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Who is Kodai Senga? Background on Mets’ latest signing

Meet the Mets’ new starting pitcher.

Pitcher Kodai Senga #21 of Team Japan is seen after the sixth inning against Team United States during the gold medal game between Team United States and Team Japan on day fifteen of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Yokohama Baseball Stadium on August 07, 2021 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. Photo by Koji Watanabe/Getty Images

Japanese starting pitcher Kodai Senga has signed with the New York Mets. Senga opted out of his last contract with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks in Nippon Professional Baseball, which helped him to avoid the posting process. He was able to freely meet with interested teams, and the Mets avoids having to pay the extra posting fee.

Senga projects to be a starting pitcher when he joins the MLB. He joined the developmental league in the NPG in 2010 and pitched his first big league game in 2012. Over 11 seasons, Senga tallied an 87-44 record with a 2.59 ERA with 1,252 strikeouts. He is a three-time All-Star, two-time Gold Glove winner and was on the gold medal winning Japanese baseball team at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Senga also was the recipient of the Japanese Triple Crown for pitching in 2020. He led the NPB in wins, ERA and strikeouts that season.

Senga is 6 ft. 2 and is a right-handed pitcher. He comes with a three-quarters delivery and sits around 95-96 mph with his fastball, but has been clocked at 100 mph. Senga also has a forkball, cutter and slider in his arsenal. His forkball is notorious in Japan and is nicknamed the “ghost fork.” With Senga, his arrival to the major leagues in the U.S. has been considered a “when” and not an “if.”