Who is Koudai Senga?

With free agency set to begin soon after the World Series ends either Saturday or Sunday, we will know who is out there and see the frenzy. The big names, like Aaron Judge, Jake DeGrom, and Trea Turner we know.

But there is one name that will be out there that many won’t know, because he has played in Japan. Koudai Senga. So just a FYI.

Senga will be 30 in January. He is a RHP who has gone 104-51 with a 2.42 ERA in Japan in 11 seasons. This year he was 11-6, 1.94. Of course, how this translates to MLB who knows. We’ve seen successes (Tanaka, Nomo, Darvish) and failures (Igawa, Irabu) in Japanese pitchers coming over.

Obviously, I don’t have much of a scouting report on the guy, so I will copy some things I have read from various sources. Three All-Star nominations, five Japan Series championships, and the pitching Triple Crown are evidence of how effective he can be.

Senga should be able to slide right into a contending rotation and waste no time making his mark on the league.

Could be a quality No. 3 or 4 starter for the next half-decade.

99 MPH fastball, 84 slider. Split (seems that all Japanese pitchers throw that). Could use more work on the changeup?

Despite a thin frame, Senga’s fastball sits in the upper 90s and regularly exceeds 100 miles per hour. When paired with a sharp forkball and a sweeping slider, Senga’s mix of pitches is going to get MLB hitters out if he can control them. Senga keeps the ball in the ballpark, as he has allowed just nine home runs in the last two seasons.

DeGrom, Verlander and Rodon (my choice) are out there, but Senga could be a fallback option, especially if the Yanks lose Taillon to free agency. Since Senga has pitched in Japan, and few of us have heard of him, just wanted to inform you about him.

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