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Kodai Senga Newsbeat

Monday, January 16, 2023

With This Japanese Ace, the Ghost Stories Are True

“When pitchers and catchers report next month, the Mets will get a look at Kodai Senga’s signature pitch: the ghost fork. Those who have seen it say it delivers on the hype.”

It’s at LEAST as good as the gyroball.

gehrig97 Posted: January 16, 2023 at 08:03 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: kodai senga, mets

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Kodai Senga, Mets agree on 5-year, $75 million contract, sources say

Right-hander Kodai Senga and the New York Mets agreed on a five-year, $75 million contract Saturday night, sources familiar with the deal told ESPN, confirming reports, adding the prized pitcher from Japan as part of a free agent spending frenzy that has rocketed the Mets’ payroll past previous records.

Senga, 29, starred over 11 seasons with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of Nippon Professional Baseball, going 104-51 with a 2.42 ERA in 1,340⅔ innings over 275 starts. He is armed with a fastball that has reached triple digits and a split-fingered fastball nicknamed “the Ghost Fork” for how it disappears before reaching the plate.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 11, 2022 at 07:44 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: japanese free agents, kodai senga, mets

Monday, November 28, 2022

Kodai Senga is unlike any other MLB free-agent pitcher

Not every player who comes over from Japan’s NPB arrives with a parade of hype. Senga isn’t a once-in-a-lifetime Shohei Ohtani-type talent or even on the level of Yu Darvish when he arrived a decade ago, but there’s still a ton of reason to be excited. He’s coming off another excellent season — posting a 1.94 ERA with 156 strikeouts across 144 innings for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks in NPB, the top league in Japan. Turning 30 in January, Senga is younger than every other starting pitcher available besides Zach Eflin, adding to his appeal for teams reluctant to commit big dollars to pitchers already nearing their mid-30’s. Though NPB is not MLB, his decade-long track record of excellence in what is widely considered the world’s second-best league has a huge group of teams targeting him as one of the most appealing players on the entire free agent market.

It’s easy to look at the tremendous statistics and dream big about Senga’s potential atop an MLB rotation, but there are many ways a pitcher can compile a sub-2 ERA. So how does he do it? What kind of pitcher is Senga?

The first thing to know is that, like many Japanese aces before him, Senga relies heavily on an incredible splitter to induce both whiffs and weak contact. Senga’s splitter in particular — which he threw about 20% of the time at an average of 85 MPH — is of the forkball variety and has been dubbed by the likes of Pitching Ninja as the “ghost fork.”


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 28, 2022 at 04:35 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: japanese free agents, kodai senga

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Kodai Senga, Masataka Yoshida will draw plenty of MLB interest

He will turn 30 in January, is a three-time All-Star and went 11-6 with a 1.94 ERA this year with 156 strikeouts in 144 innings. He is a Yu Darvish disciple, often training with him in the offseason in the U.S. To better prep for MLB, Senga began working with a Driveline Baseball (think pitch maximization and design) representative in Japan.

Multiple MLB officials painted the upside of a high-octane fastball that can reach triple digits and which Senga can maintain efficiently in the mid-90s for an entire start with one of the world’s best forkball/splits.

On the downside, Senga will have to improve his breaking ball in MLB, which has become slider crazy. There is worry about a few nagging elbow injuries. And there are enough fastball command issues that some MLB execs wondered if he will become a closer. Beyond that, there are concerns about the transition from pitching every sixth day to every fifth day, leaving behind the tacky Japanese baseball (though MLB is experimenting with a tacky ball) and facing more stacked and powerful lineups. The excitement around Senga is not the same as for, say, Darvish or Irabu or Masahiro Tanaka.
The Yankees, among others, are looking for lefty hitters with strong bat-to-ball skills and Rea was so enthusiastic about Yoshida that he actually texted a series of clips of Yoshida hitting, including a homer off Rea.

“He’s an incredible hitter,” Rea said. “Yoshida impresses every game, every at-bat. He’s unique. He has great awareness of the strike zone. He always has good at-bats. He can hit for power and average. He’s a much better hitter than [Seiya] Suzuki [who had a .770 OPS and 14 homers in 446 plate appearances as a 2002 rookie with the Cubs]. … There’s no reason he couldn’t be one of the best hitters in [MLB].”

jimfurtado Posted: November 10, 2022 at 06:16 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: kodai senga, masataka yoshida



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