Kenta Maeda(前田 健太,Maeda Kenta?, born April 11, 1988 in Osaka, Japan) is a Nippon Professional Baseball pitcher for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp in Japan's Central League. He won the 2010 Sawamura Award with a record of 15-8 and a 2.21 ERA, with 174 strikeouts in 215 and 2/3 innings, and six complete games with two shutouts. He also became the youngest pitcher in Japanese baseball history to achieve the pitching Triple Crown and won a Gold Glove in the same year. He is nicknamed "Maeken" by fans and teammates (from MAEda KENta).
Maeda is a 6 ft 0 in, 161 lb right-handed pitcher. With a three-quarters delivery Maeda throws two fastballs (four-seam, two-seam) that sit in 88-92 mph (tops out at 95 mph), an average change-up, an occasional curveball, and a solid-average slider in low-80s, which is his best pitch. He also has excellent command, posting a walks per nine innings rate of 1.9 in his career (through 2013 season).
Maeda competed for the Japanese national baseball team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, and said he will use the tournament to assess his desire to compete in Major League Baseball, based on how he fares against their hitters. Maeda started 2 games in the pool rounds, against China and Netherlands, amassing a 2-0 record with 0.00 ERA, 0.30 WHIP, allowing just 2 hits, 1 walk, and striking out 15 in 10 innings. He was selected into the tournament's Best-9 lineup.