“It was the worst American League pitcher who threw at least 70 innings. But…”
The ‘Jace Journal’, which covers news about the Toronto Blue Jays in ‘Fanside’, where major league fan columnists are active, On the 4th (Korean time), I wrote about Japanese pitcher Yusei Kikuchi (32).
Before last season, Kikuchi changed his uniform by signing a free agent (FA) contract with Toronto for 3 years and 36 million dollars (about 45 billion won). He was highly anticipated to be selected as an All-Star for the 2021 season, but did not play an active role. He went 6-7 with 1 save in 32 games (20 starts), struck out 124 in 100⅔ innings, and had a WHIP of 1.50. He served as a starter at the beginning of the season, but as the sluggishness continued, he also tasted the humiliation of moving to the bullpen in the second half.
The media looked back on a season saying, “Kikuchi played in the All-Star Game in the 2021 season, but as a starting pitcher last year, he couldn’t find his rhythm and moved to the bullpen in the middle.”
Kikuchi posted an ERA of 5.19 last year. This ranks fourth among American League pitchers with at least 100 innings pitched. He also had the worst contribution to victory (WAR) of -1.1 American League pitchers with at least 70 innings pitched.
While the expected results for the next season are attracting attention, the media rather predicted Kikuchi’s rebound. Even in the worst season, there are definitely things to keep an eye on.
The media said, “Kikuchi’s 2022 season, one thing is clear: his pitch was not bad. He has a four-seam fastball in the early 90s (about 145 km) and a good slider, changeup, cutter, etc. The biggest problem is that these pitches have poor control. I need it, but I didn’t last year.”
“If Kikuchi can refine his offseason pitches, he can become a solid pitcher for Toronto. His K/9 (strikeouts per 9 innings) ratio last year was 11.1, the fifth highest among pitchers in the American League. It can be a force for the team mound,” he added. 메이저사이트
The 2023 season is important for both players and teams. Kikuchi needs a rebound, and the team needs to operate a stable starting rotation until Ryu Hyun-jin (36) returns from injury. The media said, “Kikuchi struggled last year. It’s strange to be optimistic about such a player, but he has the qualities to be a good starting pitcher in the major leagues.”
Will Kikuchi be able to rebound? Attention is focusing on whether he, who has proven his powerful pitch, can also combine stable control.