Kodai Senga is one of the bigger wild cards heading into free agency.
The Japanese righty was one of Nippon Professional Baseball’s biggest stars on the mound, a dominant force who had dominated for years. He had also attempted to come stateside for years, only to have the Hawks rebuff all of his requests to be posted.
Marketing Kodai Senga to major league teams
Now that he is coming stateside, there are questions as to what type of pitcher he is going to be. According to the Kyoto News, Senga’s representatives are marketing him as a top of the rotation caliber arm, claiming that his character and the “quality of his pitches” make him someone that teams can depend upon as a potential ace.
There is no questioning his fastball and forkball, known as the “ghost fork,” are plus offerings. Senga also has excellent command of his arsenal and does a great job at keeping the ball in the yard. However, his other offerings are considered fringy at best, leading to a range of opinions as to his eventual role. He is considered anywhere from a middle of the rotation piece to a high leverage reliever, making Senga quite the wild card.
While it is fair to question if Senga can dominate with two plus offerings, that has become a recipe for success recently. The Astros have a pair of pitchers in Cristian Javier and Framber Valdez that are able to consistently carve up the opposition despite primarily relying on two pitches. It is entirely possible that Senga can have the same degree of success.
The difference is that Javier and Valdez have put together a track record at the major league level. Senga has yet to do so. If he can be comparable to that duo, he can be a productive arm for any major league team. He just would not be that top line starter he is being marketed as.
Kodai Senga is being marketed as a top of the rotation arm. While his stuff may be better suited to a third starter role, it just takes one team to believe.