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[1/25/2014] Daisuke Matsuzaka, Kenta Maeda

by on Jan.25, 2014 @ 12:39 pm, under MLB

The New York Mets have signed Daisuke Matsuzaka to a minor league contract that includes an invite to major league Spring Training.

Source: Press Release 1/24/2014

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CBS Sports' Dayn Perry is already looking to Hiroshima's Kenta Maeda.

The answer may be Hiroshima Carp right-hander Kenta Maeda. Meada, who, like Tanaka, is just 25 years of age, has already stated publicly that he wants to be posted, and there was even speculation that he'd be posted this offseason after the new system was put in place. That seems unlikely to happen, obviously, but there's a very strong chance that Maeda will be made available to MLB clubs prior to the 2015 season.

... Maeda is giving away two inches and almost 50 pounds to Tanaka, who, let it be said, is not especially big-framed by the standards of MLB right-handers. As such, U.S. evaluators may have some concerns about Maeda's ability to withstand stateside workloads. Badler also notes that Maeda lacks a true wipeout pitch like, say, Tanaka's splitter.

Given all that, Maeda will likely profile as a mid-rotation guy in MLB -- not a certifiable ace like Yu Darvish and not a strong no. 2 like Tanaka. ... Adding to Maeda's appeal is that, as noted, he'll be just 26 years of age should he hit the U.S. market next offseason.

Source: CBS Sports 1/25/2014

IMHO, I think think there might be two scenarios where Hiroshima could post Maeda after the current season:

  1. He helps Hiroshima win a Nippon Series in much the same way Masahiro Tanaka did with the Rakuten Eagles last year.
  2. The other younger pitchers step up and show enough promise to convince the front office they no longer need him.

FYI: Maeda has about two years until he earns his domestic FA option and about three years until his international FA option.

4 comments on “[1/25/2014] Daisuke Matsuzaka, Kenta Maeda

  1. muratafan

    This report may be the reason why Maeda has publicly discussed his weight gain. At 6′ and 160 lbs, there are very few MLBers at those dimensions. At 6′ and 183 lbs, there are pitchers like Tim Hudson, Greg Maddux, Sonny Gray, Carlos Martinez, Tim Lincecum, Mike Leake and Pedro Martinez (I know Maddux and Martinez are retired, but their dimensions are virtually identical and their games/approaches are pretty similar as well).

    Reply
  2. Steve Novosel

    “As such, U.S. evaluators may have some concerns about Maeda’s ability to withstand stateside workloads.”

    Maybe I am slow, and for sure I am not expert on scouting, but how does this jibe with the constant refrain that “Japanese pitchers throw too many innings!” and “Their arms are so overworked!”

    Isn’t this stating that US workloads are heavier than Japanese workloads? What am I missing?

    Reply
    1. muratafan

      Great point. Seems a bit oxymoronic if you think about it. Tanaka = too many innings => overworked and will hurt his arm.

      Maeda = too little innings => UNDERworked and will hurt his arm do to overwork n MLB.

      Maybe they think Tanaka’s long term viability is questionable (ala Daisuke), but that Maeda will peter out within one year.

      The key to me is this: if you look at innings pitched, Tanaka pitched > 200 innings only twice in 7 years…and he just turned 25. I am not really buying the too many pitches theory for Tanaka. I think too many people saw the ’160 pitches in the Nippon Series, followed by another outing the next day’ and freaked out. Sometimes I think American sportwriters forget that NPB pitchers pitch once a week….and have 18 fewer games than MLB.

      For comparison, Maeda has pitched over 200 innings 3 times in six years. Too funny.

      Reply
  3. IM

    Signing any pitcher to a big contract is a risk, even big guys like Clayton Kershaw and Felix Hernandez. Felix threw almost as many MLB innings as Tanaka has done in NPB prior to age 25. I have no more concern for Tanaka’s arm than any other pitcher of his age. His build is pretty similar to Hiroki Kuroda who’s still cranking out 200 inning seasons in his late 30′s.
    As Steve said confusing statement in Perry’s article, the better question is: will Maeda’s arm hold up an either league? Maybe he’s concerned about him having less recovery time between starts in the MLB and that cost over the length of the season, but he doesn’t explain

    Reply

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