How Good Is Yusei Kikuchi?

John Means

How Good Is Yusei Kikuchi

Yusei Kikuchi is a name that is quickly gaining recognition in the baseball world. The left-handed pitcher from Japan has been making waves with his impressive performances for the Seattle Mariners.

But just how good is Yusei Kikuchi? Is he deserving of the hype? In this article, we will take a closer look at his stats and performances to answer that question.

Yusei Kikuchi – A Brief Overview

Yusei Kikuchi is a professional baseball player from Japan who currently pitches for the Seattle Mariners in Major League Baseball (MLB). He was born on June 17, 1991, in Morioka, Japan, and grew up playing baseball.

Kikuchi attended Hanamaki Higashi High School, where he established himself as one of the best high school pitchers in Japan.

He went on to play for the Seibu Lions in the Japanese Pacific League, where he was a two-time All-Star and won the Eiji Sawamura Award in 2017, which is given to the best-starting pitcher in Japanese baseball.

In 2019, at the age of 27, Yusei Kikuchi officially made the transition from the Japanese Pacific League to the MLB by signing a four-year contract with the Seattle Mariners.

He was one of the most talked-about pitchers in the 2019 offseason, and his signing was seen as a big coup for the Mariners.

Kikuchi’s first season in the MLB was challenging, as he had to adapt to a new league, new opponents, and a different style of play.

He struggled with his control, walking 76 batters in 161.2 innings pitched, but he also showed flashes of brilliance, striking out 116 batters and finishing the season with a 5.46 ERA.

However, Kikuchi has made a strong start to the 2021 season, with a perfect 4-0 record and a 3.00 ERA through his first four starts. He has shown improved control, walking just six batters while striking out 28.

This early success has been a welcome sign for the Mariners and their fans, who are hoping that Kikuchi can continue to improve and become a reliable starter for years to come.

In conclusion, Yusei Kikuchi is a talented pitcher from Japan who made the transition to the MLB in 2019. Despite a challenging first season, he has shown early signs of improvement in 2021 and has the potential to become a star for the Seattle Mariners.

Kikuchi’s Style of Play

Yusei Kikuchi is a Japanese professional baseball player who currently pitches for the Seattle Mariners in Major League Baseball. In this essay, we will focus on two important aspects of Kikuchi’s career: his improved performance this year compared to last year, and his pitching style.

Improved Performance

Through his first four starts in the 2021 season, Kikuchi has been pitching at an extremely high level, with a perfect 4-0 record and a 3.00 earned run average (ERA).

This is a significant improvement from his performance in the same number of starts last year, where he was 1-1 with a 4.35 ERA.

In terms of strikeouts and walks, Kikuchi has also shown considerable improvement he has struck out 28 batters and walked just six in 24 innings this year, compared to 20 strikeouts and 14 walks in the same number of innings last year.

These numbers demonstrate that Kikuchi has honed his skills during the off-season and is performing at an elite level so far this season.

Pitch Arsenal

Kikuchi is a left-handed pitcher who typically throws a four-seam fastball, a slider, a curveball, and a changeup. While his fastball averages around 91-93 mph, his slider is considered his best pitch, as it has a sharp break and generates a lot of swings and misses.

His curveball is a slower pitch that he uses to keep hitters off balance, and his changeup is another off-speed pitch that he uses to deceive hitters.

Strengths and Weaknesses

One of Kikuchi’s biggest strengths is his ability to command his pitches, which allows him to locate them precisely where he wants them. He also has a deceptive delivery that can make it hard for batters to pick up the ball out of his hand.

However, one of his weaknesses is that he can sometimes struggle with his control, which can lead to walks and high-pitch counts. Additionally, his fastball lacks velocity, which can be a disadvantage against some of the more powerful hitters in the league.

Performance So Far

Despite his weaknesses, Kikuchi has shown tremendous improvement in his control this year, which has led to his excellent performance so far. His slider has been particularly effective, generating a lot of whiffs and keeping hitters off balance.

While it is only a small sample size, Kikuchi’s performance this year indicates that he has made significant improvements to his pitching arsenal and is a force to be reckoned with on the mound.

In conclusion, Yusei Kikuchi has demonstrated significant improvement in his performance this year, with a perfect record and a low ERA, as well as an effective pitching arsenal that plays to his strengths.

While he still has room for improvement, Kikuchi has shown that he is one of the top left-handed pitchers in the league and is poised to have a successful season.

Kikuchi’s Debut Season

Performance and Progress

Yusei Kikuchi had a solid debut season with the Seattle Mariners in 2019, but there were certainly some ups and downs. Overall, Kikuchi finished the season with a 6-11 record and a 5.46 ERA. However, he did show signs of progress throughout the year.

One of the biggest adjustments Kikuchi had to make coming over from Japan was pitching on a five-day rotation instead of a six-day rotation. This initially seemed to affect his performance, as he struggled in the early part of the season.

However, as the year went on, Kikuchi seemed to become more comfortable pitching on a different schedule, and his performance improved.

Kikuchi’s strikeout rate was solid in his debut season, as he struck out 116 batters in 161.2 innings pitched. However, his walk rate was higher than desired, as he walked 51 batters.

One positive trend for Kikuchi was his ability to induce ground balls, as his ground ball rate of 50.6% ranked 14th in all of baseball.

Challenges and Obstacles

Aside from adjusting to a different schedule, Kikuchi faced other challenges in his debut season. One of the biggest obstacles was adjusting to a higher level of competition.

In Japan, Kikuchi was one of the best pitchers in the league, but he found it more difficult to dominate hitters in the Major Leagues.

Kikuchi also had to contend with different playing conditions, as stadiums in the United States are generally larger and feature different wind patterns than those in Japan.

Additionally, Kikuchi had to adjust to a new baseball, as the ball used in Major League Baseball differs slightly from the ball used in Japan.

Recognition and Awards

Despite posting a losing record and an ERA over 5.00, Kikuchi did earn some recognition for his debut season. He was named to the All-Star Futures Game, which showcases some of the top prospects in baseball. Kikuchi also received the Mariners’ Rookie of the Year award.

Looking ahead, Kikuchi will hope to build on the progress he made in his debut season and continue to adjust to the challenges of pitching in the Major Leagues. With a year of experience under his belt, he should be better equipped to compete and succeed in 2020 and beyond.

Kikuchi’s Development

Kikuchi’s impressive start to the 2021 season can be attributed to various factors including his adjustments and improvements, coaching and mentorship, and mentality and work ethic.

Adjustments and Improvements

Kikuchi struggled in his first season with the Seattle Mariners in 2019, posting a 5.46 ERA with 5.0 walks per nine innings. However, he worked hard during the offseason to make adjustments and improve his performance.

He worked on refining his mechanics and changing his pitch selection, which has resulted in improved command of his pitches. Kikuchi has also been able to generate more swings and misses with his slider and cutter, leading to an increase in strikeouts.

Overall, Kikuchi’s improvements in his mechanics and pitch selection have led to more efficient outings and better results on the mound.

Coaching and Mentorship

The Seattle Mariners have invested in their player development system over the past few years, and this investment has benefited Kikuchi. The Mariners’ coaching staff, including pitching coach Pete Woodworth, has helped Kikuchi make the necessary adjustments to his game.

The team has also employed a Japanese language interpreter, Kazuhiro Sasaki, who can help Kikuchi feel more comfortable in his new environment.

In addition, Kikuchi has received guidance from fellow Mariners pitcher Yusei Kikuchi, who has had success making the transition from Japan to Major League Baseball.

Mentality and Work Ethic

Kikuchi has demonstrated a strong work ethic since joining the Mariners. He has continually worked on improving his game and has a positive attitude towards his development.

Kikuchi also puts in the extra effort to communicate and work with his coaching staff and teammates to understand how he can continue to improve. He has shown a willingness to adjust and adapt, which has helped him succeed in the early stages of the 2021 season.

In conclusion, Kikuchi’s hot start to the 2021 season can be attributed to his improvements in his game, the support he has received from his coaching staff and fellow players, and his strong work ethic.

If Kikuchi can maintain this level of performance, he could become a valuable asset to the Mariners’ rotation for years to come.

Comparisons and Analysis

Comparison to Other Japanese Players in MLB

Yusei Kikuchi, a left-handed pitcher from Japan, has made a significant impact in his short time in Major League Baseball (MLB). He transferred to MLB in 2018 after a successful career in the Japanese Professional Baseball League.

Japan has been exporting elite-level talent to MLB for decades, and Kikuchi follows the footsteps of many other Japanese superstars like Hideo Nomo, Hideki Matsui, and Ichiro Suzuki.

Compared to other Japanese pitchers in MLB, Kikuchi has been steady in his performance, but it is still too early in his career to make meaningful comparisons.

Kikuchi is only in his second year in the MLB, and his numbers do not rank among the best Japanese players who have played in MLB.

Comparison to Other Left-Handed Pitchers

When compared to other left-handed pitchers in MLB, Kikuchi’s numbers are also still developing. Although a small sample size, Kikuchi has much improved in 2020, and his performance may begin to draw comparisons with elite left-handed pitchers in MLB over time.

Future Potential and Expectations

Kikuchi’s future potential is high, as he has shown an improved performance over last year’s debut. With his improvement, Kikuchi’s future potential is that of a quality starter in the MLB.

His production in 2020 suggests a player capable of producing between 3.5-4 WAR per season. Kikuchi has a perfect 4-0 record with a 3.00 ERA through six starts, which demonstrates the potential he has in the league.

Overall, the future expectations for Yusei Kikuchi are promising. Although it is still early in his career, his current progress and previous performances, if sustained, suggest he could become one of the elite pitchers in the MLB. His development will be exciting to watch in the coming seasons.

What Kind of Pitcher is Yusei Kikuchi?

Kikuchi’s Pitching Style

Kikuchi is a left-handed pitcher who throws from a three-quarters arm angle and has a fastball that tops out at 99 miles per hour.

Pitch Repertoire

Aside from his blazing fastball, Kikuchi also has a slider and a curveball in his arsenal, making him a versatile pitcher capable of throwing off hitters.

Ability to Strikeout

With his powerful fastball and sharp slider, Kikuchi has shown the ability to strike out batters at a high rate throughout his career.

Pitching Mechanics

Kikuchi’s pitching mechanics have been praised by coaches and scouts alike, as his smooth and repeatable delivery allows him to consistently throw strikes and limit walks.

Overall Impact on the Mound

Kikuchi’s combination of pitch velocity, versatility, and mechanics make him a valuable asset on the mound and a potential ace for any team he plays for.

Is Yusei Kikuchi a Starter?

Kikuchi’s Early Struggles

Despite being a highly-touted signing from Japan in 2019, Kikuchi struggled in his first two seasons with the Mariners. He struggled with consistency and command, leading to high walk rates and a high ERA.

Kikuchi’s Improvements in 2021

In 2021, Kikuchi began to turn things around. He lowered his walk rate and increased his strikeout rate, leading to a career-low ERA of 4.41. He also threw a career-high 161.2 innings.

Kikuchi’s Spring Performance

In spring training leading up to the 2023 season, Kikuchi has continued to impress. He has pitched well against major league hitters and has shown improved command and confidence on the mound.

Kikuchi’s Role in the Rotation

Based on his spring performance and overall improvement in 2021, Kikuchi is expected to be a starter for the Mariners in 2023. He has shown that when he is on, he can be an effective MLB starter.

Kikuchi’s Future Potential

While Kikuchi has had his ups and downs in his early MLB career, he still has the potential to become a top-of-the-rotation starter. With continued improvement, he could become a valuable piece of the Mariners’ rotation for years to come.

To Recap

Based on his current season performance, it’s safe to say that Yusei Kikuchi is a talented pitcher who is improving with each outing. His ability to strike out batters while minimizing walks is evidence of his growing confidence and skill on the mound.

Although he still has some room for improvement, there’s no denying that Kikuchi has the potential to become a star player in the future. Overall, it’s clear that the hype around Kikuchi is well-deserved, and we look forward to watching him continue to progress as a player.

Photo of author

John Means

John Means is a professional baseball player who has played in the major leagues for the Kansas City Royals and the Oakland Athletics. He made his major league debut with the Royals in 2009. He was traded to the Athletics in 2012. Baseball is his favorite sport. His passion about the game is evident in his play. Now he write blogs about baseball and other things whenever he has some free time. LinkedIn

Leave a Comment