Yusei Kikuchi
27-Year-Old PitcherSP
2019 Fantasy Outlook
A three-time All-Star in Japan (2013, 2017, 2018), Kikuchi was 14-4 with a 3.08 ERA, an 8.4 K/9 and a 2.5 BB/9 in 2018. He has a mid-90s fastball that he uses to set up a plus slider. While not regarded in quite the same star tier of Shohei Ohtani or Yu Darvish, the 27-year-old lefty still projects as at least a solid mid-rotation starter in MLB. Kikuchi signed a three-year, $43 million deal with the Mariners, with a $13 million player option for a fourth year and a team option for a four-year, $66 million extension after the first three years. He was dominant in 2017, logging 217 strikeouts in 187.2 innings -- both career highs. Kikuchi was similarly dominant in 2018 until a shoulder injury caused him to miss a month, and while he was able to return, he wasn't quite the same after that. He will be adapting to a new schedule where he'll pitch more frequently, so we should not expect the 6-foot hurler to log more than 160 innings on a rebuilding Mariners team. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a three-year, $43 million contract with the Mariners in January of 2019. The contract includes a $13 million player option for 2022, which can be voided by a four-year, $66 million team option.
Exits before five full in debut
PSeattle Mariners
March 21, 2019
Kikuchi allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits, a walk and a wild pitch over 4.2 innings in the Mariners' 5-4 extra-innings win over the Athletics in Tokyo, Japan on Thursday. He struck out three and did not factor into the decision.
ANALYSIS
It was a reasonably effective regular-season major-league debut for Kikuchi, one that ironically unfolded right back in his native Japan. The 27-year-old southpaw didn't allow any extra-base hits, with the only runs charged to him coming as a result of a Marcus Semien single and a Jay Bruce error at first base that allowed Jurickson Profar to cross the plate. Otherwise, his first taste of big-league action seemed to be unfold relatively smoothly, particularly encouraging given that Kikuchi had an up-and-down Cactus League tenure. The young left-hander will be well-rested whenever he does take the mound for his second start, as the Mariners do not resume play until next Thursday against the Red Sox in Seattle.
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2016 Fantasy Outlook
Kikuchi attracted attention as a high schooler for his hard fastball and stated desire to forego a pro career in Japan and jump straight to the majors. That didn't happen, and injuries have so far deterred him from reaching his potential. Still only 24, Kikuchi showed signs of improvement in 2015 and if he can put together a couple of healthy seasons, he could establish himself as a quality lefty.
More Fantasy News
Sharp in intrasquad game
PSeattle Mariners
March 14, 2019
Kikuchi fired five strong innings in an intrasquad game Wednesday afternoon, his final tune-up prior to a scheduled start in the second game of the regular season on March 21, Greg Johns of MLB.com repors.
ANALYSIS
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To throw in intrasquad game
PSeattle Mariners
March 12, 2019
Kikuchi will throw 4-5 innings an intrasquad game Wednesday after his scheduled final Cactus League start was rained out Tuesday, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports.
ANALYSIS
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Pitching second in rotation
PSeattle Mariners
March 9, 2019
Kikuchi will start the second game of the Mariners' season on March 21 against the Athletics in Japan, Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times reports.
ANALYSIS
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Works up to four innings Thursday
PSeattle Mariners
March 8, 2019
Kikuchi allowed two earned runs on five hits, a walk and a wild pitch over four innings in an 11-3 Cactus League win over the Reds on Thursday. He struck out two.
ANALYSIS
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Three strikeouts in spring loss
PSeattle Mariners
March 2, 2019
Kikuchi allowed two earned runs on two hits over three innings in the Mariners' 8-0 Cactus League loss to the Royals on Saturday. He struck out three.
ANALYSIS
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