165.1km/h Fujinami overtakes ‘rival’ Ohtani… threw the fastest ball among Japanese pitchers

Shintaro Fujinami (Baltimore Orioles) threw a fast ball at 165.1 km/h. It is the fastest fastball among all Japanese pitchers. 

On the 7th (Korean time), in the 2023 US Major League (MLB) Interleague home game against the New York Mets held at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, Fujinami took the mound in the 8th inning with a 2-0 lead and took the opponent 3-5 times. Against the center hitter, he committed a three-way offense in one inning. Fujinami posted his first hold in eight games since moving to Baltimore. 

In particular, on this day, he threw a total of 9 balls, all of which were strikes. He had six four-seam fastballs, two cut fastballs, and one splitter. 

Even more surprising is the restraint. On this day, Fujinami recorded 102.6 miles (165.1 km) per hour of her four-seam fastball thrown at DJ Stewart in a situation where there was no runner in the first four. It broke her previous fastball speed of 164.3 km/h. 

It was the fastest ball thrown by a Japanese major leaguer on the American stage since MLB introduced Statcast in 2015. The previous record was 163.2 km (101.4 miles) set by Shohei Ohtani (LA Angels) against the Houston Astros on September 19, 2022. Fujinami beat Ohtani’s top league speed by 1.9 km.  Fujinami developed a rivalry with Ohtani during high school. While Ohtani grew into one of the best players representing Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB), Fujinami faltered. Ohtani moves to the United States under a huge spotlight, and after this season, it is considered an established fact that his ransom value will exceed 500 million dollars for the first time in history.스포츠토토

On the other hand, Fujinami signed with Auckland last winter on a short-term contract worth 3 million dollars (3.9 billion won) for one year. Even after he was pushed out of the starting rotation and moved to the bullpen, he often dropped his head due to his inability to pitch. However, after June, he gradually regained stability and showed off his power, and was traded to Baltimore, the leader of the Eastern District, last month. 

Fujinami is now able to proudly hold out his business card to Ohtani, at least for restraint.

His highest velocity ever recorded in Japanese professional baseball was 165 km/h. Ohtani recorded it once in the Climax Series during his time with the Nippon Ham Fighters, and ‘Perfect Pitcher’ Sasaki Loki (Chiba Lotte Marines) also posted a maximum speed of 165 km/h in April this

Fujinami set a new speed record (165.1 km/h) for a Japanese pitcher on the big league stage. In his first season in the big leagues, he threw the ball over 100 miles (160.9 km) 92 times. 

After moving to Baltimore, Fujinami made eight appearances and recorded a total ERA of 3.12 (three runs in 8 2/3 innings). He has a low batting average of 0.133 and a low on-base percentage (WHIP) of 1.04 per inning. He went 5-8 with an ERA of 8.57 (0.269 batting average, 1.66 WHIP) in Oakland. 

Baltimore won 2-0 on the day and maintained its lead in the district (70-42). Baltimore coach Brandon Hyde praised him after the game, saying, “I’m proud of Fujinami. He showed what kind of pitcher he is.” 

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