Why Kodai Senga is such an important piece for the Mets

Mar 22, 2023; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Kodai Senga (34) throws a
Mar 22, 2023; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Kodai Senga (34) throws a / Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Kodai Senga is a very important piece to the 2023 New York Mets. How well he pitches will go a long way in determining whether or not the Mets meet expectations this year. His impact will not just be felt this year but for years to come as well.

The Mets need Senga to be good in the short and long term

Most Mets fans have not seen Kodai Senga pitch. He is a complete unknown besides what we have read about him. His stats in Japan were impressive, with a 2.42 ERA over 11 seasons. It is hard to predict how stats from Japan would correlate to MLB but a 2.42 ERA is a good starting point.

Senga is going to be relied upon as the #3 starter for the Mets in 2023, replacing Chris Bassitt. Senga has more upside than Bassitt, he throws harder and strikes out more batters. This should make him a more effective postseason pitcher.

It will take Senga some time to adjust to MLB. He has many adjustments he needs to make. Playing in a new country, speaking a new language, throwing a bigger ball in MLB than Japan, and pitching every 5 days instead of every 6. He also has to deal with the pitch clock for the first time in his life. I do not expect him to be dominant out of the gates. The potential is there though, and from what I read Senga is very thorough in his preparation, which gives me confidence he will work out well for the Mets. 

Not only are the Mets counting on Senga to be a big factor in 2023, but they also need him to be a big part of their rotation in future seasons. Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander are aces right now but are up there in age and will not be Mets long-term. The Mets do not have any young SP prospects in the minors coming any time soon. Senga is the Mets' best chance at having a future ace in the organization right now. 

One other factor that is not talked about a lot but I have fantasized about is how Senga could potentially help the Mets recruit Shohei Ohtani. Ohtani is the best player in baseball and is the modern-day Babe Ruth. There is no one close to him in baseball as someone who is a legit ace and a 40-home-run hitter at the same time. It is no secret Steve Cohen wants Shohei Ohtani and is going to do everything in his power to land him. It doesn’t hurt to have another Japanese player on the ball club to try to get him aboard. 

These are several of the many reasons why Kodai Senga is such an important piece for the Mets. They need him in 2023 and the future. If he can pitch to his potential it makes the 2023 Mets and future rotations that much more dangerous.

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