Right-hander Jordan Yamamoto took to Twitter today to announce his retirement. “I have decided to walk away from the game I love,” his post reads. “It’s definitely bittersweet. As I sit on my flight back home, there are so many emotions I’m feeling but none is regret. This has been an amazing journey and nothing short of unbelievable. A little kid from Hawaii with a dream. A dream to play in the MLB. If you would have told me at 10 years old that I would go on to be a big league pitcher and hold a franchise record, I would have never believed you. It is crazy and only right that I end my career the same way it started. On a back field game in Arizona. It’s poetry if you ask me.” He then goes on to thank all of the many people who have been a part of his journey, including his family, agents, teammates, coaches, staff members and fans.
Yamamoto, who turns 27 in May, was a 12th round draft pick of the Brewers in 2014. Despite that modest draft stock, he impressed in his first professional seasons, including a 2017 season where he posted a 2.51 ERA in 111 innings at Class-A Advanced. That performance was strong enough to get the attention of the Marlins, as Yamamoto was one of four players they acquired in the trade that sent Christian Yelich to Milwaukee.
Things continued to go well for Yamamoto in 2018, despite a few trips to the injured list. He made 13 starts with a 1.83 ERA at three different levels, finishing the year in Double-A. He then made another six starts in the Arizona Fall League with a 2.08 ERA in that time. The Marlins added him to their 40-man roster in November to protect him from being selected in the Rule 5 draft and Baseball America ranked him as the club’s #18 prospect going into 2019.
He was able to make his major league debut in 2019, making 15 starts with a 4.46 ERA, as well as 12 more Double-A starts with a 3.58 ERA. He seemed to be part of a wave of young rotation talent in Miami, alongside guys like Sandy Alcantara, Pablo López and others. Unfortunately, things wouldn’t continue on that trajectory in the seasons to come, largely due to injury. Yamamoto landed on the injured list late in 2019 and had diminished velocity in 2020, getting tattooed for an ERA of 18.26 in 11 1/3 innings that year.
Prior to the 2021 campaign, the Marlins designated him for assignment and then flipped him to the Mets. That would go on to be another frustrating season for Yamamoto, as he spent the beginning of the year being shuttled between Triple-A and the majors before a shoulder injury sent him to the IL from May until September. He was designated for assignment in April of 2022 and cleared waivers, sticking with the Mets but without a roster spot. He made 24 appearances in the minors last year with an ERA of 6.00. He reached free agency at season’s end and signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers in January but was recently reassigned to minor league camp.
Yamamoto has now decided it’s time to hang up his cleats and start the next phase of his life. He appeared in 21 major league games, tossing 96 2/3 innings in that time with a 6.05 ERA. He struck out 98 batters and earned five wins. The franchise record that he referenced in his statement was that he started his career with 14 scoreless frames for the Marlins. We at MLB Trade Rumors salute Yamamoto on achieving his dream of making it to the majors and wish him the best in his post-playing endeavors.
Image courtesy of USA Today Sports.
He’s only 26 years old and already done? I’m guessing injuries never let him develop a career in baseball, well that sucks.
Wasn’t he with the Dodgers this spring? Writing must have been on wall if they couldn’t help that shoulder
Do you really retire if you only played in 21 games?
He’s retiring from baseball. Not just the majors. He’s played parts of 9 seasons.
Don’t be a dick.
He’ll be back. Probably before the end of the year.
This is a nice farewell sentiment.
What’s his franchise record? Need to know it for potential obscure Marlins trivia if I ever run into the marlins fan.
What are the chances you’ll ever run into either one of them though?
The entire “Marlins Fan Base” shows up on here every once in a while.
What are the chances you run into the Marlins fan & don’t run over the Marlins fan?
He started his MLB career with 14 shutout innings- 2 starts against the Cardinals,
I think it’s scoreless innings to start a career. Didn’t he throw like 14 consecutive scoreless against the Cards in his first two MLB starts?
Watch me win bar trivia after I retire to Naples in 2069.
I like Italy too
Future MLBTR chat host?
Thinking the same thing
Had a fair bit of promise. Have a hard time believing no team overseas wouldn’t give him a shot. Has to be injuries or the desire to spend more time with family. Either way he got to live the dream.
All of these players retiring is bittersweet. It’s just that I’ve never heard of any of them.
He was signed to a minor league deal with the Dodgers but I don’t know what his ST stats showed.
ERA of 19.29 in 2.1 innings giving up 6 Runs (5 earned) with 3 Strikeouts
I might have done better tbh
Very surprising news. Was hoping he could make it back to the bigs and pitch well in a starting role. Wish him the best in his future endeavors.
It’s official the Cardinals won the Ozuna trade.
Awe damn wrong trade
I forget who else the Marlins got but I assume they still won the Yelich trade.
Lewis Brinson, Isan Diaz and Monte Harrison.
Shirley, you can’t be serious. The 4 players the Marlins received have accounted for -6.5 career WAR.
None play in the MLB, Yamamoto retired, Brinson Japan, Harrison will be lucky to play in the minors with the team that traded him, and Diaz has a very outside shot at making the Giants as a Utility IF. Woof
Un-Diagnosed physical issue/injury??
Painful to see an actual major leaguer use “the MLB.”
I want to hire Darragh McDonald to pen my eulogy. What an eloquent, heart warming tale of a player drafted in the twelfth round, with a whopping 21 games over 5 years as a major leaguer. Question is, if we saluted every former MLB middling player, that could barely make it in the minors, would there be any room on this board for real news? The accolades he praises Yamamoto for pale in comparison to many players that quietly walk away after truly successful MLB careers. McDonald must be auditioning for a Marlins beat writer job. In any case, a very well written piece all the same.
Career had some promise. Was never the same after the injury and the Covid shutdown. In 2020, prior to the Covid shutdown, it looked like had some health back, but there was a question about conditioning with his injury return, once players returned from the shutdown.
If he wouldn’t have panned out as a starter after the injury, he certainly looked like he had the ability to become a reliever. That injury in 2019 and the shutdown in 2020 seemed to send him on a different career track that kept him from getting back to what he looked like piror.
Spend more time with the family before the kids turn 3.
I found on the internet:
As a minor league baseball player, Yamamoto took up haircutting as a hobby. He would offer teammates free haircuts to practice his skills and help them save money.
I think it was one of his first few games in the show, he pitched against the Braves. Braves lit him up and I believe it was one of the games where they scored a franchise record amount of runs (I could be totally wrong here). Regardless, that game is the day you can mark as when this kids career was never looked at the same.
I was hopeful Jordan would have found his early magic again. Short of that, I am surprised he couldn’t land a spot in Japan. Not because of his Island/oriental heritage, but because home is halfway there. There have been a good number of pitchers who have straightened out their careers over there. A little culture change, a little more programmed disciplined approach, but t’s still baseball and he’s still young.
So is he trying to become a cop in Hawaii?