Yusei Kikuchi
Yusei Kikuchi
29-Year-Old PitcherSP
Seattle Mariners
2021 Fantasy Outlook
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. Read Past Outlooks
RANKS
#341
ADP
$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.
Looks set to deliver on promise
PSeattle Mariners
March 4, 2021
Kikuchi, who made several offseason improvements, appeared to back up general manager Jerry Dipoto's recent proclamation that the left-hander is ready for a "breakout" during his first Cactus League start, Daniel Kramer of MLB.com reports. "Everything that he was doing [in 2020] suggested that he should be experiencing more success," Dipoto said. "I don't know that we had a single pitcher that was probably more unlucky than Yusei last year. I know it's been an inconsistent couple of years, albeit one truncated season. But we love his stuff."
ANALYSIS
Kikuchi threw 29 pitches across two innings against an Indians B squad Tuesday, allowing one earned run on a hit and walk while recording three strikeouts. The 29-year-old was able to hit 96 mph with his four-seam fastball and remained at 95 mph for the majority of his outing while also utilizing two of his secondary pitches for strikeouts. Kikuchi's velocity uptick was already evident during a 2020 season in which the gap between his expected ERA (3.51) and actual ERA (5.17) was the third largest among 108 qualified pitchers. He also reduced his HR/9 from 2019's 2.0 to 0.6 last season.
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Pitching Stats
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2020
2019
2020 MLB Game Log
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2019 MLB Game Log
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Pitching Appearances Breakdown
Average Pitch Count
88
Last 10 Games
88
Last 5 Games
90
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 2018
 
 
-8%
BAA vs LHP
2020
 
 
-18%
BAA vs RHP
2019
 
 
-13%
BAA vs LHP
2018
No Stats
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2018vs Left .267 190 38 12 47 10 1 8
Since 2018vs Right .289 717 124 56 188 42 6 31
2020vs Left .279 49 11 5 12 2 0 0
2020vs Right .228 137 35 13 28 9 1 3
2019vs Left .263 141 27 7 35 8 1 8
2019vs Right .304 580 89 43 160 33 5 28
2018vs Left 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2018vs Right 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
More Splits View More Split Stats
Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2018
 
 
-7%
ERA on Road
2020
 
 
-2%
ERA at Home
2019
 
 
-9%
ERA on Road
2018
No Stats
ERA WHIP IP W L SV K/9 BB/9 HR/9
Since 2018Home 5.58 1.45 101.2 3 11 0 7.4 3.3 2.0
Since 2018Away 5.21 1.49 107.0 5 4 0 6.6 2.8 1.3
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
2019Home 5.73 1.54 75.1 2 8 0 6.8 3.0 2.5
2019Away 5.21 1.49 86.1 4 3 0 6.2 2.6 1.6
2018Home 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2018Away 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
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
2.35
 
K/9
9.0
 
BB/9
3.8
 
HR/9
0.6
 
Fastball
95.0 mph
 
ERA
5.17
 
WHIP
1.30
 
BABIP
.308
 
GB/FB
2.43
 
Left On Base
59.9%
 
Exit Velocity
82.5 mph
 
Barrels/BBE
2.2%
 
Spin Rate
2196 rpm
 
Balls Hit 95+ MPH
21.4%
 
Swinging Strike
12.8%
 
Advanced Pitching Stats
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Defensive Stats
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Stats Vs Today's Lineup
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2020
2019
2016
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
Draws Tuesday start
PSeattle Mariners
March 1, 2021
Kikuchi, the Mariners' projected No. 3 starter, will make his Cactus League debut Tuesday against the Indians, Daniel Kramer of MLB.com reports.
ANALYSIS
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Drops weight in offseason
PSeattle Mariners
February 21, 2021
Kikuchi reported to spring camp having dropped 10 pounds over the offseason, Shannon Drayer of 710 ESPN Seattle reports.
ANALYSIS
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Solid in no-decision
PSeattle Mariners
September 25, 2020
Kikuchi took a no-decision during Friday's loss despite blanking the A's across six innings. He allowed four hits and three walks while striking out five.
ANALYSIS
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Walks six in loss
PSeattle Mariners
September 18, 2020
Kikuchi (2-4) was charged with the loss against the Padres on Friday after surrendering five runs on four hits and six walks while striking out three across four innings.
ANALYSIS
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Takes third loss
PSeattle Mariners
September 11, 2020
Kikuchi (2-3) was charged with the loss against the Diamondbacks on Friday, giving up four runs on six hits and a walk while striking out five across six innings.
ANALYSIS
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