Padres sign Kazuhisa Makita: Fantasy Fallout

The Padres continued to bolster their bullpen this week by signing Japanese relief ace, Kazuhisa Makita, to a deal. What is the fantasy fallout of the news?

San Diego lost 91 games in 2017, predictably failing thanks to a roster that lacked major league talent as the team was in a full-on rebuild. That has not deterred the Padres from being busy this offseason though, and they kept that going by inking reliever Kazuhisa Makita to a two-year deal.

What is the fantasy fallout of the news?

Kazuhisa Makita may not receive the fanfare that countryman Shohei Otani got when he was signed, but that should not take away from how dominant Makita has performed in Japan. Makita did not debut in the JPPL league until he was 26, yet for the last seven years continued to find success.

He owns a career 2.83 ERA in Japan while performing as a starter, and more specifically as of late, out of the bullpen. Since 2016, when he transitioned solely to the bullpen, he has posted no higher than a 2.30 ERA over 140 innings of work.

Not bad for a guy whose fastball tops out around 85 mph, huh?

Makita will enter MLB as one of the only pure submariners. Pitchers like Brad Ziegler and Steve Cishek have found success as of late with a similar delivery, but Makita’s knuckle scraping delivery is a spectacle to see.

With him lacking overpowering stuff, Makita wins on deception, movement, and of course, arm angle. Submariners have to battle commanding the zone because of their delivery, but Makita’s control is unquestioned. He has only walked 21 batters the last two seasons, and even more impressive, he only surrendered seven homers over that span as well.

Now with the Padres, Makita heads to a bullpen that is unsettled. Brad Hand appears to be the favorite to close as of now but has been involved in plenty of trade rumors and would net the Padres a solid haul in return. That would the likes of Craig Stammen and Carter Capps as the only other logical options left to possible close other than Makita himself.

Stammen has a history of injuries, yet was impressive last season, and Capps will be in his second year removed from TJ surgery. If/when Hand is dealt the Padres would open it up to a competition or committee, but even so Makita would hold value as a HLD option.

Makita’s transition to the MLB has the advantage that he brings a universally difficult style to hit to the table. MLB hitters do not see submarine offerings nearly at all anymore, allowing his GB prowess to excel even more in Petco. When facing major league competition in the 2013 and 2017 WBC, he only allowed two runs over nine innings of work.

The Padres are in for another long season in 2018. But, they targeted Makita for a reason and he brings a talent to MLB that offers fantasy owners confidence. Keep close tabs on him this spring.