Kenta Maeda (pronounced mah-EH-da)...Instagram: @18_maeken...wife, Saho...the couple has a daughter and a son...nickname is "Maeken," a merger of his first and last names...when he first came up playing in Japan, there were five players named Kenta on his team, and he needed to distinguish himself; "Maeken" is also the name of a famous Japanese comedian...pitched for Team Japan in the 2015 World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) Premier12 tournament and the 2013 World Baseball Classic, where he was selected to the All-Tournament team...is famous in Japan for his inability to draw and sells apparel with his drawings on it; the proceeds benefit first responders and medical personnel in Japan fighting the COVID-19 pandemic...favorite player growing up was Ichiro Suzuki; Maeda had the privilege of facing him in 2016 in his MLB rookie season with Los Angeles-NL and struck him out the first time (held him to 1-for-6 lifetime)...uses Japanese interpreter Daichi Sekizaki.
Was the Twins' Opening Day starter April 1 at Milwaukee, allowing two runs (1 earned) on six hits in 4.1 innings pitched with two walks and five strikeouts in a Twins 6-5, 10-inning defeat...it was his sixth career professional Opening Day start, first in MLB (2010-12, 2014-15 with the Hiroshima-Toyo Carp of the Japan Central League)...became the sixth Japanese-born pitcher in MLB history to make an Opening Day start, first for the Twins...the others are: Masahiro Tanaka(4x), Hideo Nomo (3x), Yu Darvish (1x), Hiroki Kuroda (1x) and Daisuke Matsuzaka (1x)...Earned first win of season in second start on April 7 at Detroit, allowing two runs on seven hits in 6.0 innings pitched, with one walk and six strikeouts in a Twins 3-2 victory...Tied career-high with seven earned runs allowed in 3.0 innings pitched (3 HR) on April 21 at Oakland...matched that figure again on June 29 at Chicago-AL (4.2 IP)...Placed on 10-day Injured List with a right adductor strain May 23...made one rehab start with Triple-A St. Paul on June 9, allowing one run on one hit in 4.0 innings pitched...reinstated on June 14...Recorded season-high 10 strikeouts on July 4 at Kansas City, pitching 6.0 shutout innings with two hits allowed...marked his seventh career double-digit strikeout total and second as a Twin...Recorded 800th career strikeout in the second game of the doubleheader on July 17 at Detroit, fanning Akil Baddoo in the fifth inning...Pinch-ran for the fourth time in career on July 26 vs. Detroit and scored the winning run on a Max Kepler walk-off single in a Twins 6-5, 10-inning victory...became first Twins pitcher to pinch run and score since Pat Mahomes scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the 12th on August 9, 1994, vs. Boston...Went 1-1, 2.15 ERA (29.1 IP, 7 ER) with six walks, 36 strikeouts and a .176 (18-for-102) opponent batting average in five July starts...ranked tied for eighth in the AL in strikeouts for the month...Recorded 28th career hit (first as a Twin), singling off Tyler Mahle on Aug. 3 at Cincinnati...Exited August 21 start at New York-AL after 4.1 innings due to right forearm tightness and was placed on the 10-day Injured List on Aug. 23...Had "Tommy John" surgery on right elbow in Dallas, TX on Sept. 1...transferred to 60-day Injured List that same day...Transferred to 60-day IL again in spring training on March 20, 2022, opening a roster spot for free agent right-handed pitcher Joe Smith.
Began the season as Minnesota's No. 3 starter, making his Twins debut on July 26 at Guaranteed Rate Field against the White Sox...earned the win in a Twins victory, 14-2, after throwing 5.0 innings, allowing two earned runs on four hits, one walk and six strikeouts...Went 1-0, 3.60 ERA (5.0 IP, 2 ER) in one July start, 3-1, 2.39 ERA (37.2 IP, 10 ER) in six August starts and 2-0, 3.00 (24.0 IP, 8 ER) in four September starts...Pitched 8.0 no-hit innings on Aug. 18 at Target Field against Milwaukee before the bid was broken up in the ninth by Eric Sogard's leadoff single...marked the longest no-hit bid of career... retired 21 consecutive batters, the most by a Twin this season...became just the third pitcher in Twins/Senators history to strike out at least 12 hitters and allow one-or-fewer hits (also Eric Milton, 9/11/1999 vs. ANA; Walter Johnson, 5/23/1924 vs. CWS)…Also on Aug. 18 set Twins record with eight-straight strikeouts from the third to fifth innings...fell one shy of the American League record (accomplished by many), and two shy of Tom Seaver's (NYM) MLB record of 10...previous Twins high of seven was held by Jim Merritt (7/21/1966 vs. WAS) and Francisco Liriano (6/11/2010 vs. ATL)…On Sept. 5 vs. Detroit, retired 18 consecutive batters for the second time in 2020 (previously on 8/18)…Worked at least 5.0 innings and allowed three or fewer runs in each of his 11 starts on the season. Finished the season with at least seven strikeouts in each of his last seven starts...only longer streaks in Twins history belong to Johan Santana (10 games, 6/3-7/22/2004) and Tom Hall (8 games, 9/10/1970-4/18/1971)…Went 3-0, 1.91 ERA (33.0 IP, 7 ER) in five home starts and 3-1, 3.48 ERA (33.2 IP, 13 ER) in six road starts...Held righties to a .149 batting average (15-for-101) and .484 OPS; lefties to .182 (25-for-137) with .525 OPS...Picked up 150th career win as a professional on Sept. 23 vs. Detroit...went 97-67 in Nippon Professional Baseball (2008-2015) and is 53-36 in Major League Baseball (2016-present)…At .168, finished with the lowest single-season opponents' batting average as a SP in team history (min. 10 GS)…Led club in strikeouts (80), starter ERA (2.70), and innings pitched (66.2) while ranking second in and starts (11)…Finished first among American League pitchers in WHIP (0.75), second in opponent batting average (.168) and OPS (.508), fifth in ERA and seventh in strikeouts...Set a Twins/Senators franchise record for strikeouts-per-9.0 innings pitched at 10.80, passing Johan Santana’s 2004 mark of 10.46...Made the start in Game 1 of AL Wild Card series vs. Houston Sept. 29, pitching 5.0 scoreless innings with two hits allowed, three walks and five strikeouts in a Twins 4-1 defeat...his cap from the game was donated to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, since he threw the first official pitch of the adjusted playoff format...Named Joseph W. Haynes Award winner for Twins Pitcher of the Year, an award voted on by the Twin Cities Chapter of the BBWAA...Finished second to Cleveland's Shane Bieber (unanimous) in AL Cy Young Award Voting with 92 total votes (18 second place, four third place, two fourth place and four fifth place)…Was a finalist for the Gold Glove Award along with Los Angeles-AL's Griffin Canning and Cleveland's Zach Plesac (Canning was the winner)…Named Starting Pitcher on All-MLB Second Team.
Recorded his third career double-digit win season, going 10-8 with a 4.04 ERA (153.2 IP, 69 ER) in 37 games (26 starts)...fanned 169 batters, his most since 2016 (179 K)...one of two pitchers with 10 starts and 10 relief appearances (min. 150.0 IP), with Andrew Cashner (23 GS/19 G)....Struck out season-high 12 batters on May 15 vs. San Diego, keeping the Padres scoreless through 6.2 innings before garnering the win...Made final start of the season on August 27 at San Diego; totalled 137.0 IP, a 4.14 ERA and 147 strikeouts in starting nods....Pitched in relief exclusively during September, going 2-0 with three saves and a 3.45 ERA (15.2 IP, 6 ER) in 10 appearances...held opponents to a .164 batting average and averaged 11.49 strikeouts per 9.0 IP in that span....Held opponents to an 85.4 average exit velocity, the fourth-lowest mark among all major league pitchers (min. 400 batted ball events)....Acquired by Twins on February 10, 2020 along with Jair Camargo and cash considerations from Los Angeles-NL in exchange for right-handed pitcher Brusdar Graterol, outfielder Luke Raley and a Competitive Balance Pick B Pick in the 2020 First-Year Player Draft.
Completed his third big league season going 8-10 with a 3.81 ERA (53 ER/125.1 IP) and two saves, while holding batters to a .240 average and posting a 1.26 WHIP…struck out 153 batter against 43 walks ... In 20 starts, Maeda went 6-7 with a 3.85 ERA (46 ER/107.2 IP), limiting batters to a .235 average while averaging 10.62 strikeouts per nine innings ... Was a starter for 20 of his first 22 games of the season, making his last start on Aug. 10…moved exclusively to the bullpen starting Aug. 14 ... Made 19 relief appearances, going 2-3 with two saves while posting a 3.57 ERA (7 ER/17.02 IP)…struck out 26 batters against three walks out of the bullpen, while posting a 1.19 WHIP ... Limited right-handed opponents to a .209/.270/.337 slash line, striking out 95 batters against 18 walks and allowing only five home runs in 258 at-bats ... Worked out of the bullpen during the Dodgers' postseason run, allowing three runs in 6.2 IP (4.05 ERA) in eight appearances.
Went 13-6 with one save and posted a 4.22 ERA in 29 games (25 starts) in his second season with the Dodgers...Struck out 140 batters against just 34 walks in 134.1 innings, posting a 4.12 strikeout-to-walk ratio...also limited hitters to a .238 average, including holding right-handed batters to a .214 mark...Made his first career stint in the bullpen, going 1-0 with one save and posting a 2.25 ERA (2 ER/8.0 IP) in four appearances... struck out 10 against just one walks, while also limiting the opposition to a .233 average...Collected his first career save in his first career relief appearance on June 9 against the Reds, allowing one run on three hits over 4.0 innings while striking out six...became the first Dodger pitcher since Chan Ho Park (2008) to record a win as a starter, a win as a reliever and a save in the same season...In 14 games (11 starts) at home, he went 8-1 with one save and posted a 2.88 ERA (22 ER/68.2 IP), compared to going 5-5 with a 5.62 ERA (41 ER/65.2 IP) in 15 games (14 starts) on the road...Following the All-Star break, he ranked among National League pitchers (min. 50.0 IP) in strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.85, 3rd), opponents' OBP (.270, 6th), WHIP (1.10, 9th), wins (6, T-12th), strikeout per nine innings (10.07, 13th) and opponents' batting average (.225, 14th)...Made his first career stint on the disabled list from May 11-25 with left hamstring tightness...Was a key piece out of the bullpen during the postseason for the Dodgers, going 2-0 with a 0.84 ERA (1 ER/10.2 IP) in nine postseason relief appearances...struck out 10 against just two walks, while holding hitters to a .135 average (5-for-37).
In his first big league season, he went 16-11 with a 3.48 ERA (68 ER/175.2 IP) in 32 starts, while limiting the opposition to a .229 average...Posted the second-most wins ever by a Los Angeles rookie, behind only Rick Sutcliffe (17-10, 1979), and his 16 wins tied for the second most ever in a single-season by a Japanese pitcher, behind only Daisuke Matsuzaka's 18 in 2008 with Boston (18-3)…his 16 wins were the most by a MLB rookie since 2012, when Yu Darvish and Wade Miley both had 16 victories...Ranked among the overall NL leaders in wins (16, T-5th), ERA (3.48, 14th), WHIP (1.14, 10th), strikeouts (179, 12th), strikeout per nine innings (9.17, 7th), strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.58, 12th), opponents' batting average (.229, 11th), opponents' on-base pct. (.291, 11th) and opponents' slugging pct. (.359, 10th)...Led qualifying MLB rookie starting pitchers in starts (32), wins (16), opponents' batting average (.229), WHIP (1.14), innings pitched (175.2) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.58)..Picked up the win in his MLB debut on April 6 at San Diego, allowing five hits in 6.0 scoreless innings in a 7-0 LA win...at the plate, blasted a solo homer in his second big league at-bat, becoming the first Dodger to homer in his big league debut since shortstop Jose Offerman did so vs. the Montreal Expos on Aug. 19, 1990 and the first Dodger pitcher to homer in his Major League debut since Dan Bankhead vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates on Aug. 26, 1947...Did not allow a run in his first two starts at San Diego and vs. Arizona before surrendering a run in the third inning of his third start on April 17, ending his streak at 14.0 innings to begin his career…Maeda's scoreless streak tied Pedro Astacio (14.0 IP, 1992) for the third longest to begin a career in Los Angeles history, behind only Dave Stewart (18.1 IP, 1978-81) and Bob Welch (15.1 IP, 1978)...Made three postseason starts, going 0-1 wtih a 6.75 ERA (8 ER/10.2 IP).
Led the Japanese Central League with 15 wins with the Hiroshima Carp, going 15-8 with a 2.09 ERA in 29 starts, to win his secondcareer Sawamura Award, given to the league's best pitcher. ... Posted a 1.01 WHIP and holding opposing batters to a .222 average, including a .160 mark against right-handers. ... Allowed just five home runs in 206.1 innings (0.2 HR/9.0 IP). ... Registered a 4.27 strikeout-to-walk ratio, striking out 175 against just 41 walks. ... Recognized as the best fielding pitcher in Nippon Professional Baseball for the fifth time.