Kodai Senga breaks out ghost pitch in Mets spring debut
Jupiter, Fla. – This spring has been full of adjustments for Kodai Senga, who has never pitched with a pitch clock or inside a five-man rotation in the major leagues.
In his spring and stateside debut, the Mets’ right-hander showed he’s still adjusting — but demonstrated that opposing hitters will have to make some adjustments to him as well.
After a wild start, Senga used his ghost forkball to record a strikeout, hit 98.6 mph with his fastball and pitch two innings in which he drove in a run in a successful Grapefruit League debut for the Japanese star. allowed
The only hit Senga surrendered against the Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium on Sunday was a second-inning home run to Tres Barrera, who hit a hanging curveball. Senga exited after 42 pitches in which he displayed interesting raw stuff — four of his five pitches induced a swing-and-a-miss and his fastball averaged 97 mph — but with his spot also struggled
Senga walked the first two batters he faced against a Cardinals lineup loaded with regulars. Only five of his first 16 pitches were strikes. But with runners on first and second, Senga induced a popup from Paul Goldschmidt and a flyout from Nolan Arenado before the Demon was tamed.
Jordan Walker became the first victim of a pitch known as the ghost forkball (but, unfortunately, registers on MLB’s Statcast as a changeup). With two strikes, Senga reverted to his signature pitch, which starts high and fades out. Walker swung at the top of the 83-mph offering. Senga did not use the pitch again.
Senga, a 30-year-old whom the Mets signed this offseason to a five-year, $75 million deal, may be the most intriguing player in camp. The righty became a superstar in Japan, where he pitched in 22 games last season in the Japan Pacific League and had a 1.94 ERA.
Starting pitchers in Japan once a week (with a high pitch count), so MLB life will know something.