Chicago Cubs Ace Has High Praise for City of Chicago

The Chicago Cubs ace has loved his time in the city of Chicago after moving from Japan.
May 18, 2024; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Cubs pitcher Shota Imanaga (18)
May 18, 2024; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Cubs pitcher Shota Imanaga (18) / Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
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When the Chicago Cubs signed Shota Imanaga this past offseason, the hope was for him to be an above-average starter. There was certainly hype around the left-hander, but he wasn't as highly touted as Yoshinobu Yamamoto and other international prospects.

Still, signing him was a great step in the right direction for the Cubs, a move that showed their fans and other teams in baseball that they're taking their international scouting as seriously as ever.

It's safe to say that Imanaga has been one of, if not, the best signing of the offseason so far. The Japan native has been unhittable, putting up historic numbers in his first nine starts.

In 53 2/3 innings pitched, Chicago's ace has allowed just nine earned runs, good for an ERA of 0.84. He's also struck out 58 and has walked just nine, owning a WHIP of 0.91.

It's tough to imagine a scenario where he keeps this up, but if he does, he'll go down as the best pitcher in baseball history. However, if Imanaga can do just half of what he's done to date, the Cubs have to like their chances in any game he takes the bump.

Coming from Japan to the United States brings multiple challenges. From a baseball perspective and being a human being first and foremost, it's a learning curve for anyone.

According to Steve Greenberg of The Chicago Sun-Times, the 30-year-old has had nothing but a great time in his new home.

"Chicago's such a great city, there's no way I can get homesick," he said via interpreter Edwin Stanberry.

It's refreshing to see Imanaga be embraced by a fan base that loves their Cubs. He signed a four-year deal in the offseason, so he'll be able to continue enjoying his time in the city and with the fans, if everything goes as planned.

Imanaga and Chicago will look to continue impressing as they're in a great position to win the NL Central nearly 50 games into the season.

Jon Conahan