Yusei Kikuchi

Yusei Kikuchi

31-Year-Old PitcherSP
Toronto Blue Jays
2023 Fantasy Outlook
Kikuchi is at a career crossroads as his non COVID-shortened seasons look terrible by most measures. His ERA and ERA estimators have been messy in each of those seasons, and then he further compounded problems in 2022 with a noticeable spike in his walk rate with a healthy dose of homers. Just six pitchers have ever thrown at least 100 innings with walk rates of at least 12% while allowing 2 homers per nine innings as Kikuchi did and those names include Oliver Perez, Andy Benes, and Derek Holland and each of their ERAs were over a full run higher than what Kikuchi somehow pulled off last season at 5.19. The strikeout rate was am impressive as he ran away from his cutter and threw more fastballs, but only his changeup was tough to hit for the league. It is perplexing to see someone with such poor overall numbers to have four pitches with Whiff rates above 25%, but that is what Kikuchi pulled off last season. Perhaps there is a brighter future for him in relief where he can pump up the velocity in shorter stints because he has had issues sustaining that over the course of a season. Funny data point: did you know Kikuchi's four-seam fastball generated more swings and misses in 2022 than four-seamers thrown by Justin Verlander and Alek Manoah? Now you do. Read Past Outlooks
RANKS
#558
ADP
$Signed a three-year, $36 million contract with the Blue Jays in March of 2022.
Not guaranteed to start
PToronto Blue Jays
December 2, 2022
Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins said Thursday the team wants to "learn more and see more" before locking Kikuchi into the rotation for 2023, Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun reports.
ANALYSIS
Kikuchi joined Toronto on a three-year, $36 million deal in March and endured a rough first season with the team, as he finished with a 5.19 ERA, 1.50 WHIP and 124:58 K:BB across 100.2 innings. He started in 20 of 32 appearances but also struggled in his 12 relief outings. The Blue Jays may need to add a couple starters in free agency for Kikuchi to comfortably be kept out of the rotation in 2023 since Hyun Jin Ryu (elbow) won't be available until the second half of the season, at least.
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Pitching Stats
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2022
2021
2020
2019
2022 MLB Game Log
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2021 MLB Game Log
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2020 MLB Game Log
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2019 MLB Game Log
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Pitching Appearances Breakdown
Average Pitch Count
58
Last 10 Games
28
Last 5 Games
26
How many pitches does Yusei Kikuchi generally throw?
 
1-10
 
11-20
 
21-30
 
31-40
 
41-50
 
51-60
 
61-70
 
71-80
 
81-90
 
91-100
 
101-110
 
111-120
 
121+
 
1-10
 
11-20
 
21-30
 
31-40
 
41-50
 
51-60
 
61-70
 
71-80
 
81-90
 
91-100
 
101-110
 
111-120
 
121+
 
1-10
 
11-20
 
21-30
 
31-40
 
41-50
 
51-60
 
61-70
 
71-80
 
81-90
 
91-100
 
101-110
 
111-120
 
121+
What part of the game does Yusei Kikuchi generally pitch?
 
 
 
1st
 
 
 
2nd
 
 
 
3rd
 
 
 
4th
 
 
 
5th
 
 
 
6th
 
 
 
7th
 
 
 
8th
 
 
 
9th
 
Extra
 
 
 
1st
 
 
 
2nd
 
 
 
3rd
 
 
 
4th
 
 
 
5th
 
 
 
6th
 
 
 
7th
 
 
 
8th
 
 
 
9th
 
Extra
 
 
 
1st
 
 
 
2nd
 
 
 
3rd
 
 
 
4th
 
 
 
5th
 
 
 
6th
 
 
 
7th
 
 
 
8th
 
 
 
9th
 
Extra
% Games Reaching Innings Threshold
% Games By Number of Innings Pitched
Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2020
 
 
-29%
BAA vs LHP
2022
 
 
-23%
BAA vs LHP
2021
 
 
-46%
BAA vs LHP
2020
 
 
-18%
BAA vs RHP
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2020vs Left .185 294 76 24 49 7 2 7
Since 2020vs Right .260 1012 257 114 229 53 4 46
2022vs Left .198 99 25 9 17 3 2 2
2022vs Right .256 355 99 49 76 18 1 21
2021vs Left .147 146 40 10 20 2 0 5
2021vs Right .271 520 123 52 125 26 2 22
2020vs Left .279 49 11 5 12 2 0 0
2020vs Right .228 137 35 13 28 9 1 3
More Splits View More Split Stats
Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2020
 
 
-12%
ERA at Home
2022
 
 
-23%
ERA at Home
2021
 
 
-9%
ERA at Home
2020
 
 
-2%
ERA at Home
ERA WHIP IP W L SV K/9 BB/9 HR/9
Since 2020Home 4.49 1.19 158.1 8 10 1 10.3 3.5 1.6
Since 2020Away 5.10 1.57 146.1 7 10 0 9.3 4.8 1.5
2022Home 4.58 1.16 55.0 5 3 1 11.8 3.8 2.5
2022Away 5.91 1.91 45.2 1 4 0 10.2 6.9 1.6
2021Home 4.21 1.22 77.0 2 4 0 9.7 3.2 1.3
2021Away 4.61 1.41 80.0 5 5 0 9.0 3.9 1.8
2020Home 5.13 1.18 26.1 1 3 0 9.2 4.1 0.7
2020Away 5.23 1.45 20.2 1 1 0 8.7 3.5 0.4
More Splits View More Split Stats
Stat Review
How does Yusei Kikuchi compare to other starting pitchers?
This section compares his stats with all starting pitcher seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 120 innings)*. The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.

* Exit Velocity, Barrels/BBE %, Balls Hit 95+ MPH %, and Spin Rate are benchmarked against 2019 data (min 120 IP). See here for more exit velocity/barrels stats plus an explanation of current limitations with that data set.
  • K/BB
    Strikeout to walk ratio.
  • K/9
    Average strikeouts per nine innings.
  • BB/9
    Average walks per nine innings.
  • HR/9
    Average home runs allowed per nine innings.
  • Fastball
    Average fastball velocity.
  • ERA
    Earned run average. The average earned runs allowed per nine innings.
  • WHIP
    Walks plus hits per inning pitched.
  • BABIP
    Batting average on balls in play. Measures how many balls in play against a pitcher go for hits.
  • GB/FB
    Groundball to flyball ratio. The higher the number, the more likely a pitcher is to induce groundballs.
  • Left On Base
    The percentage of base runners that a pitcher strands on base over the course of a season.
  • Exit Velocity
    The speed of the baseball as it comes off the bat, immediately after a batter makes contact.
  • Barrels/BBE
    The percentage of batted ball events resulting in a Barrel. A Barrel is a batted ball with similar exit velocity and launch angle to past ones that led to a minimum .500 batting average and 1.500 slugging percentage.
  • Spin Rate
    Spin Rate is the rate of spin on a baseball after it is released. It is measured in revolutions per minute (rpm).
  • Balls Hit 95+ MPH
    The percentage of batted balls hit that met or exceeded the 95 MPH threshold.
  • Swinging Strike
    The percentage of pitches that result in a swing and a miss.
K/BB
2.14
 
K/9
11.1
 
BB/9
5.2
 
HR/9
2.1
 
Fastball
95.0 mph
 
ERA
5.19
 
WHIP
1.50
 
BABIP
.305
 
GB/FB
1.51
 
Left On Base
70.7%
 
Exit Velocity
83.1 mph
 
Barrels/BBE
6.9%
 
Spin Rate
2215 rpm
 
Balls Hit 95+ MPH
27.3%
 
Swinging Strike
13.8%
 
Prospect Rankings History
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Defensive Stats
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Stats Vs Today's Lineup
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Yusei Kikuchi See More
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2022
2021
2020
2019
2016
Kikuchi appeared set to deliver the breakout campaign that many projected prior to the 2021 season, maintaining a 3.46 ERA with an 81:26 K:BB across his first 80.2 innings and 13 starts. However, he crumbled from there, posting a 5.42 ERA across his last 16 outings. Perhaps coincidentally, his problems began with the crackdown on the use of foreign substances. When viewing Kikuchi's profile as a whole, home runs remain a significant problem (1.6 HR/9) and his walk rate also remains higher than would be desirable (9.3 BB%). However, by far the biggest problem for Kikuchi is the amount of hard contact he surrenders, highlighted by an 11% barrel rate, 47% hard hit rate, and 91.9 mph average exit velocity. Kikuchi agreed to a three-year, $36 million deal with the Blue Jays and will be pitching in the AL East for the foreseeable future.
On the surface, Kikuchi has had some rough sledding in his transition from pitching in Japan to pitching in the majors. Two consecutive season of bad ratios and a lack of wins while pitching for a perpetually rebuilding Seattle franchise. If you solely focus on the surface stats, you will miss the progress he is making as a pitcher. The southpaw added a new cutter in 2020 and made it his primary pitch, but like with anything new, it took some time getting used to. Kikuchi struggled with walks, but still struck out nearly a quarter of the hitters he faced and his expected stats do not look like they belong to a guy coming off a 5.17 ERA and 1.30 WHIP season. The cutter helped him greatly against righties as their weighted on-base average against him dropped 75 points year over year. Seattle is not a great team, but Kikuchi is a good pitcher whose surface stats create a strong buying opportunity in 2021.
Kikuchi fell far short of expectations in his first major-league season, posting a 5.46 ERA and 1.52 WHIP after recording a 2.50 ERA and 1.05 WHIP over three seasons in Japan. The 28-year-old struggled to miss bats, posting a 16.1 K% that would have ranked fourth worst among major-league starters had he logged enough innings to qualify, along with a middling 8.8% swinging-strike rate. The Mariners took measures to limit Kikuchi's workload as he adjusted to the rigors of the MLB schedule. The southpaw served up a whopping 36 home runs despite throwing only 161.2 frames, with right-handed batters teeing off to the tune of .304/.359/.545 against Kikuchi. He figures to have a rotation spot on a rebuilding Mariners club, but there is little reason to think a big improvement is coming in his second big-league season. Throw your dart elsewhere.
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.
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
Could start Wednesday
PToronto Blue Jays
October 2, 2022
Kikuchi is the leading candidate to start Wednesday in Baltimore, Mitch Bannon of SI.com reports.
ANALYSIS
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Dropped from rotation
PToronto Blue Jays
August 17, 2022
Interim manager John Schneider said Wednesday that Kikuchi will transition to a relief role, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca reports.
ANALYSIS
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Early exit Monday
PToronto Blue Jays
August 16, 2022
Kikuchi (4-7) took the loss Monday as the Blue Jays were downed 7-3 by the Orioles, coughing up six runs (three earned) on four hits and three walks over 3.1 innings. He struck out three.
ANALYSIS
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Hit hard in loss
PToronto Blue Jays
August 9, 2022
Kikuchi (4-6) took the loss Monday as the Blue Jays fell 7-4 to the Orioles, coughing up five runs on six hits -- including three home runs -- and three walks over five innings. He struck out four.
ANALYSIS
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Fans five in no-decision
PToronto Blue Jays
August 3, 2022
Kikuchi didn't factor into the decision in Wednesday's 3-2 loss to the Rays, giving up two runs on three hits and a walk over four innings. He struck out five.
ANALYSIS
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