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Yusei Kikuchi - P Japan

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The next big Japanese import.  More than likely will be posted next offseason.  

 

Left handed pitcher that throws 97 MPH and has a devastating slider.  

 

Likely will cost a team $100M. 

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https://www.fanragsports.com/mlb/heyman-will-kikuchi-be-next-great-japanese-import/

 

Via Jon Heyman: 

 

Quote
  • Yusei Kikuchi looks like he could be the next big thing to come to the MLB from Japan.

  • Kikuchi (62-44 lifetime with a 2.74 ERA while playing in mostly Japan, but also a short stint in Australia) isn’t the sensation that the Ruthian Shohei Ohtani is (who is!?), but he is one of the better pitchers in Japan.

  • Kikuchi, who features a 95-mph fastball and four-pitch repertoire, is thought to be leaning toward a move to MLB.

    “He’s coming,” one person familiar with his situation insists, though nothing is set in stone.

    If he does come, he won’t be the bargain Ohtani is, as he wouldn’t be subject to the international bonus rules that limited Ohtani. He would be posted by Seibu, which doesn’t draw well and is expected to be interested in the posting fee.

    The 26-year-old, who is listed by Baseball-Reference at 6-foot and 194 lbs., has been with Seibu since 2011 following a short stay in Australia. Last season, he started 26 games and went 16-6 with a 2.35 ERA and WHIP under 1.000. He struck out 10.4 batters per nine innings while walking only 2.3. In 2018, he’s made two starts so far, winning both while allowing just three earned runs in 15 innings (1.80 ERA). He’s struck out 14 and walked just three.

    Unfortunately, he’s not quite at Ohtani’s level with the bat; he has just three hits in 17 career plate appearances with a double serving as the only extra-base hit of his career.

 

Recent video of Kikuchi: 

 

 

 

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2018 not quite as good as 2017, and part of that is apparently due to a shoulder issue.  People seem to be happy about his limited innings compared to other Japanese pitchers.  If he posts, what can we expect from him?

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There has been relatively little recent buzz on Yusei Kikuchi, the latest Japanese import and arguably the top free agent starter left on the market.

 

The 27-year-old lefty has mostly been connected to west coast teams but I haven't seen much lately, and the deadline to sign him is January 2.

 

Here's a scouting report, courtesy SI.com:

 

Quote

Scouting Report: Kikuchi is projected as a mid-rotation pitcher with the potential to be a No. 2 starter. He is not quite on the level of pitchers like Yu Darvish and Masahiro Tanaka, who came over from NPB this decade. Still, teams are always looking for left-handed starters, and Kikuchi's body of work (2.81 career ERA) and arsenal of pitches are solid. From Dennis Lin of the Athletic: "The makings of a quality major-league starter are there. Kikuchi’s fastball is consistently in the mid-90s. His curveball, slider and splitter all rate as average or slightly better. 'He is a good one,' one scout wrote in a text. 'Has not been real durable, but stuff is solid.'” A three-time All-Star in Japan, Kikuchi's best season was in 2017, when he posted a 1.97 ERA and 217 strikeouts in 187.2 innings. He doesn't have one outstanding pitch, but does possess several good ones.

 

Kikuchi sounds like a potential solid fantasy starter in the mold of guys like Maeda, Ryu and Iwakuma at their stateside best. Ending up a pitcher friendly west coast park like SD, SF, LA or SEA would only help. He's been connected to a few of those teams.

Edited by rdf8585
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I wonder if Ohtani's success might cause him to see a big jump in ADP, or if he'll be another under the radar overseas target like Mikolas, Maeda, etc.

 

He's definitely someone I'm planning to target. 

Edited by tonycpsu
Removed passive-aggressive complaint about site policy.
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Posted (edited)

Apparently has an agreement with SEA.

 

Predictable lol 

Edited by apap414

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With Kikuchi in Seattle, any thoughts as to how that might delay Justus Sheffield's presence in the rotation?

 

Prior to Kikuchi, MLB.com had this depth chart for Seattle's rotation:

 

ROTATION

1. M. Gonzales

2. M. Leake

3. F. Hernandez

4. W. LeBlanc

5. R. Elias

6. J. Sheffield

7. E. Swanson

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2 hours ago, rdf8585 said:

With Kikuchi in Seattle, any thoughts as to how that might delay Justus Sheffield's presence in the rotation?

 

Prior to Kikuchi, MLB.com had this depth chart for Seattle's rotation:

 

ROTATION

1. M. Gonzales

2. M. Leake

3. F. Hernandez

4. W. LeBlanc

5. R. Elias

6. J. Sheffield

7. E. Swanson

 

All those guys kinda suck besides gonzalez who isn't great either. I know leake is getting paid but I think he's close to ending his deal and if he sucks he'll be replaced. LeBlanc and Elias don't seem like rotation pieces for a full season. I'm assuming they might hold Sheffield down for control if it makes sense, kiluchi doesn't effect him too much. 

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Word is that the Mariners will limit his innings this season.  At least he is in a relatively good division and ballpark.

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They will.  In Japan they pitch every 6 or 7 days, so moving to 5 puts extra strain on the arm.  Plan is to possibly use him as an opener some days instead of him getting a full start.

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On 1/1/2019 at 11:52 AM, rdf8585 said:

With Kikuchi in Seattle, any thoughts as to how that might delay Justus Sheffield's presence in the rotation?

 

Prior to Kikuchi, MLB.com had this depth chart for Seattle's rotation:

 

ROTATION

1. M. Gonzales

2. M. Leake

3. F. Hernandez

4. W. LeBlanc

5. R. Elias

6. J. Sheffield

7. E. Swanson

 

Elias probably shifts to pen. LeBlanc slated as 5th starter and when Sheffield is past service time concerns they'll boot someone or someone will be injured. Neither Kikuchi or Sheffield have anything to worry about in regards to having a spot in the rotation.

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Decided to post here to give this a bit of a bump. He's definitely a guy to watch in Spring. Not getting much respect at all in the pre-rankings. These pitchers from Japan seem to always outperform their expectations, though. He basically had a strikeout per inning his last 3 years, and typically starters get more strikeouts in the MLB than in Japan. Could definitely envision him having a solid year and delivering strong strikeout numbers, which for his current price is easy profit.

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8 hours ago, Sidearmer said:

 

Elias probably shifts to pen. LeBlanc slated as 5th starter and when Sheffield is past service time concerns they'll boot someone or someone will be injured. Neither Kikuchi or Sheffield have anything to worry about in regards to having a spot in the rotation.

Don't forget about the other rookie Erik Swanson Seattle got.  He ended the year doing pretty well in AAA.  

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Solid debut for Kikuchi, 2 IP 1 K 1 H 1 BB 0 ER. Completely embarassed Joey Votto with his curveball.

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who was the last jap. sp that (already had experience/success in japan) that didn't have a good rookie season? no names are coming to mind. ohtani, yu, tanaka, maeda, iwakuma, even kuroda was decent at age 33.

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1 hour ago, colepenhagen said:

who was the last jap. sp that (already had experience/success in japan) that didn't have a good rookie season? no names are coming to mind. ohtani, yu, tanaka, maeda, iwakuma, even kuroda was decent at age 33.

The one that comes to mind is Hideki Irabu.

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Ya it's crazy, even Tsuyoshi Wada had a mid 3 era coming from Japan at 33 after TJ in the states under his original deal lol.

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6 hours ago, colepenhagen said:

who was the last jap. sp that (already had experience/success in japan) that didn't have a good rookie season? no names are coming to mind. ohtani, yu, tanaka, maeda, iwakuma, even kuroda was decent at age 33.

Kei Igawa

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I read this today, reaffirming what was talked about earlier:

(11 hrs ago) Kikuchi will be limited to one inning every few starts in the coming season in order to preserve his arm during his first major-league campaign, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports. "The whole key with Yusei is to get him through the entire season healthy," manager Scott Servais said. "I can't tell you if it'll be the fourth start or fifth start or sixth start or seventh start. I don't know when exactly, but it's definitely something we want to stay on."

Not only is my league a QS league, but more importantly, we have a start cap (8 per week). When you only have 8 starts to work with, burning one on a guy who lasts just one inning could be pretty costly.

Am I nuts to think his usage this season could be a major hassle in that kind of format?

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3 hours ago, rdf8585 said:

Am I nuts to think his usage this season could be a major hassle in that kind of format?


Of course not - he's undraftable in that type of format unless it's a dynasty.

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