Thursday, March 19, 2009
Hiroki Kuroda 2009
In a slight surprise (to me anyway) the Dodgers have announced that Hiroki Kuroda will be their opening day starting pitcher in 2009. While I like Kuroda a lot, this actually slightly reduces his value early in the season, as he's likely to be matched against opposing teams' ace starters the first few times through the rotations, while guys like Chad Billingsley and Clayton Kershaw draw easier matchups. That said, Kuroda is an excellent pitcher, due to good control (2.1 BB/9 in 2008) and a high groundball rate (51.3%). With those strengths, his strikeout rate of 5.8 per nine innings is much more than adequate. At 34 years old, he's probably on the downside of his career, but should have a few good years left.