When signing a player from the NPB, teams are never quite sure whether their success in Japan will translate into success in the major leagues. After having varying levels of success with signing players from the NPB, the Mets decided to take a chance on Kodai Senga, signing the 30-year-old to a five-year $75 million contract.
Senga’s first season in Queens has been a rollercoaster, but as of late, it appears the Japanese native is turning his season around.
Early season struggles for the Mets signing
After two successful starts against the Marlins that had Senga pitching to a 1.59 ERA through 11.1 innings, the 30-year-old experienced some major league hiccups that mainly could be attributed to getting adjusted to a major league pitching schedule.
Senga gave up multiple runs in five of his next eight starts culminating in his worst start of the season against the Toronto Blue Jays when he went just two and two-thirds innings, giving up four runs, four hits, and walking five. He also had a career low in strikeouts (three) and pitches (68).
The start against the Blue Jays was Senga’s first on regular rest, and since that start the 30-year-old has seemed to adjust and the improvements followed.
In his final five starts of the first half, Senga pitched 32 innings allowing more than two runs in a start only once while striking out 40.
His improvements culminated in a masterful eight innings against the Diamondbacks that saw Senga fan 12 while allowing only one run on four hits.
An overall impressive first half
In the first half, Senga has pitched 89.2 innings to a 3.31 ERA with a 1.28 WHIP and 113 strikeouts.
A deeper dive into Senga’s number shows how dominant the 30-year-old has truly been. Senga ranks 1st with an opposing average of .204. He also ranks second in hits per nine innings, third in strikeouts per nine, eighth in strikeouts, and 10th in ERA.
In addition, his signature pitch, the ghost forkball, has proved to translate fantastically, as it has an insane 59.6 percent whiff rate.
The cherry on top of Senga’s impressive first half is that the 30-year-old will be heading to Seattle as an all-star game replacement for Marcus Stroman. He will be joining Pete Alonso as the Mets’ two representatives.
This impressive first half from Senga should have the blue and orange faithful confident that they have a formidable starter for years to come.