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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) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: kodai senga, masataka yoshida

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