November 30, 2023


Kodai Senga, a right-handed pitcher with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball League, is expected to weigh offers from Major League Baseball teams this winter. according to Jon Morosi.

Senga, who will celebrate his 30th birthday in January, is a complete talent. This season alone, he has compiled a 2.05 ERA and a 3.48 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 105 innings. For his NPB career, he has posted a 2.62 ERA and 3.04 strikeout-to-walk ratio in more than 1,000 innings.

Senga throws a series of pitches, including a pair of breaking balls. His best offerings, however, are his mid-90s fastball and forkball. The latter is a devastating pitch nicknamed the Ghost Fork on Twitter:

Although Senga technically signed a five-year deal with the Hawks last offseason, his deal includes an opt-out clause he can exercise this winter. That provision, along with his age and length of service, would make him a true free agent rather than someone subject to the posting system. The Hawks, for their part, refused to post Senga despite his previous requests.

“As a ball player, it is necessary to live my life aiming always higher.” Senga told reporters last winter about wanting to make the trip to the majors. “My thought on this has not wavered.”

The posting system, for those who don’t know, is the transfer portal that applies to most players making the jump from NPB to MLB. Players are “posted” by their NPB teams, who then receive a fee based on the final size of the player’s contract. MLB’s international rules for amateur free agents still apply to any player who is younger than 25 and has less than six years of service. In other words, these players have their earning potential largely suppressed.

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