Yusei Kikuchi – #1 Overall? (by Phil Goyette)
Kikuchi has agreed to a 4-year deal with the Mariners. Depending on your league’s rules, he might be eligible to be drafted in your upcoming first-year player draft. If he’s available, how should you value this 27-year-old in relation to a bunch of college kids, prep stars, and J2 athletes who might only be 16 years old??
A big part of the answer depends on what your team looks like now. In theory, you’d be drafting at the top of the 1st round because you are rebuilding and did poorly last season. If that is the case, then you might consider a high ceiling bat like Nolan Gorman or the best college bat (Jonathan India) as a centerpiece of your rebuilding project.
However, not every league works this way. There are plenty of leagues where the 1.1 pick is awarded for some kind of success in the previous season (maybe a consolation bracket for all of the teams that missed the playoffs). Therefore, your team might be in a position to both compete in 2019 and select Kikuchi. If that’s the case, that’s what you should do. With a nice landing spot in Seattle and SP2 upside, Kikuchi is a piece that can really help you win now.