Yusei Kikuchi
27-Year-Old PitcherRP
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.
Will have innings limited
PSeattle Mariners
January 3, 2019
Kikuchi will have his innings limited in his first year with the Mariners, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports.
ANALYSIS
This isn't all too surprising, as Kikuchi will be adjusting to a new schedule where he'll pitch more frequently -- he started every six or seven days in Japan. The Mariners still want Kikuchi to make 30-plus starts in 2019, but every fifth start will be an abbreviated outing for the 27-year-old southpaw. Kikuchi went 14-4 with a 3.08 ERA, 8.4 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in Japan in 2018.
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Yusei Kikuchi
The Z Files: Drafting a Pitching Staff
35 days ago
Todd Zola walks through how he assembles a fantasy pitching staff and explains why Max Scherzer is the only hurler to get a pre-draft plan named after him.
Japanese Prospects: 2016 Top-10 Rankings
February 4, 2016
Patrick Newman reveals RotoWire's top-10 prospects currently playing in Japan, including one player with the talent to usurp Yu Darvish as the best pitcher to make the move across the Pacific.
Mound Musings: Scouting Japanese Pitchers
July 14, 2011
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.
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Deal worth up to $109 million
PSeattle Mariners
January 2, 2019
The contract Kikuchi agreed to with the Mariners on Monday will pay him $43 million over the first three years of the deal and includes a $13 million player option for 2022 that can be voided with a four-year, $66 million extension, Greg Johns of MLB.com reports.
ANALYSIS
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Will head to Seattle
PSeattle Mariners
December 31, 2018
Kikuchi agreed to a contract Monday with the Mariners, Jon Heyman of FancredSports.com reports. Per Jon Morosi of MLB Network, Kikuchi will receive a guaranteed four-year deal.
ANALYSIS
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Will be posted Tuesday
PFree Agent
December 3, 2018
Kikuchi will officially be posted by the Seibu Lions of Nippon Professional Baseball on Tuesday at 8 a.m. EST, at which point he can begin negotiating with MLB teams, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports.
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Signing period imminent
PFree Agent
November 26, 2018
Kikuchi's posting process will begin Dec. 5, and he will then have 30 days to sign a contract with an MLB team, The Japan Times reports.
ANALYSIS
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Free to sign with MLB team
PFree Agent
November 5, 2018
The Seibu Lions have made Kikuchi available to MLB teams through the posting system, MLB.com reports. He is free to negotiate a contract with any MLB team.
ANALYSIS
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