Image credit: Shintaro Fujinami (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
The Orioles acquired righthanded reliever Shintaro Fujinami for lefthanded relief prospect Easton Lucas on Wednesday. Fujinami signed this winter after 10 seasons in Japan with Nippon Professional Baseball. Lucas ranked No. 30 on the most recent iteration of Baltimore’s Top 30 Prospects. This move adds some more firepower to an Orioles bullpen that also features all-stars Félix Bautista and Yennier Cano.
Shintaro Fujinami, RHP
A 6-foot-6 righthander who was once viewed as one of the top young pitchers in Japan alongside Shohei Ohtani, Fujinami has never taken the necessary steps with his command and control to find consistent performance as a starter. He led the NPB in strikeouts in 2015 and was selected to the all-star team from 2013-2015. He signed with the Athletics for $3.25 million in January of 2023.
Fujinami made four starts with the Athletics to begin the season, but after struggling was moved to the bullpen. He’s performed better out of the bullpen but has hardly had success this season. Over 31.2 innings out of the pen Fujinami has a 5.40 ERA, a 27% strikeout rate and a 13.1% walk rate. He uses a four-seam fastball at 98 mph, a splitter at 91-93 mph, a high-80s cutter and a mid-80s slider.
Easton Lucas, LHP
After sitting in the low 90s for most of his career, Lucas—who was acquired by Baltimore in the trade that sent Jonathan Villar to Miami—added a few more ticks to his fastball and now sits around 97-98 mph. His most-used secondary offering is a low-80s slider with moderate sweep. He’ll mix in a cutter and a changeup but both pitches are fringy. Lucas has struggled with command at times this season and has been home run prone due to poor location.