Skip to content Skip to footer

Yusei Kikuchi is a Japanese professional baseball pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played for the Seattle Mariners in MLB and for the Saitama Seibu Lions of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB).

On November 20, 2009, Kikuchi signed a pro deal with the Saitama Seibu Lions; the deal included a 100 million yen (about $1 million) signing bonus, a 15 million yen ($150,000) first-year salary, and 50 million yen ($500,000) in performance bonuses.

After the 2011 season, Seibu announced that Kikuchi would join the Melbourne Aces of the Australian Baseball League (ABL). In 2018, Kikuchi was selected for the 2018 NPB All-Star game

On December 3, 2018, Seibu announced it was allowing Kikuchi to enter the posting system to play in Major League Baseball (MLB), with the 30-day period starting a month later.

On January 2, 2019, Kikuchi signed a four-year contract with the Seattle Mariners. Kikuchi made his MLB debut on March 21, 2019, going 4.2 innings while allowing two runs (one earned) and striking out three.

He is the first Japanese-born player to make his MLB debut in Japan. Kikuchi struggled in his first season with Seattle, going 6–11 with an ERA of 5.46 in 32 starts. He struck out 116 in 161+2⁄3 innings.

Kikuchi improved his performance in 2020, recording a 5.17 ERA and increasing his strikeout percentage from 16.1% to 24%. Kikuchi was selected for the American League’s roster in the 2021 Major League Baseball All-Star Game.

Where Is Yusei Kikuchi From?

Yusei Kikuchi is from Morioka, Iwate, Japan.