‘Ghost Pokeball’ is not a panacea… 100.1 billion won Japanese right-hander, 1 inning 37 pitches ‘ERA 4.14’
Isn’t the ghost pork ball a panacea?
Kodai Senga (30, New York Mets)’s main weapon is a forkball. His drop is so great that it feels as if the ball suddenly disappears from the batter’s line of sight. Hence the nickname ‘Ghost Pokeball’. He signed a 5-year, $75 million (approximately 100.1 billion won) contract in the 2022-2023 free agent market and entered the major leagues through the Mets. He, too, is competitive in pokeball.
According to Baseball Savant, this season Senga uses four-seam (41.3%), forkball (22.4%), cutter (20.8%), and sweeper (15.5%) in that order. He averaged 96 mph on a four-seam, 83.8 mph on a forkball, and 82.1 on a curve ball. It dazzles batters once with the visual and again with the course.
If you look at the miss rate, the forkball is a whopping 55.8%. Hitting average is 0.118. On the other hand, the sweeper’s hit rate is relatively high at 0.385. Just looking at these data, it is correct that Senga uses pokeball. However, there may be a risk of injury due to the nature of the pitch. Even this season, there was a finger problem during the demonstration game.
Such Senga threw 37 balls in just one inning in the 2023 Major League Cincinnati Reds home game held at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA on the 12th (hereinafter Korean time). In the end, he took 2 losses (4 wins) of the season with 8 hits, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts and 5 runs in 5 innings.
In the first inning, Jonathan India스포츠토토, the lead batter, was shaken by pitching 1 to 3 balls. He started uneasily after being hit with a left-leaning double while throwing a cutter. He struck out looking for Spencer Steer with a 97 mph four-seam, but Jake Frely hit a heavy hit with a first RBI as his 97-mile four-seam was driven to the center. A 95-mile four-seam went high to Tyler Stevenson, leading to a right-handed hit. He chose a cutter against Nick Senzel, but hit a double with an RBI superiority.
As the crisis continued, Senga pulled out a forkball. He used three forkballs, including the first pitch, on Henry Ramos, but only the first pitch was a strike. He pulled out a sweeper with a full count, but it turned into a ball and he walked. In the end, he hit Kevin Newman with a cutter and got 2 RBIs left. He finished the inning with difficulty by striking out looking Kurt Cassali with a forkball.
He faced all nine batters once in the first inning alone. A whopping 37 pitches. After giving up 4 runs in the 1st inning, he endured well until the 4th inning, but in the 5th he threw a sweeper to Steer and was hit by a solo shot in the left middle wall. As the number of pitches increased in the first inning, he could not go all the way to the sixth inning. He threw 95 pitches, with 59 strikes. On this day, the forkball power was less, and the command was shaken and the number of pitches was high.
Senga told the New York Post, “One thing I thought about on this pitch was attacking the strike zone, and I think he did a pretty good job. However, he accidentally threw the ball into the batter’s field. It seems that the weak hit has turned into a hit. However, allowing runs in the first inning makes it difficult for the team, so I have to work hard. It also hurts the body. I need to throw more economically because it depletes my stamina.”
4 wins and 2 losses in 7 games, average ERA 4.14. It’s not a bad move, but it’s not such an overwhelming pace either. Since he recorded 4 walks in 4 games in a row from the match against the Oakland Athletics on April 15th to the match against the Colorado Rockies on the 6th, it seems necessary to worry about managing the number of pitches and the number of pitches. Pokball is very powerful, but it is not a panacea.