When the season started for the New York Mets, Kodai Senga was supposed to be, if his stuff translated well from the Japanese league to MLB, the third starter on the team after Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander.
Things happened along the way, though: both veteran stars got injured and struggled initially to some extent.
Both were later shipped to other teams in the league as the Mets’ hopes to contend dwindled, and Senga inherited the ace position by default.
He hasn’t disappointed one bit, and has turned into one of the best pitchers in the National League.
“Only three qualified National League pitchers have a sub-3 ERA: 1. Blake Snell, 2.43; 2. Justin Steele, 2.49; 3. Kodai Senga, 2.95,” Mets insider Anthony DiComo tweeted.
Only three qualified National League pitchers have a sub-3 ERA:
1. Blake Snell, 2.43
2. Justin Steele, 2.49
3. Kodai Senga, 2.95
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) September 14, 2023
Having a season with a ERA lower than 3.00 is very difficult to achieve, especially for a pitcher who is entering a new league, a new country, and a different culture.
Senga has been able to overcome all that and has blossomed into the Mets’ unquestioned ace.
He also has a very impressive strikeout tally, 191 to be exact.
Walks can be issue from time to time, as he has 72 in 155.1 innings.
However, he is so dominant that he usually can work around them and still dominate.
With a strong finish, Senga could make things interesting in two major award races: the NL Rookie of the Year and the NL Cy Young.
He has been that good.
The Mets can rest easy knowing that they will have a bona fide ace in his prime for at least four more seasons.
That’s excellent news as they start their retooling process.NEXT: Kodai Senga Continues To Own MLB's Best Pitch