Image Source: Instagram @Shotaimanaga)


Born on September 1, 1993. Shōta Imanaga, who is also known as "The Throwing Philosopher", Imanaga is a skilled baseball pitcher from Japan and currently plays for the Chicago Cubs in Major League Baseball (MLB). Before joining the Cubs, Imanaga played for the Yokohama DeNA BayStars in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB).

While in Japan with the BayStars, Imanaga gained notable attention for his pitching skills. Throughout his eight season stay in the NPB, he had 1,021 strikeouts while having a win-loss record of 64-50. His Major League debut occurred on April 1, 2024, after signing a four-year, $53 million contract with the Cubs. In his first game on the mound, he pitched six shutout innings allowing just two hits with nine strikeouts.

Notably, Imanaga stands at 5ft 10 in ( 178 cm) and is a left-handed pitcher who throws his fastball at around 92 mph, with a high speed of 96 mph. Other notable pitches in his arsenal are a changeup, curveball and a slider.


Shōta Imanaga’s Personal Information

NameShōta Imanaga
Age30 years old ( as of April 2024)
DOBSeptember 1, 1993
NationalityJapanese
Nickname The Throwing Philosopher
ProfessionBaseball Player
Height5ft 10 in ( 178 cm)
Weight175 lb (79 kg)
Education Komazawa University
Relationship StatusSingle


Shōta Imanaga’s Early Career

While growing up Shōta Imanaga attended Komazawa University. He soon began his career with the Yokohama DeNA BayStars after getting selected in the first round of the 2015 NPB draft. He made his debut the following season, going 8-9 with an ERA of 2.93 in 22 starts. Notably, he had the second-lowest average among NPB pitchers with at least 100.0 innings of work. In his second season in 2017, he went 11-7 with an ERA of 2.98 in 24 starts and was one of three pitchers to complete three games and two shutouts.


Moving forward, he had a stint with the Canberra Cavalry of the Australian Baseball League to play 5 weeks of the 2018-19 Australian Baseball League season. Following his stint in Australia, he returned back to the Nippon Professional Baseball Season and stood second in wins and strikeouts. Notably, he was named an NPB All-Star for the first time in his life.


The following seasons were marked by individual brilliance before a breakout season occurred in 2023 where he smashed many records. He earned his second All-Star nomination and led the league with 174 strikeouts. Aside from his accomplishments in the NPB, he also took the field with Japan at the World Baseball Classic where he gained worldwide attention, leading to a contract with the Chicago Cubs in 2024.


Shōta Imanaga’s Family Background

Shōta Imanaga has not disclosed any information about his family in any public domain as of April 2024.


Shōta Imanaga’s Social Media

Shōta Imanaga is quite active on social media. He is available on Instagram as @Shotaimanaga and has 19 posts with 75.6K followers on his account.

Shōta Imanaga’s Career Stats

Shōta Imanaga’s MLB stats are presented below in a table format:


Career Regular Season Stats
Wins2
Loses0
Games Started3
Games Completed 3
WHIP0.72
IP15.1
NP225
Strikeouts 16
Batting Average .158


Shōta Imanaga’s Achievements

Before moving to Major League Baseball, Shōta Imanaga enjoyed fame with the Yokohama DeNA BayStars in the Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB). His notable career highlights with the team includes two NPB All-Star appearances ( in 2019 and 2023) and Central League strikeout champion honors ( in 2023). Moreover, he pitched a no-hitter on June 7, 2022, against the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters.


Internationally, while representing Japan, Imanaga has won gold medals at the World Baseball Classic (2023 edition) and at the WBSC Premier12 tournament ( 2019 Tokyo edition).


Shōta Imanaga’s Contracts

Shōta Imanaga and the Chicago Cubs finalized a four-year, $53 million contract on January 11, 2024. The contract also includes a signing bonus of $1,000,000 and $53 million guaranteed with an annual average salary of $13.5 million. Moreover,for the 2024 season, Imanaga will earn a base salary of $9 million in addition to a signing bonus of $250,000 for a total salary of $9.25 million. Several notable clauses in his contract include:

  • Posting Fee to Yokohama DeNA BayStars: $9.825M

  • Initial guarantee consists of $1M signing bonus, $9M 2024 salary, $13M 2025 salary, $15M 2026 player option, $15M 2027 player option

  • Team can unlock a $57M club option after 2025 ($20M in 2026, $20M in 2027, $17M in 2028). If declined, the player can exercise a $15M player option for 2026.

  • If 2026 is team declined but player exercised, team can then unlock a $42M club option ($24M in 2027, $18M in 2028). If declined, the player can exercise a $15M player option for 2027.

  • Annual Cy Young Escalator:1st: $1M, 2nd/3rd: $500,000, 4th-10th: $250,000

  • 2025 Rookie of the Year Escalator: $250,000

  • If either of the club options are exercised, player gains a full no trade clause

  • Player is eligible for XX(B) free agency at the contract's expiration

Source: spotrac.com


Chicago can exercise a 2028 option after 2025 or 2026. If the team declines the option in either instance, Imanaga would have the right to opt out of the remainder of the contract to become a free agent. Chicago must also pay a posting fee of $9,825,000 to the Yokohama BayStars. The amount of the fee would increase if the option is exercised.


Shōta Imanaga’s House

There is no information available in any public domain regarding Shōta Imanaga’s current place of residence. However, he hails from Kitakyushu, Fukuoka, Japan.

FAQ's On Shōta Imanaga

A. The Chicago Cubs finalized a  four-year deal with Japanese pitcher Shōta Imanaga and made his debut in April 2024.

A. Shōta Imanaga has six pitches in his arsenal: three that he leans on (a four-seam fastball, slider, and splitter) and three that he largely uses to play off that trio (a sinker, cutter, and curveball).

A. Shōta Imanaga played for the Yokohama DeNA BayStars prior to joining Major League Baseball.

A. Shōta Imanaga wear jersey #18 with the Chicago Cubs.

A. Shōta Imanaga is from Kitakyushu, Fukuoka, Japan.

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