2024 Mets player outlook: Kodai Senga expectations and predictions

What can Kodai Senga do as an encore to his brilliant rookie season?

Kodai Senga (34) went 12-7 with a 2.98 ERA and struck over over 200 batters in 2023.
Kodai Senga (34) went 12-7 with a 2.98 ERA and struck over over 200 batters in 2023. / Sarah Stier/GettyImages

One of the things the New York Mets need this season to be successful is have their ace pitch like the ace we saw last sason. Kodai Senga is coming off one of the greatest rookie seasons a Met has ever had, going 12-7 with a 2.98 ERA, with 202 strikeouts in 166.1 innings pitched. He finished second in the National League Rookie of the Year balloting behind Arizona's Corbin Carroll, and seventh in the Cy Young balloting.

What does Kodai need to have going for him to be successful in 2024? Look at the ghost fork to return for an encore?

New York Mets pitcher Kodai Senga will showcase his tremendous talents again in 2024.

Kodai's ghost fork was practically unhittable, generating a 59.5 percent whiff rate, 110 strikeouts, and only 1 home run in 664 ghost forks thrown to the opposition (which didn't come until the final homestand in September). In order for the ghost fork to remain successful, it will have to keep its deceptive motion such that hitters chase it.

Perhaps he throws something else in his complex gauntlet of pitches? That could help make the ghost fork timing more unpredictable.

Senga talked to the press earlier in the week and said that he wants to be better on the road than last season, citing how travelling impacts the body. He had a 3.68 ERA in 13 starts away from Citi Field while pitching to a 2.42 ERA in 16 starts in Quens. Eight of his nine worst starts on the Bill James game score scale occurred on the road as well.

His innings may be a question mark at times throughout the season, given the transition from Japan, where he threw once a week, to once every five days. It was in the Mets' best interest to limit his innings because you can't risk overtaxing him. The team trying to be fluid with his innings this year is a reason the Mets are likely going to go to a six man rotation at times.

But what about as a leader and an ace this season? He got pressure off of him because Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander shared a rotation with him during his first four months. But the same Senga that was excellent during that time was even better as the ace down the stretch. He is embraced by all his teammates, and is everything you want from a teammate. With that, 2024 should be another excellent campaign from the ghost fork master.

2024 stat predictions: 13-9, 3.25 ERA, 170 IP, 190 K, 30 starts