Thursday, January 7, 2016

Kenta Maeda and Fantasy Baseball

It’s never too early to start thinking about next season, just ask a Chicago Cubs fans, and it’s especially never too early to start thinking about your next season’s fantasy baseball league. Last season I tried to bring as much fantasy baseball discussion and advice as I could to the blog and based on the view count and interactions it seemed to go over well. Have no fear because we’re bringing it all back again this offseason and we start things off with the newest face to join Major League Baseball and the Los Angeles Dodgers, Mr. Kenta Maeda.

Maeda will turn 28-years old in April and pitched for the Hiroshima Carp of the Nippon Professional Baseball League in Japan last season. While pitching alongside former Yankees and Dodgers right-hander Hiroki Kuroda with the Carp Maeda posted a 15-8 record with a 2.09 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 175 strikeouts in 206.1 innings pitched. How that will translate into Major League Baseball is anyone’s guess but we’ve seen enough Japanese-born pitchers come over to the states to take a pretty educated guess if I don’t say so myself.

Maeda is a smaller guy standing just 6’0” and 165 lbs. and he’s not the overpowering bringer of heat like many. Maeda’s fastball sits at about 90-93 MPH which allows him to throw more changeups and curveballs keeping hitters off balance. Maeda is not a huge strikeout guy and relies more on his command and his control while pitching more to contact than anything. The closest comparison you have for Maeda is Philadelphia Phillies rookie Aaron Nola who pitched 77.2 innings in the Majors last season. They have similar builds, velocities and they both pound the strike zone. Neither are huge strikeout guys and rely more on ground balls and fly balls to get their jobs done.

Maeda will be helped by Dodgers Stadium and he should be helped by the fact that he faces the pitchers spot three or four times a night but rest assured he will not be the next Yu Darish or Masahiro Tanaka. His scouting report does sound a lot like Hiroki Kuroda’s and Hisashi Iwakuma’s though so there is some upside associated with him. I wouldn’t take him necessarily early but by around Round 10-15 he should be available and prime for the picking. 

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)