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2/10/1975 (42 y, 12 d)
$15M / 1 Years (2013)
$16M / 1 Years (2014)
Kuroda plans to pitch in Hiroshima for the 2015 season, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports. (12/26/2014)
Looking for a Kenta Maeda Comp
Eno Sarris (FanGraphs)
Appreciating Hiroki Kuroda
August Fagerstrom (FanGraphs)
Contract Crowdsourcing 2014-15: Day 7 of 10
Carson Cistulli (FanGraphs)
Predicting The 2014-15 Qualifying Offers: Pitchers
Mike Petriello (FanGraphs)
Potential Starting Pitcher Walk Rate Regressers
Mike Podhorzer (RotoGraphs)
(Click Year to Expand /
Year in Review:
Kuroda had an unhealthy 2009. He missed most of April and May with a strained oblique, he suffered a concussion from a batted ball to the head, and he missed the second half of August. He also missed the NLCS with a stiff neck. As a result, he pitched just 117 innings. But those innings were very good, a he posted an ERA of 3.76. He also did a great job of limiting walks (just 1.84 BB/9) and getting ground balls (just under 50% per ball in play). His strikeout rate of 6.67 K/9 was just below average. This translated to an xFIP of 3.66, so his great ERA was in line with how he really pitched.
The Year Ahead:
With two seasons and 300 innings of 3.74 ERA (and 3.59 FIP) pitching, Kuroda has shown he can handle Major League hitters. The issue for 2010 is how many innings he will pitch, since over those two years he has spent 105 days on the disabled list during three different trips. A conservative projection for 2010 would be 125 innings with 85 strikeouts, a 3.80 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and around eight wins. He is not a big strikeout pitcher, although he will not kill you in that category. His ability to limit walks and home runs means he will provide big value in ERA and WHIP. If he can get close to 200 innings those solid ratios would translate to big value. On a good Dodgers team, he has a decent shot at racking up a good number of wins if he is healthy. (Dave Allen)
Even though he's no developing prospect at 35 years old, Kuroda has improved his strikeout rate (up to 7.29 K/9) every year he's been in the Major Leagues so far. He's done this while keeping his walk rate (2.06 BB/9 career) and ground-ball percentage (50.8% GB career) above average. Pairing those abilities has helped him curb the long-ball (.72 HR/9 career) and limit the damage (1.18 career WHIP) on his way to a sub-four career ERA. He's in a friendly home park, but his FIP over his career has been better than his ERA (3.46 FIP, 3.60 ERA), so it's not all about Dodger Stadium. Still, he's an older guy with a 92 mph fastball and there's little reason to predict an improvement. He knows what he is doing and has sneaky-good statistics, but is still more of a lower-risk, lower-upside mid- to late-round draft pick than an exciting mid- to late-round foundational pitcher with upside. And that's not just semantics. (Eno Sarris)
The Quick Opinion:
It won't be praised in your draft room, but picking Kuroda will show that you don't always chase upside and that you can appreciate an older dude that pitches in a good park, keeps the ball on the ground, and doesn't walk people. At least the downside shouldn't be too bad.
Besides a few injuries, Hiroki Kuroda has been a fairly consistent starter since signing with the Dodgers. He generally has seven strikeouts and two walks per nine innings. The biggest concern for him from 2011 was the higher home run rate (1.1 from 2011 vs. .8 in his career). The main cause was a drop in ground-ball rate from 51% to 43%. This eight percentage point drop can be attributed to using his sinker seven percentage points less often. With Kuroda signing with the Yankees, his fantasy value will probably take quite a hit. A tougher stadium (Yankee vs. Dodger stadiums), facing the DH in the American League and an unbalanced schedule (vs. AL East), will lead to dents in his ERA, WHIP and strikeouts. The key for his value will be if he can add enough wins to offset the increase in value of the other three stats. (Jeff Zimmerman)
The Quick Opinion:
This often under-rated pitcher may now be over-rated suddenly. Ending up in Yankee stadium and in the American League for the first time at 37 years old is not a recipe for great fantasy value.
Hiroki Kuroda's year-to-year consistency since entering MLB in 2008 borders on ridiculous. Over the last four years, his xFIP has sat squarely between 3.43 and 3.67. His K% and BB% have similarly featured remarkably little spread, deviating no more than a percentage point from his career averages in any given year. Kuroda will be 38 come Opening Day, but there is little reason to think he's ready to fall off a cliff. His fastball velocity has declined the last few years, but only by a few tenths of a mph. Some of this velocity "loss" might not even be old age at all, but rather, as
Chris Cwik noted
, Kuroda moving away from his four-seam fastball in the Bronx to help induce more ground balls and lessen the potential impact of Yankee Stadium's short left porch. Kuroda offers little elite upside, but given his year-to-year rates and the fact that he plays for the run-happy Bombers, he has one of the highest floors of any guy who won't be drafted as a fantasy ace. (
The Quick Opinion:
After saying "he needed a break" which was followed by a little bit of flirting during fall vacation, Kuroda decided the grass isn't always greener and re-upped with the Yankees. While Kuroda is another year older, he's as steady a pitcher as you'll find the last few years -- consider him a solid starter; one without an elite ceiling, but one who has a high floor, too.
The 38-year-old Japanese import has been one of the most consistent pitchers in baseball, having posted an ERA between 3.30 and 3.40 for the third time over the last four years. Kuroda has thus far defied the effects of aging as he has largely maintained his skills, resulting in SIERA marks falling within a narrow range between 3.53 and 3.79 since 2009. In fact, there are few, if any, warning signs suggesting a performance decline is imminent. The only real concern is whether Kuroda can continue to keep his batting average on balls in play below the league average, which is something that he has done every season of his career. His age is definitely something to consider during draft day, but it also could create an opportunity to purchase an undervalued asset. (
The Quick Opinion:
Kuroda has spit in the face of the effects of aging, maintaining a solid skill set with excellent control, lots of ground balls and the ability to get the punch-out when needed. While it would be silly to ignore the fact that he'll be heading into his age-39 season, it's not obvious that a collapse is coming.
How do you say “consistency” in Japanese? Well, for the purposes of this blurb, Hiroki Kuroda will do; since coming over to the U.S. in 2008, the right-hander averaged 188 innings and 30 starts, and he was fantastic in his three seasons as a Yankee, averaging 3.7 wins above replacement. Kuroda in 2014 was the same as usual; a modest-but-not-awful 17.8% strikeout rate, a microscopic 1.6 walks per nine innings and a 1.14 WHIP, tied for the best of his career. True, his 3.71 ERA was his highest in five seasons, but that can probably be chalked up to some poor luck stranding runners. Unfortunately, Kuroda’s fine season wasn’t rewarded in the wins department, as he finished with only 11 victories, thanks in no small measure to a bullpen that blew six Ws for him. Heading
back to Japan
, Kuroda, for all intents and purposes, has now retired, ending a seven-year MLB career that probably wasn’t fully appreciated. (
Karl de Vries
The Quick Opinion:
Though he probably wasn't fully appreciated while he was stateside, Kuroda is here no longer. Arigato for the consistent work here and gambarre with your team in Japan, Kuroda-san.
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Updated: Wednesday, February 22, 2017 3:35 AM ET
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