Kenta Maeda, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ prized right-handed pitcher that they signed from Japan during the offseason, threw a bullpen session today, and the players around the team, namely catcher Yasmani Grandal, started to compare him to a pitcher who just departed the team.
According to Grandal, Maeda was given praise and likened to former Dodger Zack Greinke, who happened to leave the team as a free agent this offseason and signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The reason? Well, according to Grandal, it was the mix of pitches that Maeda can throw.
“The reason I compare him to Greinke is that he’s got a four-pitch mix,” Yasmani Grandal said after catching Maeda’s two innings. “Obviously, they are two different pitchers. But you can build a game plan around four pitches and be creative, that’s the comparison.”
That’s extremely high praise. As Grandal goes on to note, Maeda hit 94-95 on the gun with his fastball on pitches up in the zone and 90-92 on fastballs down in the zone. That’s pretty good, and it gives you some idea as to what Maeda can bring to the Dodgers as a number three pitcher this year.
Maeda throws a four-seam fastball, two-seam fastball, curveball, and slider. Grandal was pleased with Maeda’s ability to work inside and outside, change speeds, and be effective against left-handed batters and right-handed batters. They should be quite the pairing this season in Los Angeles.
The talented right-hander is just 27 years old right now, and he’ll turn 28 in early April, so the Dodgers hope to have him producing greatly over the next several years, which will be his physical and career prime. Hopefully it all works out for them since Maeda’s success could have a lot to do with how far the Dodgers go not just in the regular season, but the playoffs as well.