It is a shocking life reversal. Eventually, he emerged as the ace of the Toronto Blue Jays.
Yusei Kikuchi (32) started the 2023 major league away game against the Pittsburgh Pirates held at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA on the 8th (hereinafter Korean time), won 5 wins of the season with 4 hits, 3 strikeouts and no runs in 6⅓ innings. He lowered his earned run average to 3.35.
Kikuchi signed a three-year,토토사이트 $36 million contract with Toronto in the 2021-2022 free agent market. The 2022 season was so disappointing. In 32 games, he went 6-7 with 1 save and a 5.19 earned run average. He even suffered the humiliation of being dropped from the starting lineup mid-season.
Kikuchi’s three years with the Seattle Mariners from 2019-2021 have not been so overwhelming. Toronto considered him and recruited him as a fifth starter, but looking at him calmly, he did not expect much this season. However, he went 2-1 in 7 exhibition games and had an average ERA of 0.87, making a complete recovery. Even in the regular season, he proved that the ‘hot March’ was no coincidence.
He properly sees the effect of adjusting his throwing mechanics, such as correcting his arm swing. In 5 games in April, he threw well with 4 wins and an average ERA of 3.00. He seemed to fall into a swamp of sluggishness as he collapsed with 9 hits (2 homers), 2 strikeouts, 1 walk and 5 runs in 4⅓ innings against the Boston Red Sox on the 3rd, his first appearance in May. It wasn’t. On this day, he immediately showed the appearance of April and proved that he had really changed.
According to Baseball Savant, the percentage of Kikuchi’s pitches hitting the batter’s sweet spot this season has fallen from 38% last year to 35.1% this year. The hard hit rate also slightly decreased from 47.9% last year to 46.8% this year. His fastball batting average slightly increased from last year, but his slider, changeup, and curveball batting average fell slightly from last year. Crucially, the strikeout rate dropped from 27.3% last year to 21.6% this year, but the walk rate dropped significantly from 12.8% last year to 5.2% this year. Extreme ups and downs have almost disappeared this year. It is a balanced effect by adjusting the pitching mechanic.
A real Toronto ace. Alec Manoa, who emerged as an ace after finishing third in Cy Young last year, is suffering from extreme sluggishness with an average ERA of 4.71 with 1 win and 2 losses in 7 games. Jose Berrios (7 games, 3 wins, 3 losses, 4.91 ERA) and Chris Bassett (7 games, 4 wins, 2 losses, 4.28 ERA) are also far from overwhelming. Kevin Gaussman is the least bit good, but with an average ERA of 3.86 with 2 wins and 3 losses in 7 games, his luck does not follow.
In fact, Kikuchi is not an overwhelming performance compared to the league’s top-notch aces. However, it should be seen that most of Toronto’s starting pitchers are struggling this season, and they are playing the role of actual aces. He has changed 180 degrees from last year’s nerd. As for Toronto, you’d wonder what he would have been like without Kikuchi.