The regular season isn’t complete, and the postseason looms, but the Milwaukee Brewers are looking ahead as successful teams must. They are among the teams that went to see Japanese pitcher Yusei Kikuchi of the Seibu Lions, as per this tweet from Jim Allen:
Scouts from Yankees, SF Giants, Red Sox, Dodgers, Phillies, Brewers and Rangers were in hand to watch #SeibuLions lefty Yusei Kikuchi—who is expected to be posted this winter.— Jim Allen (@JballAllen) September 28, 2018
Kikuchi is a left handed starter for the Lions and has broken out in his last two seasons. He’s 27, and comes in at 6’ and 194 lbs. He’s in his eighth season for Seibu, working in 162 games (157 starts) over that time.
In 1028.1 innings, Kikuci has a 1.176 WHIP and a 2.82 ERA. 2017 was his best season with a 1.97 ERA over 187.2 innings, with a 1.97 ERA and 0.911 WHIP.
Jason Coskrey of the Japan Times reports that scouts see Yusei as a solid starter with a good fastball and good command, but not quite at the level of compatriots Shohei Ohtani and Yu Darvish. But the success of those two, and other such as Yoshihisa Hirano, make it likely that if he is posted as excpected this offseason, he will be in the American major leagues next season.
The Brewers continue to look at all options to improve their team and, specifically, their pitching staff. Potential returning pitchers that will compete for a rotation spot in 2019 from this season’s roster include Jhoulys Chacin, Chase Anderson, Zach Davies, Corbin Burnes, Freddy Peralta, Brandon Woodruff, and Junior Guerra. Minor leaguer pitcher of the year Zack Brown could get a look, but seems destined for another season of seasoning, probably at San Antonio (not the Springs!).
Free-agents-to-be Wade Miley and Gio Gonzalez could also get offers from the Crew, but will likely seek greater riches on the open market. While lefty Brent Suter will probably not be available in 2019 after Tommy John surgery, 2017 ace Jimmy Nelson should be back. That’s a big stable of pitchers for the rotation. The posting fee, expected contract demands of Kikuchi, and what figures to be plenty of interest in the Lions’ lefty, all will factor into the decision by Brewers’ GM David Stearns as to how much they are willing to spend.
You can never stop planning for the future, can you?