Kenta Maeda has gotten off to a fantastic start for the Dodgers. The Japanese import was signed as a first look free agent in the offseason to an eight-year 106 million dollar contract. Maeda pitched for the Hiroshima Carp in the NPB for eight seasons before migrating out to Los Angeles.
Our friends over at numberfire.com have decided to take a deeper look at Maeda’s hot start. We know that Maeda is more of a control pitcher. He doesn’t miss a lot of bats, and is capable of inducing ground ball outs. According to Sal Cacciatore of Numberfire, Maeda is able to generate a lot of swings on bad pitches out of the strike zone. That seems to be his bread and butter.
As a matter of fact, Maeda has been one of the best at getting hitters to swing at pitches outside of the zone. He’s a pitcher who keeps the ball down in the zone. This is pitching 101. Keep the ball down and you’ll probably do well. As expected, Maeda keeps the ball in the park most of the time.
He gets a lot of weak contact as well. Pitchers who can get hitters to chase pitches out of the zone generally do well. Maeda has not allowed an earned run in his first 12 innings pitched this season. IN his first outing he threw a six inning shutout win against the Padres in San Diego. He also hit a home run.
In his last start he threw another six innings of shutout ball against the Dbacks. Unfortunately the Dodger bullpen blew the game and he was not involved in the decision. So far he has allowed just ten hits over 12 innings and struck out eight while walking just one. Check out Sal’s unique analysis of Maeda’s first two starts, and how he ranks against the rest of the majors.