Who Is Kodai Senga? Why Red Sox Fans Should Know Japanese Ace

The 'Ghost Fork' is the new gyroball


Nov 11, 2022

The early offseason focus for the Red Sox looks pretty clear with Boston already being linked to multiple starting pitchers.

Chaim Bloom and the Boston front office seem hellbent on searching high and low for rotation help, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see that quest extend beyond North America.

MLB Trade Rumors published its free agent predictions late Thursday night. The words “Red Sox” appear more than 40 times in the story, which tells you just how busy this offseason could be. The most interesting Boston connection, though, was to Japanese pitcher Kodai Senga. MLBTR writers Tim Dierkes, Anthony Franco and Darragh McDonald all made their predictions for where the top 50 free agents will sign, and both Dierkes and Franco forecast Senga signing with the Red Sox.

The trio puts forth a collective prediction on contract for each player, too, and they see Senga landing a five-year, $75 million from someone this winter as he makes the jump to Major League Baseball.

“Uncertainty abounds with regard to any pitcher making the jump from NPB or the Korea Baseball Organization, but Senga is a hard-throwing, in-his-prime ace in what’s very arguably the world’s second-best league,” they wrote.

Senga is a right-handed starter with excellent velocity, sitting in the upper-90s and touching triple digits. A pretty filthy splitter also helps play up the fastball, as seen in this highlight video where some hitters are clearly late and/or getting jammed by the heater.

Here’s a better look at the splitter.

He also features a pretty enticing overhand 12-to-6 curveball in that video.

FanGraphs, in its recent free agent projections, expected Senga to land a four-year deal in the $60 million neighborhood. So, it ultimately might come down to who’s willing to give Senga — who turns 30 in January — that fifth year.

FanGraphs prospect writer Eric Longenhagen believes there’s some similarity to Nathan Eovaldi in Senga’s repertoire.

“While his breaking ball command is inconsistent, Senga’s velocity, splitter, repertoire depth, and demonstrated durability make him a fit as No. 3 or 4 starter on a contender,” Longenhagen wrote.

Thumbnail photo via Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports Images
Boston Red Sox outfielder Masataka Yoshida
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