There has been a lot of discussions around Yusei Kikuchi‘s 2020 adjustments and improvements, but can he continue improving into 2021? Does the Mariners starting pitcher provide some value in fantasy baseball? Here is some Yusei Kikuchi fantasy baseball advice.
Yusei Kikuchi fantasy baseball advice. Where does he rank?
In Fantasy Pros, the Japanese left-hander is the 302nd ranked fantasy player. He is among a group of low-risk high-reward players. For example, Jon Berti (29yth), Rowdy Tellez (299th), and Nate Lowe (313th) are in the same area.
Among starting pitchers, Yusei Kikuchi is the 89th ranked player. Some notable players in his area include Taijuan Walker (85th), Mike Minor (88th), and Michael Kopech (94th).
As you can tell, Kikuchi is not surrounded by superstars in the rankings and is a late-late round option. Sort of the like the type of player that would complete your fantasy rotation.
Will I be drafting Yusei Kikuchi this year?
I am undecided at this moment (probably not very helpful to you). But in terms of Kikuchi, it really depends on how the fantasy draft goes. If he is available at the end of the draft, sure I’ll take him. But if Justus Sheffield or Nate Pearson is still available, I might choose him over Yusei.
For me, Spring Training will ultimately decide whether I draft Kikuchi or not. So far, he has been good. He has thrown 8.1 innings and posted a 3.24ERA. He has only allowed five hits, struck out nine (leads team), but has walked four.
Kikuchi did lose about 10lbs this offseason which tells you a little about his work ethic and willingness to improve. If the southpaw can continue his strong Spring, I might be more inclined to draft him.
When should you draft Yusei Kikuchi?
As I stated earlier, it really depends on how the draft goes especially for late-round picks. Yusei Kikuchi is not an elite MLB pitcher so you shouldn’t even have him in the back of your mind until the last 5-10 rounds, potentially even further.
If you are in a league full of Mariners fans, Kikuchi might go earlier in the draft. But if you are not in a league with Mariners fans, Kikuchi could be your last pick of the draft.
Even though his draft value is low, it doesn’t mean Yusei Kikuchi cannot make a meaningful impact on your team. I actually think he would be a very valuable fantasy baseball asset based on his fantasy value.
Kikuchi has tremendous potential and his value is low. Sounds like a very volatile stock, right? If you believe in the company, buy the stock when it’s low. So, the decision is in your hands on whether you believe in Yusei Kikuchi or not this season.
Even if you draft him and he doesn’t pan out as you expected, you can always pick up a replacement on waivers. There are always good pitchers left in free agency due to the depth, and random breakouts that no one expects. For example, Justin Dunn might still be available on the market.
But on the other hand, I could also picture Kikuchi posting a 3.20 ERA with seven to nine strikeouts a game. For now, pay close attention to how he pitches the rest of the month. He’s got the potential.