Maeda pitching for the Dodgers in 2016, in the National League Championship Series Game 5
|Los Angeles Dodgers – No. 18|
Born: April 11, 1988|
Tadaoka, Osaka, Japan
|NPB: April 5, 2008, for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp|
|MLB: April 6, 2016, for the Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Earned run average||2.39|
|MLB statistics |
(through September 18, 2018)
|Earned run average||3.82|
|Career highlights and awards|
|World Baseball Classic|
|2013 San Francisco||Team|
|2015 WBSC Premier12|
Kenta Maeda (前田 健太 Maeda Kenta, born April 11, 1988) is a Japanese professional baseball pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp. He won the 2010 Eiji 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 in the same year. He won the Sawamura Award for the second time in 2015.
He is nicknamed "Maeken" by fans and teammates (from MAEda KENta).
Hiroshima Toyo Carp
Maeda was selected out of PL Gakuen Senior High School by the Hiroshima Toyo Carp of Japan's 2006 NPB Draft (NPB). He played in 2007 for the Carp's secondary team, before being called up to the NPB team in 2008. In his rookie season of 2008, Maeda posted a 9–2 win-loss record with a 3.20 earned run average (ERA) in 19 games (18 starts). In 2009, he was 8–14 with a 3.36 ERA in 29 starts. In 2010, he performed even better with a 15–8 record, a 2.21 ERA, and 174 strikeouts in 28 starts. In 2011, his record was 10–12 while having a 2.46 ERA and 178 strikeouts in 31 starts. The 2012 season became far better for Maeda as his record was 14–7 with a 1.53 ERA in 29 starts. In 2013, his record was 15–7 with a 2.10 ERA in 26 starts. In 2014, he went 11–9 with a 2.60 ERA in 27 starts. In 2015, he went 15–8 with a 2.09 ERA in 29 starts. He won the Sawamura Award as the league's best pitcher in both 2010 and 2015 and was the youngest pitcher in Japanese baseball history to achieve the pitching Triple Crown. The Carp chose to make him available to Major League Baseball (MLB) teams through the posting system in December 2015.
Maeda competed for the Japanese national baseball team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, and said he would use the tournament to assess his desire to compete in MLB, based on how he fared against their hitters. Maeda started two games in the pool rounds, against China and Netherlands, amassing a 2–0 record with 0.00 ERA, 0.30 WHIP, allowing just two hits, one walk striking out 15 in 10 innings. He was the losing pitcher in the semi-finals against Puerto Rico despite only allowing one run in five innings. He was selected to the all-tournament team.
Maeda also pitched five shut out innings for a Japanese all-star team in the 2014 MLB Japan All-Star Series and he pitched in the 2015 WBSC Premier12 tournament, where he allowed two earned runs while striking out 14 in 12 innings.
Los Angeles Dodgers
On January 7, 2016, Maeda signed an eight-year, $25 million, contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers that included $10 million per year in incentives. The deal would have reached a total of around $90.2 million throughout the course of the contract if he reached all of the incentives, which included annual roster bonus of $150,000 if he was on the 25-man opening-day active roster and $6.5 million annually based on starts: $1 million each for 15 and 20, and $1.5 million apiece for 25, 30 and 32 starts. It also had incentives of $3.5 million annually based on innings pitched: $250,000 for 90 and each additional 10 through 190, and $750,000 for 200. The deal was structured in this manner because Maeda's original physical with the team revealed some unspecified "irregularities." The Dodgers also paid a $20 million posting fee to the Hiroshima Carp.
Maeda picked up the win in his MLB debut on April 6, 2016, pitching six shutout innings against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. His first major league strikeout was of Padres starter Andrew Cashner in the top of the second inning. He also hit a home run off of Cashner in his second at-bat for his first major league hit. He made a team high 32 starts with a 16–11 record and 3.48 ERA and was selected by Baseball America to their all-rookie team. He made three starts in the post-season for the Dodgers, losing one game in the Division Series and pitching two no-decisions in the Championship Series. He allowed eight runs in 102⁄3 innings. He finished third in the voting for the National League Rookie of the Year Award behind his teammate Corey Seager and Trea Turner of the Washington Nationals.
In 2017, Maeda began the season in the starting rotation but struggled in April and May, with a 5.16 ERA causing him to be taken out of the rotation and tried in relief. He pitched three innings out of the pen on June 9 to pick up his first career save. On June 18 he was back in the rotation and allowed only one run on three hits in five innings but he returned to the bullpen after that game due to the Dodgers having too many starting pitchers. However, he only appeared in one more game in relief before returning to the starting rotation and from June 18 through August 25, he had went 8–2 with a 2.70 ERA as a starter. At the end of the season, the Dodgers moved Maeda back into the bullpen in order to try him in that role for possible use in the playoffs. Overall during the regular season he appeared in 29 games with 25 starts and had a record of 13–6 with a 4.22 ERA. He did make the post-season roster as a relief pitcher He pitched two scoreless innings with four strikeouts in the 2017 NLDS and three scoreless innings in the 2017 NLCS. In the 2017 World Series, which the Dodgers lost in seven games, Maeda pitched 52⁄3 innings over four games and allowed one run on four hits. Right handed batters had just four hits in 32 at-bats against him in the post-season.
Maeda is a 6 ft 1 in (185 cm), 175 lb (79 kg) right-handed pitcher. With a three-quarters delivery Maeda throws two fastballs (four-seam, two-seam) that sit in 90–93 mph (tops out at 96 mph), an average change-up, a curveball, and an above-average slider in low-to-mid 80s, which is his best pitch.
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- "Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres Box Score, April 6, 2016". Baseball Reference. Retrieved February 27, 2018.
- "Kenta Maeda Statistics & History". Baseball Reference.
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- McCullough, Andy (September 19, 2017). "Dodgers to give Kenta Maeda, Hyun-Jin Ryu chance to make postseason roster as relievers". LA Times. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
- Duarte, Michael (October 6, 2017). "Los Angeles Dodgers Announce Postseason Roster and Some of the Choices May Surprise You". NBC Los Angeles. Retrieved December 28, 2017.
- Kenta Maeda » PitchFx » Overview | FanGraphs Baseball Retrieved 2018-05-17
- "Reports: Hiroshima Carp to post right-hander Kenta Maeda". cbssports.com. 2015-12-03. Retrieved 2015-12-07.
- "Kenta Maeda bio". mlb.com. Retrieved February 27, 2018.
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