Koji Uehara
Koji Uehara
44-Year-Old PitcherRP
 Free Agent  Foreign
Free Agent
2019 Fantasy Outlook
There was no outlook written for Koji Uehara in 2019. Check out the latest news below for more on his current fantasy value.
$Signed a one-year, $6 million contract with the Cubs in December of 2016.
Returning to Japan
PFree Agent  F
March 9, 2018
Uehara signed with the Yomiuri Giants in Japan on Friday, Rich Dubroff of PressBoxonline.com reports.
ANALYSIS
The 42-year-old pitched for four teams in nine seasons since coming to America in 2009. He'll end his major-league career with a 2.66 ERA and 95 saves in 480.2 innings. His 79 saves for Boston rank seventh in Red Sox history.
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Pitching Stats
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2017
 
 
-13%
BAA vs RHP
2019
No Stats
2018
No Stats
2017
 
 
-13%
BAA vs RHP
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2017vs Left .250 80 23 7 18 3 1 3
Since 2017vs Right .217 98 27 5 20 1 0 4
2019vs Left 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2019vs Right 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2018vs Left 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2018vs Right 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2017vs Left .250 80 23 7 18 3 1 3
2017vs Right .217 98 27 5 20 1 0 4
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2017
 
 
-17%
ERA at Home
2019
No Stats
2018
No Stats
2017
 
 
-17%
ERA at Home
ERA WHIP IP W L SV K/9 BB/9 HR/9
Since 2017Home 3.65 1.01 24.2 1 2 2 10.2 2.2 1.5
Since 2017Away 4.42 1.36 18.1 2 2 0 10.8 2.9 1.5
2019Home 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2019Away 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2018Home 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2018Away 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2017Home 3.65 1.01 24.2 1 2 2 10.2 2.2 1.5
2017Away 4.42 1.36 18.1 2 2 0 10.8 2.9 1.5
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Koji Uehara
Mound Musings: Looking at the Future
July 13, 2017
Brad Johnson examines the annual Futures Game, which showcases up and coming talent, and in the Notable Rotation Happenings he discusses the return of Madison Bumgarner.
Collette Calls: Bullpen Watch at the Break
July 11, 2017
Jason Collette reviews each team's bullpen and looks at who might move as we enter the second half with the trade deadline approaching.
Collette Calls: Fighting the Long Ball
May 18, 2017
Jason Collette explores how pitchers are fighting back against baseball's home run surge and whether the key is pitching down the in zone as most assume.
Mound Musings: Arms to Watch in the NL Central
March 2, 2017
This week Brad Johnson takes an indepth look at each team’s rotation in the NL Central, including World Series winners Chicago Cubs and All-Star Jake Arrieta.
Collette Calls: Analyzing Last Year's New Pitches
February 27, 2017
Jason Collette analyzes pitchers who added a new pitch to their arsenals last season and what difference, if any, it made. Why didn't Michael Wacha's new cutter help him more?
Past Fantasy Outlooks
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
For the third consecutive season, Uehara was limited to fewer than 50 innings, but he pitched well enough when called upon to return positive value, this time as a member of the Cubs' bullpen. Neck stiffness and a right knee infection cost him time during the second half, but the 42-year-old finished with sub-4.00 ERA for the eighth-straight season despite a WHIP that checked in above 1.00 for the first since 2009, when he was a starter for the Orioles. If Uehara calls it a career, he'll finish with 95 saves as a big leaguer, to pair with a 10.7 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9, along with an impressive body of work from his time as a professional in Japan. If he decides to return for a 10th season in North America, it's likely that he'll be used more cautiously by his team than other relievers capable of posting great ratios given his age and the injuries that have plagued him throughout the last three seasons.
2016 was a struggle for Uehara, both in terms of injuries and effectiveness. The 41-year-old veteran reliever posted a 3.45 ERA over 47 innings, which was his highest ERA since his rookie year with the Orioles in 2009. Boston's acquisition of Craig Kimbrel as their closer and subsequent reassignment of Uehara to a setup role also resulted in a drastic decrease in saves, as Uehara failed to record at least 20 saves for the first time as a member of the Red Sox. Additionally, he missed all of August with a strained pectoral muscle. Now coming off a tough year that included durability issues, it appears clear that he is no longer the high-leverage closer-type pitcher that he once was. However, that didn't deter the Cubs from signing Uehara to a one-year deal over the offseason with the hope that he still has enough left in the tank to provide added depth to their bullpen.
Uehara was cruising along in his third consecutive season as Boston’s closer in 2015 before getting struck be a grounder on his forearm that resulted in a non-displaced distal radius fracture, ending his season prematurely. Until that point, Uehara had a 2.23 ERA and 25 saves in 43 appearances. The 41-year-old right-hander is expected to make a full recovery and be ready for the start of the regular season, but he’s no longer Boston’s closer. The Red Sox bullpen faltered last season and general manager Dave Dombrowski’s first rebuilding step was the acquisition of closer Craig Kimbrel from San Diego. That means Uehara drops down to a setup role, something he’s comfortable with and has accepted after manager John Farrell discussed it with him following the Kimbrel deal. Without the closer job, Uehara obviously loses fantasy value, but he’s maintained a high K/9 rate, which can be useful.
Uehara followed up his dominant 2013 season with the same effectiveness last year, throwing strikes and wiping out batters with his splitter until things fell apart over the final two months (5.74 ERA after Aug. 1). What the Red Sox feared in 2013 when they originally signed Uehara, who has a history of shoulder woes, was overusing him. In 2013, he didn't become the full-time closer until June, so overuse wasn't an issue. In 2014, he started the season as the closer and experienced fatigue with the increased role. Even with his late struggles, Uehara struck out more than 30 percent of the batters he faced for the fifth consecutive year. The organization is fully confident in Uehara and re-signed him for two seasons. It will be interesting to see just how much his workload is reduced, however, as Edward Mujica should be positioned to handle the extra save opportunities that arise on days when Uehara is deemed to be unavailable.
Uehara was Boston's regular-season MVP after stabilizing the closer job in June. He saved 21 games, was dominant against both righties and lefties and struck out a ridiculous 12.2 batters per nine innings. The plan in spring training was to avoid using him on back-to-back days because of a 2012 shoulder injury, which delayed the decision to give him a shot at closing, but he countered that by being an efficient strike-thrower and generally avoiding big pitch counts in his appearances. Uehara threw more innings last season than he has in any big league campaign, and it remains to be seen if that workload affects him at all in 2014, which is in part the reason Boston signed former Cardinals closer Edward Mujica. However, coming off his dominant 2013 campaign, Uehara will open this season as Boston's closer.
Uehara battled a litany of injuries to begin the year, but was Texas' best reliever down the stretch as Mike Adams faded. His control remains outstanding, posting 43 strikeouts against just three walks in 36 innings. He's been among the AL elite for the past two years now, save for a minor blip late in 2011 where he served up a few long balls. Surprisingly, he didn't get a multi-year deal in free agency, instead landing in Boston for $4.5 million on a one-year deal. Should Joel Hanrahan falter, Uehara may be a candidate to move into the closer's role.
Uehara pitched well for Texas after a deadline-deal with Baltimore, walking one and fanning 23 in 18 innings during the regular season (though five homers allowed in 18 innings bloated his ERA). He was touched for a homer in all three appearances in the postseason however, and it's led to some teams inquiring about his availability. Texas seems reluctant to move him, and he should return as the primary seventh-inning reliever bridging the gap to the Mike Adams/Joe Nathan duo. He continues to flash excellent control and miniscule WHIP figures, a trend that is expected to continue despite his postseason failures.
After spending most of the first half of the season on the DL with an elbow injury, Uehara came back to pitch in the bullpen and turned in a fantastic season in 2010. He converted 13 of 15 save chances, turning in a 55:5 K:BB in the process. As an extreme strike-thrower, Uehara tends to be a little gopher-ball prone, but on the flip side those homers tend to be solo shots. He signed a one-year deal to return to the O's in the offseason, but his chances of serving as the full-time closer took a significant hit with the addition of Kevin Gregg.
Uehara made 12 starts before his elbow wore down. He tried to rehab in time to pitch out of the bullpen in September, but things didn't work out. It seems Uehara wants to stick it out in the rotation in 2010 while the Orioles want to make him a reliever. Uehara was a closer for one season in Japan and was successful in the role. The Orioles are stockpiled with young starters so expect him to move to the bullpen, especially if any injuries arise. He would be a sleeper to close games.
Uehara had a John Smoltz-like career path in recent seasons (rotation to closer and back again), but finished last season strong as a starter. The 34-year-old is expected to take over as the O's No. 2 starter behind Jeremy Guthrie, although he profiles more as a back of the rotation option according to many scouts. His 2008 numbers were rather pedestrian, but keep in mind that he was dealing with both a leg injury and a contentious relationship with the Yomiuri Giants, his team in the Japan Central League.
Uehara had been one of Japan's best starters over the past several seasons (he was in Japan's rotation with Daisuke Matsuzaka at the 2006 WBC). However, when he went down with calf inflammation in training camp, Yomiuri moved him to the bullpen (supposedly on a temporary basis) to ease him back into action upon his return, and the team just kept him in the closer role, despite Uehara's wishes to move back into the rotation. Still, Uehara was a stunning success as a closer, saving 32 games in 36 chances and posting a 1.74 ERA and 0.820 WHIP in 55 games (47:4 K:BB ratio in 62 innings; yes, just four stinkin' walks all year). Uehara would like to leave Yomiuri and sign with an MLB team; he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2008, and almost certainly, he'll try to sign with an MLB team for the 2009 season. Yomiuri signed Marc Kroon this winter, so they'll move Uehara back to the rotation, and likely work him hard since everyone knows he's not coming back. Still, in keeper leagues, he's well worth the roster spot.
More Fantasy News
Plans to retire if not offered MLB contract
PFree Agent  F
January 21, 2018
Uehara stated that he will retire if he doesn't receive a major-league offer before the season begins, Kyodo News reports.
ANALYSIS
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Remains unavailable
PChicago Cubs  F
Knee
September 16, 2017
Uehara (knee/back) will not be available Saturday against the Cardinals, Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reports.
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Dealing with knee infection
PChicago Cubs  F
Knee
September 13, 2017
Uehara is dealing with a right knee infection, Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reports.
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Activated from DL
PChicago Cubs  F
August 20, 2017
Uehara (neck) was activated from the disabled list prior to Sunday's game against the Blue Jays, Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reports.
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Will throw another bullpen Friday
PChicago Cubs  F
Neck
August 18, 2017
Uehara (neck) is set to toss his second bullpen in the last three days prior to Chicago's game against the Blue Jays on Friday, MLB.com's Carrie Muskat reports.
ANALYSIS
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