Cubs’ Shota Imanaga accomplishes a feat not seen since Fernando Valenzuela’s iconic rookie season

Dduring the low season, Yoshinobu Yamamoto’s signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers was one of the most high-profile moves in the MLBnext Shohei Ohtani’s stunning signing with the team; As Japanese Golf Comes to the Majors, Shota Imanaga signs with the Chicago Cubs stayed a bit under the radar.

However, for those who have followed his career, this move was not surprising. Imanaga, a standout player in the Nippon Professional Baseball leaguehas made waves with his exceptional pitching skills, and his signing with the Cubs was a testament to his talent and potential.

A performance we haven’t seen since Fernando Valenzuela

One month into the regular season, however, Imanaga may be the league’s best pitcher yet: He leads MLB in ERA (0.78), wins (5), ERA+ (547) and FIP (2.21) and reaches thus a level not seen in a rookie pitcher since Fernando Valenzuela.

Imanaga’s 0.78 ERA isn’t just impressive; it’s a record breaker. It is the lowest in a pitcher’s first six career starts in the Major Leagues since Fernando Valenzuela’s iconic rookie season in 1981, as he had an ERA of 0.33, the lowest since Integration.

Shota Imanaga signed a two-year contract worth $22.5 million, with a team option for three more years with the Chicago Cubs.