39-Year-Old Pitcher – Free Agent
2014 Fantasy Baseball Outlook
There was no outlook written for Kenshin Kawakami in 2014. Check out the latest news below for more on his current fantasy value.
Kenshin Kawakami Contract Information:
Kawakami signed a one-year, 30 million yen deal with the Chunichi Dragons in January of 2012.
Kawakami has signed a one-year, 30 million yen deal with the Chunichi Dragons, the Kyodo news service reports.
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Kenshin Kawakami Split Stats (View Full Split Stats)
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Kenshin Kawakami: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for Kenshin Kawakami.
Kawakami began last season in Atlanta's rotation, but the Braves were regretting his $23 million contract by the end of the year and even dropped him from the 40-man roster. He largely featured the same below average strikeout rate, control problems and average groundball rate that he did in 2009, but he had the misfortune to begin the season 0-9 with an increase in his BABIP that resulted in a 4.49 ERA. While he may have been unlucky and pitched somewhat better than his recorded indicated, he was an easy scapegoat and he was never needed as more than a short-term placeholder until Atlanta's plethora of talent in the upper minors was ready for the majors. Once Mike Minor and Kris Medlen were ready for the rotation, he was moved to the bullpen and pitched just five innings after the All-Star break. Even if he lands a significant role outside of Atlanta, there are few reasons to think he'll make a significant improvement from last season.
Kawakami struggled with his control in his first season in the majors after coming over from Japan, but was otherwise productive with a 3.86 ERA. He lost his spot in the rotation in September once Tim Hudson returned from elbow surgery amid concerns over his workload with a longer season than in Japan, but he should be Atlanta's fifth starter after the trade of Javier Vazquez. With a below average strikeout rate, control problems and an average groundball rate, there are plenty of reasons to tread carefully here.
Be careful not to compare Kawakami with some of the other big names that have come over from Japan - he's not going to be as useful as Daisuke Matsuzaka or even Hiroki Kuroda. Kawakami benefitted greatly from a pitcher-friendly home park and superior defensive support while pitching for Chunichi in Japan. He also missed a significant portion of the season with a back injury. He'll be the No. 3 or No. 4 starter for the Braves after signing with Atlanta this winter.
Kawakami was the staff ace for the Japan Series champions, the Chunichi Dragons, in 2007, going 12-8, 3.55 in 26 starts (1.180 WHIP, 145:23 K:BB ratio in 167.1 innings). The former MVP and Sawamura (best pitcher) award winner has won 17 games twice in the last four seasons and earned All-Star honors in 2006 after posting a 2.51 ERA with 194 strikeouts in 215 innings. At press time, the 32-year-old righty was deciding whether to file for free agency or re-sign with Chunichi. Several MLB clubs are reportedly interested in pursuing Kawakami if he decides to cross the Pacific.