Kenta Maeda might be a Dodger soon, and here's what you can expect to see from him
Just as you thought the market for pitching was drying up after David Price, Jordan Zimmermann, Johnny Cueto and Zack Greinke all signed with teams, here comes an injection of pure adrenaline to the system: After the Hiroshima Carp posted their ace, Kenta Maeda, last month, the Dodgers reportedly signed an eight-year deal with the RHP on Thursday.
Coming off a season in which the hurler went 15-8 for the Carp, finishing fourth in the league with a 2.09 ERA and third with 175 strikeouts, he certainly must have been in high demand. In fact, Maeda hasn't had an ERA over 2.60 since 2010, when he was a 21-year-old in just his second year in the league. It's that track record of performance which has analysts believing he maxed out the $20 million posting fee that the Dodgers reportedly offered the Carp for the rights to sign the pitcher.
But what can the Dodgers expect from their new starter?
While Maeda has been successful, don't go looking for a blazing fastball. It normally sits between 88-92, though he has the ability to heat that up to 95 mph when necessary. His greatest skill is in locating both his four-seam and two-seam, as he walked only 1.8 batters per nine last season.
Maeda's best assets are his breaking balls. To go along with his 12-6 curve, Maeda's changeup dips, dives, ducks and has so much arm-side movement, it looks like it blew out a tire on the way to the plate. It's enough to have earned the nickname "Bugs Bunny" change.
And then there's his slider. Though it may not be blessed with the most movement you've ever seen, Maeda once again commands the pitch like he's a hypnotist at a work retreat and the baseball is the gullible volunteer. Just watch how the opposition was unable to lay contact on at the 2013 World Baseball Classic:
Of course, when batters do make contact, Maeda is ready as well. He's a consummate baseball player, with the reflexes necessary for any comebacker hit his way.
This post was originally published Dec. 10, 2015.