Kodai Senga, one of the best pitchers in Nippon Professional Baseball, filed for international free agency, a source told MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi on Monday. The news was first reported by Jason Coskrey of The Japan Times.
Senga, who will turn 30 in January, produced a 2.59 ERA over more than 1,000 innings pitched across 11 seasons for NPB’s Fukuoka Softbank Hawks. Armed with a 101-mph fastball and a nasty splitter, Senga has struck out 1,252 batters during his time in Japan, good enough for a 10.3 K/9 rate. Although he does give up his fair share of walks, Senga has allowed only 6.6 hits per nine innings for his career.
This season, Senga went 11-6 with a 1.89 ERA for the Hawks. He struck out 159 batters and issued 50 walks in 148 innings. He permitted 104 hits and only seven home runs.
Per protocols on player transfers, Senga is temporarily subject to NPB free agency rules, but he should be declared a full international free agent on Nov. 11.