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From BR Bullpen
Kenta Maeda (前田 健太)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 161 lb.
- High School PL Gakuen High School
 Biographical Information
Kenta Maeda has pitched for the Hiroshima Carp.
Maeda was a first-round draft pick by the Hiroshima Carp in 2006 out of high school. After a year in the minors, he came up to the Carp in 2008. As a rookie, Maeda went 9-2 with a 3.20 ERA. He also hit .182, including a homer off Ryo Kawashima. Had he qualified, he would have tied Yuya Ando for 7th in the Central League.
In his second season, Maeda posted a 8-14, 3.36 record in 2009. Kenta was second in the league in losses, one behind Ryan Glynn. He was also third in innings (193), 3rd in hits allowed (194), 4th in homers (22), tied for 8th in complete games (3), tied Daisuke Miura for the most runs allowed (82), tied Kazuki Yoshimi for 3rd in strikeouts (147, trailing Colby Lewis and Atsushi Nomi) and tied Miura for second in earned runs allowed (72, trailing Masanori Ishikawa.
Maeda was far better in 2010, improving to 15-8 (on a 58-84 team) with a 2.21 ERA. He held opponents to a .215 average and 46 walks in 215 2/3 IP, for a WHIP under 1. He fanned 174 batters as well. He led the CL in ERA (.66 ahead of runner-up Wei-Yin Chen), innings, wins (one more than Yasutomo Kubo), complete games, strikeouts (11 more than Kyohei Muranaka), lowest opponent average and WHIP (.15 ahead of runner-up Kubo). He was second in shutouts (2, tied with Kenichi Nakata and Chen, behind Shohei Tateyama). He won the Sawamura Award (the award that goes to the top pitcher in Nippon Pro Baseball), the first Central Leaguer to do so since Kenshin Kawakami in 2004 and the first Carp hurler to win since Shinji Sasaoka in 1991.
Maeda fell to 10-12 with a 2.46 ERA in 2011, on a 60-76 club. He had a 1.02 WHIP, 192 strikeouts and 43 walks in 216 innings. While not nearly as dominant as in 2010, he was still among the CL leaders in numerous departments. He led in innings pitched and strikeouts (6 more than Nomi). He was also among the leaders in ERA (7th, between Bryan Bullington and Nomi), losses (4th, behind Kentaro Takasaki, Maximo Nelson and Minoru Iwata), wins (tied for 8th with Nelson and Ishikawa), hits (178, 3rd behind Bullington and Takasaki), complete games (4, tied for 5th with Chen and Tetsuya Utsumi), runs allowed (61, tied for 6th with Bullington), earned runs allowed (59, tied for 5th with Nelson), WHIP (5th) and opponent average (.226, 6th).
On April 6, 2012, the Hiroshima hurler tossed a no-hitter against the Yokohama DeNA BayStars. He had a perfect game through five innings and walked only two in the whitewash, a 2-0 win. It was the first NPB no-hitter in the regular season since Masahiro Yamamoto threw one in 2006.
With a three-quarters delivery Maeda throws a fastball that sits in 88-91 mph (tops out at 94 mph), change-up, occasional curveball, and a solid-average slider around 80 mph. He also has excellent command, posting a walks per nine innings rate of 1.88 in his career (until 2012 season).