Kikuchi, Yusei 菊池 雄星 (きくち・ゆうせい)
Seibu Lions | #16 | P
Born: 06/16/1991 (age 28)
Height: 184cm
Weight: 100kg
Bats: L
Throws: L
Blood Type: O
Hometown: Iwate
Draft: 2009, 1st Round
History: 花巻東高(甲)
Roster Changes: removed 06/22/2016, added 08/04/2016

[12/3/2018] Seibu Lions post Yusei Kikuchi

The Seibu Lions announced that they filed papers to post twenty-seven-year-old Yusei Kikuchi.

Source: Seibu 12/3/2018, Tokyo Sports 12/3/2018, Daily Sports 12/3/2018, Sponichi 12/3/2018, Nikkan Sports 12/3/2018

[UPDATE 1/9 @ 2:16pm]

The Seattle Marines signed Kikuchi to a four-year contract that can end after three years, or extend to seven years. The contract has a thirteen million dollar player option for 2022 that can be replaced by a four-year, sixty-six million dollar extension. Kikuchi can become a free agent if he declines the 2022 option and the Mariners do not pick up the four-year extension. Kikuchi can earn forty-three million dollars over the first three years and as much as 109 million dollars if the contract goes to seven years.

According to Japanese reports, the Seibu Lions are expected to get 10,275,000 US dollars for posting Kikuchi.

Source: MLB 1/3/2019, Sanspo 1/9/2018, Sponichi 1/9/2018


Yusei Kikuchi 2018 Off-season Updates

Date Updates
01/03/2019 8:14pm – Kikuchi signed a four-year deal with the Seattle Mariners. Reported terms: four-years at forth-three million US dollars over the first three years and a thirteen million US dollar player option for 2022 that can potentially be replaced by the club with a four-year extension worth sixty-six million US dollars. Kikuchi can become a free agent after 2021 or stay with the Mariners for as long as seven years at a total of 109 million US dollars. MLB 1/2/2019
12/16/2018 11:56pm – Kikuchi left for the United States today. He is open to playing for any of the thirty teams in the MLB. Teams have until January 3 at 7am (JST). Daily Sports 12/16/2018
12/03/2018 2:44pm – Seibu Lions post Yusei Kikuchi
11/30/2018 2:25pm – Kikuchi will head to Iwate for about a week in early December for various off-season events. He will then return to Tokyo and pack for a trip to the United States and will most likely stay there into the new year. Sanspo 11/30/2018, Sports Hochi 11/30/2018
11/24/2018 3:10am – The Lions announced that they are going to post Kikuchi on December 3. Nikkan Sports 11/23/2018, Daily Sports 11/23/2018
11/19/2018 4:04pm – Kikuchi returned to Japan today. Nikkan Sports 11/19/2018
11/13/2018 12:34pm – The Seibu Lions could post Kikuchi some time before the end of the month (possibly around the 20th). The deadline is December 5. Kikuchi is planning to attend Fan Appreciation Day on November 23, as well as other team functions. Daily Sports 11/13/2018, Sponichi 11/13/2018
11/11/2018 5:30pm – Kikuchi left for the US on November 10. He will most likely be in the US for about ten days (meetings with Scott Boras, training, medical exam, etc). Daily Sports 11/11/2018, Sports Hochi 11/11/2018, Nikkan Sports 11/11/2018, Sponichi 11/11/2018, Sanspo 11/11/2018
11/10/2018 5:40am – Kikuchi is expected to fly to the United States for a medical exam sometime soon. He could ultimately end up negotiating with five to six teams in December. Nikkan Sports 11/9/2018
11/06/2018 11:54pm – Kikuchi apparently select Scott Boras to represent him. Nikkan Sports 11/6/2018, Sponichi 11/6/2018, Sanspo 11/6/2018 … 3:39am – Kikuchi met team officials on November 5. They talked about his dream of pitching in the Majors. The Lions are going to post Kikuchi. Nikkan Sports 11/5/2018, Sponichi 11/5/2018, Sponichi 11/5/2018, Daily Sports 11/5/2018
11/02/2018 3:52pm – Tokyo Sports notes that it’s possible the Lions could hold a press conference as early as November 5 to announce a decision. Tokyo Sports 11/2/2018
10/31/2018 2:58pm – Senior Director Hisanobu Watanabe told reporters on October 30 that he knew about Kikuchi’s desire to play in the Majors and that he hoped to meet him some time within the next week. Sponichi 10/31/2018, Daily Sports 10/31/2018, Nikkan Sports 10/31/2018
10/30/2018 8:58pm – Kikuchi spoke to reporters on October 29 and said that it had been his dream to play in the Majors since he was in high school. He also told reporters he looked forward to speaking to the Lions. According to Sponichi, Scott Boras might be the top candidate to represent Kikuchi. Sanspo 10/30/2018, Sports Hochi 10/30/2018, Sponichi 10/30/2018

[10/10/2018] Yusei Kikuchi tosses three shutout innings against Samsung

Yusei Kikuchi started a Phoenix League game against Samsung on October 9 and tossed three shutout innings. He faced nine batters, threw thirty-one pitches, struck out seven, and topped out at 155km/h. Kikuchi is expected to start the first game of the Final Stage of the Climax Series.

Source: Sponichi 10/10/2018, Sanspo 10/10/2018, Sports Hochi 10/10/2018, Sponichi 10/10/2018


[10/1/2018] Seibu Lions planning to post Yusei Kikuchi

The Seibu Lions are planning to post Yusei Kikuchi after the season. Sources close to the situation have indicated that the Lions have already agreed to allow Kikuchi to pursue his dreams of playing in the Majors. Kikuchi could formally select an agent after the regular season. Agent possibilities are said to include Scott Boras, Arn Tellem, and the Wasserman Media Group.

Scouts from teams that have appeared at Kikuchi’s games include the Phillies, Padres, Dodgers, Royals, Red Sox, Yankees, Diamondbacks, Giants, Brewers, Rangers, Rays, and Indians. Nikkan Gendai believes the Padres and Dodgers are the current front runners.

Incidentally, with regards to the media reports about Kikuchi and the Majors this season, Kikuchi told Daily Sports:

This season, I found it difficult when conversations were about the number of MLB scouts that came. I didn’t want any articles about me wanting to go to the MLB to come out. I didn’t want people to misunderstand and think that I was doing all this to appeal [to the scouts]. I just wanted to win a pennant. And when things don’t go well, people start thinking, “Yusei, are you focusing on the Majors?” It was difficult because I didn’t want my teammates to think that way.

I have wanted to go to the Majors for a long time. But it wasn’t a reality, it was just something to see on TV. After I won nine games in my sixth year, I went to Dodgers Stadium for the first time. I saw [Clayton] Kershaw pitch and at that moment I thought, I will regret it if I die without ever pitching [in the Majors]. This was the moment things changed from “I want to go” to “I will go.” I decided I had to tell the team, so I brought it up during contract negotiations that year.

Source: Sanspo 10/1/2018, Sports Hochi 10/1/2018, Sponichi 10/1/2018, Nikkan Gendai 10/1/2018, Daily Sports 10/1/2018


[8/17/2018] Seibu Lions likely open to posting Yusei Kikuchi after 2018 season

According to a report by Nikkan Sports, the Seibu Lions are leaning towards agreeing to post twenty-seven-year-old Yusei Kikuchi after the 2018 season. The Lions have dropped statements over the last couple of years indicating they would be open to posting the ace based on his performance. Team official Haruhiko Suzuki told reporters on August 16 that they have made no promises, have not spoken directly to Kikuchi, and will not discuss individual issues until after the season.

Kikuchi has posted decent numbers (9-2, 101 K, 33 BB, 112.2 IP, 3.20 ERA) despite struggling with left shoulder issues earlier in the year. The Lions have also played well and are currently in first place in the Pacific League (the second place Fighters are 5.5 games back).

Source: Sanspo 8/16/2018, Sanspo 8/17/2018, Nikkan Sports 8/17/2018, Nikkan Sports 8/17/2018

[UPDATE 8/18 @ 11:57am]

Eighteen scouts from twelve NPB teams, including the Brewers, were at Kikuchi’s start against Nippon Ham on August 17.

Source: Sports Hochi 8/18/2018, Daily Sports 8/18/2018, Sponichi 8/18/2018, Nikkan Sports 8/18/2018


[5/6/2018] Yusei Kikuchi taken off active roster with tight shoulder

Yusei Kikuchi was taken off the active roster on May 6 because of tightness in his left shoulder. The condition is not new (may have originated with neck pain from sleeping wrong back in March 14) and is also not considered serious (no pain, just tightness). He will be examined at a hospital as a precaution.

Kikuchi threw 104 pitches and allowed five runs over six innings during his last start on May 4. The Seibu Lions decided to take Kikuchi off the active roster after confirming the condition of his shoulder the following day on May 5.

Source: Sponichi 5/6/2018, Nikkan Sports 5/6/2018, Sanspo 5/6/2018, Sports Hochi 5/6/2018, Daily Sports 5/6/2018

[UPDATE 5/10 @ 3:59am]

Kikuchi was examined at a hospital in Tokyo on May 8 and diagnosed with decreased functionality in his shoulder. He will spend some time strengthening his shoulder and ultimately hopes to make it back to Ichi-gun in two to three weeks.

Source: Nikkan Sports 5/9/2018, Sports Hochi 5/9/2018, Sanspo 5/9/2018

[UPDATE 5/26 @ 7:38am]

Kikuchi pitched in a Ni-gun game against Yakult on May 25. He allowed three runs (none earned) on four hits over two innings of work. He threw forty-seven pitches, struck out four, and topped out at 154km/h.

Source: Nikkan Sports 5/25/2018, Sports Hochi 5/26/2018


[3/14/2018] Yusei Kikuchi leaves start because of tight neck

Yusei Kikuchi started an exhibition game against the Chunichi Dragons on March 14. He was slated to throw around 100 pitches but left after one inning and twenty-one pitches. The media later learned that the Seibu Lions pulled Kikuchi from the game as a precaution because of a tight neck (he slept on it wrong). Assuming no issues, his next game could come on March 23 against Yokohama.

Source: Nikkan Sports 3/14/2018, Sponichi 3/14/2018


[11/28/2017] Tatsushi Masuda to take over as Lions new chief player rep

Tatsushi Masuda is set to take over as the Seibu Lions new chief player representative. An official announcement will be made during a player meeting.

Source: Sanspo 11/28/2017

[UPDATE 11/30 @ 4:14am]

The Lions released their complete list of player representative officials on November 29.

Source: Seibu 11/29/2017


[10/17/2017] Nihon Seimei MVP of the Month Awards for September/October

Central League


Tomoyuki Sugano, Yomiuri (Fifth Time)
5 G, 4-0, 38.0 IP, 0.47 ERA, 26 SO, 2 ER, 2 CG, 1 ShO

Sugano notched his third MVP of the Month this season. He led the league in wins (tied with Joe Wieland) and ERA in September/October. He recorded two complete games, including a shutout, in five starts. He allowed earned runs in only one start. The five MVP of the Month awards ties the Yomiuri record for pitchers set by Masaki Saito. The three MVP of the Month awards in one season ties the league record for pitchers set by Masahiro Yamamoto in 1993.


Ryuhei Matsuyama, Hiroshima (First Time)
20 G, .408 AVG, 29 H, 5 HR, 23 RBI

Matsuyama batted clean-up in twenty September/October games. He led the league in hits and posted a .480 batting average with runners in scoring position. He helped the team put together a 16-5 record in September/October.

Pacific League


Yusei Kikuchi, Seibu (FirstTime)
4 G, 3-0, 31.0 IP, 0.29 ERA, 1 ShO, 37 SO, 1 ER

Kikuchi pitched in four games in September/October and went 3-0 with a shutout. He led the league with a 0.29 ERA. He tossed a four-hit shutout with ten strikeouts against Lotte on September 7, allowed a run (unearned) on four hits and struck out eleven over eight innings against Rakuten on September 14, pitched sixth shutout innings against Lotte on September 21, and gave up three runs (one earned) over eight innings against Rakuten on October 3.


Hotaka Yamakawa, Seibu (Second Time)
25 G, .326 AVG, 30 H, 10 HR, 19 RBI

Yamakawa played in twenty-five games in September/October and led the league in home runs, runs (19), total bases (68), and slugging percentage (.739). He recorded multiple hits in ten games and two or more RBI in six games. He is the fourth player in league history to win MVP of the Month awards for two consecutive months. The other three: Doug Jennings (July and August 1995), Ichiro (June and July 1998), and Yuki Yanagita (August and September 2015).

Source: NPB 10/17/2017


[9/23/2017] Yusei Kikuchi left 9/21 start early because he was not feeling well

Yusei Kikuchi left his start on September 21 against Lotte at MetLife Dome after six innings and eighty-three pitches because he was not feeling well and had a mild fever. He told reporters he developed the fever a few days before his start. He said his fever ended up affecting the team and blamed himself for not taking better care of his own health.

Source: Nikkan Sports 9/22/2017, Sponichi 9/22/2017