Kikuchi’s Latest Koshien Win
I was watching the game on Justin.tv and availed myself of the site’s watch later feature, so you can check out the game from the beginning by following this link. You can also check out the previous game, Chukyo’s 15-5 drubbing of Nagano here.
I wrote a bit about Kikuchi last spring, but this was my first chance to really see him in a game. He definitely has a live arm, with a heater that maxed out 154 kmph (~96 mph) but mainly seemed to range between 140-148 kmph (86-92mph). He went to his secondary stuff quite a bit, showing a slider with good movement, and a slow curve that appears to be more of the get-me-over variety at this point. He still has work to do on commanding his breaking pitches, but the movement is there and he changes speeds well.
Kikuchi has gotten public attention from just about every NPB, with Hanshin and Yomiuri reportedly very interested in selecting him. I wrote about the MLB teams that watched in spring as well, notably the Rangers and the Mets. More MLB scouts have been watching him this summer, though I’ve learned to take that kind of news with a grain of salt. Daily Sports reported that the Cubs and Twins were in attendance for his August 17 game, but surprisingly I didn’t see any reports of MLB scouts at yesterday’s game.