Milwaukee Brewers GM has a knack for finding talent and making moves that few people expect him to make. Could he make an overseas signing this winter?
Last winter, Japanese baseball star Shohei Ohtani was posted for MLB teams to try to sign. Virtually every team, including the Milwaukee Brewers, made a free agent pitch to get Ohtani to their organization. Ohtani eventually chose the Los Angeles Angels.
This upcoming winter, there’s another Japanese star player that’s going to be posted and the Brewers are trying to position themselves for a run at him.
Yusei Kikuchi is the top name from NPB that is expected to be posted this winter, and the Brewers are among the teams to have their eye on him.
Who Is Yusei Kikuchi?
Kikuchi is a 27 year old left handed starting pitcher who has put up some ridiculous stats over the past few years.
In 2017, Kikuchi pitched to a 1.97 ERA in 26 starts covering 187.2 innings while striking out 10.4 hitters per nine innings. This season, he’s posted a 3.16 ERA in 22 starts.
Over his career in Japan, Kikuchi has a 2.82 ERA in 157 starts with 15 complete games.
He has a strong repertoire of pitches, throwing a fastball, slider, curveball, and changeup, and he can fill the zone with all of them. He throws a hard fastball that’s been clocked at 98 MPH and has a deceptive delivery that keeps hitters off balance. His hard slider is just devastating to opposing hitters.
A lefty with a deceptive delivery that has a hard fastball and a wicked slider? Sounds a lot like Josh Hader. Except Kikuchi has a four pitch arsenal that allows him to be used as a starter. That’s definitely going to catch the eyes of the Milwaukee Brewers, especially since Hader likely won’t get put into the rotation.
Can They Sign Him?
If he’s posted, and he likely will be, then they can put in a bid and try to court Kikuchi to bring him into Milwaukee. Since he’s 27, he won’t be subject to the same contract restrictions on Ohtani and the Brewers would have to work out a salary that both sides will be happy with.
The Brewers obviously have a lot of good things going for them right now. That could play into their favor to try to convince Kikuchi that Milwaukee is the place he will want to play.