One of Japan’s best pitchers will reportedly be on the market for MLB teams when the 2022 regular season begins and the hot stove season gets going.
Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported that Kodai Senga, a right-handed pitcher of the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of Nippon Professional Baseball, “is expected to consider MLB contract offers this winter.”
Sources: RHP Kodai Senga of the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks is expected to consider @MLB contract offers this winter. Senga, 29, starred at the ’17 @WBCBaseball and is 8-4 with a 2.05 ERA this year. He is eligible for international free agency and won’t need to be posted. @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) August 5, 2022
Senga has been a top-tier pitcher in Japan for his entire career. In his NPB career, he has a 2.62 ERA, 1.113 WHIP and 1,211 strikeouts in 1050.1 innings pitched, for a rate of better than 10 strikeouts per nine innings. As Senga has approached 30, he’s shown no real signs of slowing down.
Since 2018, he has a 55-30 record with a 2.69 ERA, 1.138 WHIP and 780 strikeouts in 669 innings, a K/9 rate of 10.5.
Beyond his talent, the appeal of Senga for MLB teams is that there is no qualifying offer and, since he’s a free agent, there will be no posting fee.
It’s always somewhat challenging to figure out how well pitchers from Japan will adjust to Major League Baseball. There are plenty of stories of both success and failure. But Senga throws roughly 100 miles per hour and has a hard sinking forkball.
That kind of stuff tends to play well regardless of what league a pitcher is working in.