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Top 10 MLB Best Asian Baseball Players 2024 Rankings

Ranking the best MLB Asian baseball players of 2024 in honor of AAPI Heritage Month as Shohei Ohtani leads the way

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By admin | May 7, 2024

AAPI Heritage Month

The game of baseball is one of the most popular sports in the United States while also being played around the world. This includes a wide range of Asian Countries including China, Japan and Korea who all have produced some talented Major League Baseball players over the years as well as some in the game today. As you start to look at the best Asian Baseball in Major League Baseball today, the one name that stands out is Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Dodgers. As Ohtani begins a fresh start with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the former MLB MVP lands atop the Top 10 MLB Asian Baseball Players 2024 Rankings list.

After spending his first six seasons in Major League Baseball with the Los Angeles Angels, Ohtani signed the largest contract in MLB history to remain in Los Angeles, California but to transition from the American League to the National League with the Dodgers.

Since arriving back during the 2018 MLB season Ohtani has hit 178 career home runs including seven through his first 32 games of this season. In addition, Ohtani has been as dominant on the mound making him the first player since Babe Ruth to produce both as a pitcher as well as a hitter.

Joining Ohtani among the best Asian baseball players in the MLB include Shota Imanaga of the Chicago Cubs, Steven Kwan of the Cleveland Guardians, Kodai Senga of the New York Mets, and Ohtani’s Dodger teammate Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

Here is a look at the Top 10 MLB Asian Baseball Players 2024 Rankings:

Honorable Mention

Yuki Matsui

Team: San Diego Padres

Position: Relief Pitcher

Just missing the Top 10 MLB Asian Baseball Players 2024 Rankings list is a third San Diego Padres player, Yuki Matsui. Matsui, who is in his first MLB season after signing a five-year deal worth $28 million dollars with the Padres during the off-season, has been strong for the Padres coming out of the bullpen.

Over 16 games pitched to start his MLB career, Matsui has posted a 2.35 earned run average to go along with 11 strikeouts and a 2-0 record over 15.1 innings of work this season.

The former five-time Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) organization all-star his ability to be a dominant relief pitcher after leading the Pacific League three times before making the jump to the MLB.

Jung Hoo Lee

Team: San Francisco Giants

Position: Center Fielder

Entering the 2024 MLB season Jung Hoo Lee of the San Francisco Giants was one of the hottest off-season signings after landing a six-year $113 million dollar deal to leave the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO).

After a strong career in the KBO that included a career .340 batting average, a KBO Rookie of the Year Award, and a KBO MVP award, the expectations are high for the 25-year-old outfielder as he begins his MLB career.

Despite a slow start, Hoo Lee has shown some flashes this season while batting .250 over his first 30 games while picking up three doubles and two home runs while scoring 13 runs.

Top 10 Asian MLB Players

10. Ha-Seong Kim

Team: San Diego Padres

Position: Second Baseman

Sliding in at number 10 on the Top 10 MLB Asian Baseball Players 2024 Rankings list is the San Diego Padres 28-year-old catcher Ha-Seong Kim.

Kim, who is from South Korea, is in year four with the Padres after signing a four-year deal worth $28 million dollars in December of 2021. He continues to develop his all-around game each season while improving his numbers at the plate while playing strong defense at shortstop.

After hitting eight home runs driving 34 runs in a rookie, those numbers improved to 11 home runs and 59 runs batted in during 2022 before seeing them grow to 17 home runs and 60 runs batted in last season.

The production has continued through his first 34 games of the 2024 MLB season including picking up four doubles, two triples, four home runs while driving in 17 runs.

9. Yu Darvish

Team: San Diego Padres

Position: Starting Pitcher

At 37 years old the longtime MLB starter continues to be a strong option for the San Diego Padres since joining the club in 2021.

Yu Darvish who was posted during the winter of 2011 and prior to the start of the 2012 MLB season, was one of the hottest free agents of that off-season landing a $60 million-dollar six-year deal from the Texas Rangers.

Since then Darvish has put together a career record of 104-86 including a 1-1 record over his first six starts of the 2024 MLB season. Despite being one of the older starters in baseball, Darvish continues to be dependable for the Padres striking out 25 batters over 28.2 innings of work.

8. Yusei Kikuchi

Team: Toronto Blue Jays

Position: Starting Pitcher 

The six-year MLB veteran has put together a solid MLB career while splitting time between the Seattle Mariners and the Toronto Blue Jays.

Over his first five full seasons including a shortened 2020 season, and through six starts during the 2024 MLB season, Yusei Kikuchi has pitched to a 34-39 career record to go along with a 4.62 career earned run average.

However, the Blue Jays starter has been strong in 2024 over his first six starts pitching to a 2.94 earned run average over his first 33.2 innings of work while posting a 2-2 record. Kikuchi entered the current season coming off a strong 2023 season after going 11-6 on the season with a 3.86 earned run average.

7. Seiya Suzuki

Team: Chicago Cubs

Position: Right Fielder

Since signing a five-year deal worth $85 million dollars with the Chicago Cubs prior to the start of the 2022 MLB season, Seiya Suzuki continues to improve his all-around game and his overall statistics.

After batting .262 with 14 home runs and 46 runs batted in as a rookie, the Cubs outfielder increased nearly every offensive statistic during season two including posting a .285 batting average with 20 home runs and 74 runs batted in.

Suzuki got off to a hot start to the 2024 MLB season picking up 18 hits over his first 59 at bats including four doubles and three home runs before landing on the Injured List (IL) with an oblique injury in mid-April.

6. Masataka Yoshida

Team: Boston Red Sox

Position: Outfielder

Entering his second season with the Boston Red Sox, Masataka Yoshida is looking to build on a strong rookie season in the MLB. As a rookie last season Yoshida batted .289 over 140 games played while adding 33 doubles, 15 home runs to go along with 72 runs batted in.

While the start of the 2024 season has been slower Yoshida had picked up 22 hits over his first 80 at bats of the season including three doubles and home runs.

Currently the Red Sox designated hitter is on the 10-day IL with a thumb injury which may require surgery. Prior to arriving with the Red Sox, Yoshida was a former four-time NPB All-Star and two-time Pacific League Batting Champion of the NPB.

5. Kodai Senga

Team: New York Mets

Position: Starting Pitcher

Rounding out the Top 5 on the Top 10 MLB Asian Baseball Players 2024 Rankings list is the New York Mets Kodai Senga.

Senga, who has yet to pitch during the 2024 MLB season due to posterior capsule strain that landed him on the 60-day IL, has started throwing with the hopes of rejoining the Mets early during the current MLB season.

Senga, who signed a five-year $75 million dollar deal before the 2023 MLB season, was brilliant as a rookie while competing for the NL Rookie of the Year Award.

Over 29 starts last season, Senga pitched to a 2.98 earned run average to go along with 202 strikeouts over just 166.1 innings of work while composing a 12-7 overall record. Expectations are high for Senga when he makes his much-anticipated return to the field during the 2024 MLB season.

4. Yoshinobu Yamamoto

Team: Los Angeles Dodgers

Position: Starting Pitcher

The Los Angeles Dodgers are not strangers to spending money each season while landing the top free agents around the game of baseball.

That was the case during the 2024 MLB off-season as the Dodgers landed two talented Japanese baseball players to build their roster around the likes of Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Shohei Ohtani.

Yamamoto who was one of the prized international free agents after compiling a 70-29 career record within the NPB, signed with the Dodgers on a 12-year $325 million dollar deal.

The 25-year-old starter is off to a fast start posting a 3-1 record over his first seven MLB starts to go along with a 2.91 earned run average and 42 strikeouts over 34 wins of work.

3. Steven Kwan

Team: Cleveland Guardians

Position: Left Fielder 

Another talented Asian baseball player putting together a strong 2024 MLB season is the Cleveland Guardians outfielder Steven Kwan. Kwan, who is an Asian American, was born in California and is of both Chinese and Japanese descent.

Since making his Major League debut to start the 2022 MLB season, the 26-year-old outfielder of the Guardians has been a staple in the lineup while producing solid numbers at the plate.

Over 335 career games to date, Kwan has posted a career .289 batting average mark to go along with 384 hits including 67 doubles with 117 runs batted in.

Through his first 30 games of the 2024 MLB schedule, Kwan currently ranks third in the American League with a .349 batting average and tied for the American league lead with 45 hits.

2. Shota Imanaga

Team: Chicago Cubs

Position: Starting Pitcher 

It is hard to look around Major League Baseball at the best Asian baseball players and not slot Shota Imanaga of the Chicago Cubs on that list.

Imanaga, who is in his first season with the Chicago Cubs after signing a lucrative four-year $53 million dollar deal has been brilliant for the Cubs in each of his first six starts of the season.

Over those six starts, the Cubs have posted a 6-0 record while Imanaga has pitched to an impressive 5-0 record to go along with an MLB leading 0.78 earned run average mark. Prior to arriving in the United States, Imanaga posted a 64-50 career record with the Yokohama DeNA BayStars of the NPB organization.

1. Shohei Ohtani

Team: Los Angeles Angels

Position: Starting Pitcher/Designated Hitter

In at number one on the Top 10 MLB Asian Baseball Players 2024 Rankings list is the Los Angeles Dodgers prized free agent and former AL MVP Shohei Ohtani.

Ohtani who is in his first season with the Dodgers after signing a massive ten-year $700 million dollar contract is off to a strong start with his new club picking up seven home runs while driving in 19 runs over his first 32 games of the season.

However, the Dodgers fans will have to wait an entire season for Ohtani to shine on the mound after undergoing elbow surgery during the off-season.

Nonetheless Ohtani who currently owns the hardest hit ball of the season at 119.2 Miles Per Hour (MPH), continues to deliver at the plate night in and night out.

One of the most notable Asian players to play the game, Ohtani has delivered since arriving from Japan including posting 38 wins, picking up 178 home runs while winning two AL MVP Awards.

How would rank these Asian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander players of today? Rank below to be added in the Power Rankings

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