Overseas Scouting Report: Maeda Leads the Way
Overseas Scouting Report: Maeda Leads the Way

This article is part of our Baseball Draft Kit series.

This year's international class is headlined by Kenta Maeda, formerly of Japan's Hiroshima Carp. The inevitable comparisons to his most immediate predecessors Yu Darvish and Masahiro Tanaka are a bit unfair, as Darvish and Tanaka were in some ways historically unprecedented. Maeda probably isn't MLB ace material, but he's a worthy prospect in his own right.

Maeda built up his resume by piling up several years of steady performances. Since his first full season in Hiroshima's rotation in 2009, Maeda has never thrown fewer than 175 innings in a season. Since his second full season, he's never posted an ERA higher than 2.60, and he has a 2.39 mark for his career. Over the last six years, his K/9 rate has never exceeded 8.1 and never fallen below 7.3, and his BB/9 rate has steadily hovered around 1.9. Maeda's success has come from limiting hits, and more recently, keeping the ball in the park. His home runs allowed total has fallen from 22 in 2009 to just five in 2015. Look for that number to regress some against MLB competition.

His arsenal of pitches is solid, but not quite eye-popping. Maeda's fastball sits from 89-92 mph with some movement, and it reaches 94 mph on occasion. His featured breaking pitch is his slider, of which he throws two varieties: a traditional slider and a tighter, more cutter-ish version. He'll also mix in an improving changeup and a curveball. Provided he can command all his pitches with the MLB ball,

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Patrick Newman
Newman writes extensively about baseball in Japan on his blog, NPBTracker.com. He's lived in Japan and now works in Silicon Valley.
Peter Schoenke
Peter Schoenke is the president and co-founder of RotoWire.com. He's been elected to the hall of fame for both the Fantasy Sports Trade Association and Fantasy Sports Writers Association and also won the Best Fantasy Baseball Article on the Internet in 2005 from the FSWA. He roots for for the Minnesota Twins, Vikings and T-Wolves.
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