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What to know about NPB starting pitcher Kodai Senga, who’s expected to sign with MLB team this offseason

What to know about NPB starting pitcher Kodai Senga, who's expected to sign with MLB team this offseason

Major League Baseball’s offseason is well underway, and the hot stove should continue to heat up as the start of the Winter Meetings (Sunday, Dec. 4) approaches. CBS Sports has already sliced and diced the offseason markets by ranking this year’s top 50 free agents as well as highlighting the top 20 potential trade candidates.

In our estimation, one of the most intriguing free-agent pitchers available is right-hander Kodai Senga, who ranked No. 23 on our top-50 list. Senga is expected to cross the Pacific Ocean after spending the first 11 seasons of his career with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball league.

You might be wondering what makes Senga so enticing, and where might he land? For answers to those questions and more, continue to scroll down the page at a leisurely pace as we break down Senga, his game, and his potential suitors.

1. How has Senga fared in Japan?

Very well, as you’d expect from someone making the move to the United States. 

In 275 career appearances to date, Senga has amassed a 2.42 ERA and a 2.92 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He’s a three-time All-Star and a five-time champion. He also won a gold medal as part of Japan’s roster in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, which were, of course, held in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Senga is coming off a particularly strong showing in 2022, during which he started 23 times and posted a 1.89 ERA and a 3.18 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His 148 innings pitched represented his largest workload since the 2019 campaign. 

2. What kind of pitches does Senga throw?

Senga has a broad arsenal, but the evaluators who have spoken to CBS Sports have often highlighted three of his pitches in…

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