It’s time to start taking Mets ace Kodai Senga’s Cy Young case seriously

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Kodai Senga

Kodai Senga / USA TODAY Sports/SNY Treated Image

A few weeks ago, as Mets ace Kodai Senga‘s rookie season continued to trend up, it was clear that he would get votes for the National League Cy Young award.

Perhaps he would finish seventh or eighth for the award, an incredible feat when you take into account how much he’s had to get used to in a new country and league.


It’s fair to argue that Senga should be one of three frontrunners for the award, along with Blake Snell of the Padres and Justin Steele of the Cubs — the two favorites.

It will take continued dominance from Senga and some bumps down the stretch from Snell and Steele to vault him over them, but a look at what Senga has done so far (along with the competition beyond Snell and Steele) makes it clear that this should be a three-man race.

As recently as a few days ago, pitchers getting more play than Senga when it came to the contenders for the Cy Young included Spencer Strider of the Braves and Diamondbacks ace Zac Gallen.

Strider is striking out the world this season, with a Jacob deGrom-like 13.8 K’s per nine. He has already racked up 259 strikeouts, which leads MLB. But his ERA — 3.73 — is simply too high. Maybe the equation changes if he fires back-to-back shutouts, but it’s hard to see the Braves letting him run loose since they’ve already sewn up the best record in the NL.

Then there’s Gallen, whose relatively ordinary peripherals don’t stand out and whose September ERA of 5.12 over three starts (one gem that was sandwiched by rough games against the Orioles and Mets) has his overall ERA up to 3.50.

Logan Webb and Zack Wheeler also merit consideration, but — like Strider and Gallen — would likely need enormous finishes to take home the hardware.

That brings us back to Senga.

Kodai Senga

Kodai Senga / Mark J. Rebilas – USA TODAY Sports

Entering his start on Wednesday against the Marlins in Miami, which could be his second-to-last outing of the season, Senga has a 2.95 ERA and 1.21 WHIP with 191 strikeouts in 155.1 innings over 27 starts.

Senga has allowed only 116 hits, good for a sterling 6.7 hits per nine.

His ERA is the third-best in the NL (behind only Snell and Steele) and fifth-best in MLB.

His strikeout rate is the fourth-best in the NL (behind Strider, Snell, and Freddy Peralta).

He has allowed more than two earned runs just twice over his last 14 starts.

And a look at Senga’s advanced stats shows that his stuff has been dominant.

He is in the 99th percentile in pitching run value, 98th percentile in fastball run value, and 98th percentile in offspeed run value.

The ghost fork, which is Senga’s bread and butter, alluded him at times in the early going this season, with his command of it coming and going a bit. But he’s fully harnessed it now, as evidenced by a heat map that looks like this and these numbers:

Against Senga’s ghost fork this season, which he has thrown 626 times, hitters are slashing .112 with a .132 slugging percentage. He has not allowed a home run on it, has a whiff rate of 60 percent, and has generated 104 of his 191 strikeouts with it.

Senga’s fastball — which has averaged a tick below 96 mph and touches the high-90s at times — is a serious pitch, but the ghost fork has been simply outrageous.

Aug 13, 2023; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Kodai Senga (34) pitches in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field.

Aug 13, 2023; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Kodai Senga (34) pitches in the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at Citi Field. / Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Overall, here’s how Senga compares to Snell and Steele:


IP: 155.1
WHIP: 1.21
K/9: 11.1
H/9: 6.7
BB/9: 4.2
HR/9: 0.8
WAR: 4.3


IP: 167.0
WHIP: 1.22
K/9: 11.7
H/9: 6.0
BB/9: 5.0
HR/9: 0.8
WAR: 5.4


IP: 165.0
WHIP: 1.13
K/9: 8.9
H/9: 8.3
BB/9: 1.9
HR/9: 0.7
WAR: 4.1

This is Snell’s award to lose, and if he is dominant in his final starts, It’ll be hard for anyone to pry it from him.

If Snell stumbles, though — he’ll face the Rockies and Giants in his next two starts — it could open the door for Senga or Steele.

Senga gets the start against the Marlins on Wednesday in Miami, and should line up against the Marlins again next week at Citi Field in what should be his last start of the year.

No matter how the Cy Young race shakes out for Senga, what he’s done this season has been remarkable. His rise has changed the Mets’ dynamic entering 2024, giving them an ace on board as they look to bolster the rotation in a world without Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander.

EMEA Tribune is not involved in this news article, it is taken from our partners and or from the News Agencies. Copyright and Credit go to the News Agencies, email [email protected]

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