In this 2016-17 season, another Japanese player will be expected to play an important role in Major League Baseball, USA. His name is Kenta Maeda, who is one of the most popular pitchers in Japan. Soon he will be seen to play for Los Angeles Dodgers.
Until the end of 2015 season, Kenta Maeda played for Hiroshima Toyo Carp in Nippon Professional Baseball. His fans and teammates call Kenta Maeda for his nickname “Maeken” which was adapted his full name. Many fans used to turn up to watch games wearing Maeken uniform. Sales for Maeken goods also proved how much he is popular. Maeken used to appear TV programs during off season. Although some people criticised him, Maeken said that he wanted to appeal Hiroshima Toyo Carp widely and the team had become significantly popular since Maeken joined. Maeken was chosen the most popular player by fans for 2012 Japan Professional Baseball All Star Series, which is baseball game event between players from the Central League and the Pacific League in July every year.
What is the reason Maeken is so popular? The answer is so simple. He is a great pitcher. He achieved splendid results between 2008 and 2015.
Maeken throws a mix of various pitches such as a straight of the fastest 153km / h, a drop of 110km / h, several kinds of slider, circle change, etc. His ball control ability is outstanding. Total given four-ball rate has been recorded 1.90. Maeken is able to enter immediately the pitching motion and return shot comes from the catcher. Not only physically but also he is proud of his psychological toughness. He was recorded he pitched over 200 innings in three consecutive years since 2010. After starting rotation fixing, he usually was a starting pitcher of 30 games a year. Maeken also has excellent batting and fielding. He has a good reputation particularly for his handling bunt.
He won the Eiji Sawamura Award, which proved he was the league’s best pitcher, in 2010 and 2015. He also became the youngest pitcher in Japanese baseball history to achieve the pitching Triple Crown in 2010. He also achieved no-hitters in 2012 as well as he was awarded the most games won pitcher in 2010 and 2015, best defence rate in 2010, 2012, 2013, most strikeouts during 2010 to 2011.
His teammates and fans described Maeken that he is friendly and positive. His Hiroshima Toyo Carp teammates are already missing him. His fans have mixed feeling that they wish his success in Los Angeles Dodgers and they wanted Maeken to play for Hiroshima. Toyo Carp for ever. It is amazing that Hiroshima Toyo Carp fun blog still posted news related to Maeken even he is already on his training in USA. Many fans also left comment on Maeken official blog that they are going to watch Major League games when he plays in spite of time difference.
On 5th March, Maeken made his successful debut with the Dodgers. Maeken pitched two scoreless inning in 7-2 win over Arizona Diamondbacks, which impressed his new teammates, coaches and managers as well as brought relief and joy for his fans in Japan.
You cannot miss Los Angeles Dodgers games this year. It is because Maeken will definitely contribute to Dodgers’ victory. Soon you will be Maeken fan.
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