Daisuke Matsuzaka
Daisuke Matsuzaka
39-Year-Old PitcherRP
 Free Agent  Foreign
Free Agent
2019 Fantasy Outlook
There was no outlook written for Daisuke Matsuzaka in 2019. Check out the latest news below for more on his current fantasy value.
$Signed a contract with the Softbank Hawks of Japan's Pacific League in December of 2014.
PFree Agent  F
December 4, 2014
Matsuzaka has signed a contract with the Softbank Hawks of Japan's Pacific League, the Associated Press reports.
Matsuzaka pitched decently with the Mets this past season, with a 3.89 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 83.1 innings. Still he's not the same pitcher who took the league by storm with the Red Sox during the previous decade, and it's a good bet the 34-year-old will finish out his career in his homeland.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Matsuzaka never met his shock-the-world, change-the-game expectations. In fact, he was a bust by all accounts, with just two full seasons of work and a modest 4.52 ERA in 668 innings with the Red Sox. He latched on with the Mets after his Boston career and spent the last two years with them, functioning as a swingman in 2014. While he did some solid things from time-to-time, he was still essentially the same uninspiring guy from Boston. He missed a decent number of bats, but continued to walk far too many. He had better results as a reliever (3.44 ERA compared to 4.24 as a starter), though matching 1.6 K:BB ratios in each role showed he wasn’t any better from a skills standpoint. At 34, he isn’t about to have any sort of skills makeover. This is who he is and any potential fantasy he may have had evaporated when he signed with the Softbank Hawks of Japan in December.
Matsuzaka asked for and was granted his release by the Indians in August after pitching well for almost a month and posting a 5-8 record, with a 3.92 ERA and 1.28 WHIP for their Triple-A affiliate. He immediately signed and started for the Mets two days later. Matsuzaka struggled initially but pitched better his last four starts for the team, allowing four earned runs in 26.2 innings. He should sign a minor league deal with a spring training invite to earn a roster spot.
Matsuzaka is an unrestricted free agent after six years in the Boston organization. There was some success early on, but we barely remember his 18-win season in 2008. In the end, it was an inability to throw strikes and nibbling that hurt Matsuzaka the most. He averaged 4.3 BB/9 in his career. He wants to stay in the States and some team will take a shot on him, but a move to a pitcher-friendly home park could go a long way toward helping him get back on track.
Matsuzaka was well on his way to his third straight frustrating season when an elbow injury turned into Tommy John surgery. It's unlikely he'll be able to contribute much to Boston this season, which is the final one on the six-year deal he signed in 2006. It's safe to say the Red Sox won't be looking to re-sign the right-hander, who had a tendency to nibble and walked more than four batters per nine innings. It was a pretty rocky tenure with the Red Sox and it may have stifled his desire to pitch in the U.S.
Matsuzaka dealt with a few injuries in 2010, but when healthy he was the same pitcher we've grown accustomed to over his first three years in Boston. He continued to confound, mixing nights of brilliance with nights of nibbling, high pitch counts and early dismissals. In May, he sandwiched a near no-hitter against Philadelphia with two outings in which he was pulled after 4.2 innings. That's a microcosm of Matsuzaka's career in Boston -- he's tough to hit against, but allows too many free baserunners which can lead to big innings. He barely averaged over six innings per start and can be hard on managing a bullpen. While there remains some level of disconnect between him and the organization -- and sometimes his catcher -- he will open 2011 with a spot in the rotation.
It was a troubled year for Matsuzaka following his MVP-stint at the World Baseball Classic. First, a shoulder injury derailed the start of the season, then contributed to the worst stretch of pitching of his career during six starts in May and June. He eventually landed on the disabled list with weakness in the shoulder and didn't get back to action until September, looking much like the pre-injury Matsuzaka: walking a lot of batters and throwing a lot of pitches. In between was a brief contretemps when his critical words about the club's training programs surfaced in a Japanese newspaper. The player and team have made amends and now appear to be on the same page when it comes to his training regimen. However, the injury leaves Matsuzaka as something of a question mark entering the 2010 season. Even with the addition of John Lackey in free agency, it would appear that Matsuzaka has a spot in the rotation if he's healthy, though we'll need to see how he looks in spring training.
Matsuzaka lived on a fault line for much of the season, walking way too many batters, but not surrendering the big hit. He led the league in walks (94) and batting average against at .211. The walks have been a problem for him since he arrived in 2007, but he became much better pitching from the stretch. Despite the 2008 success, you get the feeling Matsuzaka is capable of giving up a big inning at any time of the game. Along with Josh Beckett and Jon Lester, Matsuzaka makes up one MLB's better rotations.
Matsuzaka had moments of brilliance during 2007, but also struggled for stretches. He didn't pitch well from the stretch and had a propensity to give up the big inning. Matsuzaka wasn't very good in September, and the transition from pitching every sixth day to every fifth day appeared to challenge him. The Red Sox handle their pitchers very carefully and will work to improve Matsuzaka's between-starts regimen. His second season in the States should go better than his first.
Matsuzaka had a breakout performance at the WBC and followed that up with a monster year in Japan last season, going 17-5, with a 2.13 ERA in 25 starts, with an 0.93 WHIP and an awesome 213:36 K:BB in 186.1 IP. Matsuzaka threw 118 or more pitches in 15 starts, including eight outings with 130 or more and a high of 145. However, only once did Matsuzaka pitch on less than six days' rest last season. Even with those high pitch counts, Matsuzaka unofficially threw 2907 pitches in league play last season, which would have ranked just 67th in MLB. It will be very interesting to see Matsuzaka's workload transition. Matsuzaka's fastballs almost always record in the 90s, topping out at 98 mph. He also has a plus curve, slider, change and splitter, not to mention the mysterious "gyroball," which may be a knuckle curve. The transition from Japan to MLB is never a sure thing, but no one (not even Ichiro) ever made the trip with more talent than Matsuzaka.
Matsuzaka is of interest only to keeper league owners in 2006, as his Japanese club stopped him from trying to sign with a major league team this winter. He's Japan's best pitcher at the moment and had a Roger Clemens-type year in 2005 (2.30 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, a 226-to-49 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 215 innings, but only a 15-14 won-loss mark). Turns 26 in September; he's not eligible for free agency until after the 2008 season., but speculation increases that Seibu will allow Matsuzaka to come to America after 2006 via the posting system. You can see Matsuzaka's stats in Japan through 2005 at japanesebaseball.com.
Right now, the best pitcher in the world that's not in a major league uniform.
You can see Matsuzaka's career stats from Japan here at japanesebaseball.com .
More Fantasy News
Daisuke Matsuzaka: Wants To Pitch In Japan
PFree Agent  F
November 25, 2014
Matsuzaka has apparently decided to pitch in Japan next season with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks expressing interest in signing him, the Japan Times reports.
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PNew York Mets  F
September 12, 2014
Matsuzaka (elbow) tossed three scoreless innings, scattering one hit and three walks with one strikeout, in Thursday's loss to the Nationals.
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PNew York Mets  F
September 2, 2014
Matsuzaka received a cortisone shot Tuesday to treat his elbow inflammation, ESPN New York reports.
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PNew York Mets  F
August 31, 2014
Matsuzaka (elbow), who was just activated off the disabled list Thursday, will remain in New York to see Mets team doctors, ESPNNewYork.com reports.
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PNew York Mets  F
August 28, 2014
Matsuzaka (elbow) was activated from the 15-day DL on Thursday.
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