Throughout the 2016 season, the Los Angeles Dodgers rookies stepped up to help guide the team into a different routine. One of those rookies goes by the name of Kenta Maeda.

The first “WOW” factor that all Dodgers fans saw of Maeda was his first home run on his debut against the San Diego Padres.

After that moment, Maeda was the only pitcher that the Dodgers could depend on, so manager Dave Roberts’ connection with Maeda was simple.

Dodgers’ Kenta Maeda Getting Rewarded for Great Season

Maeda, 28, ended with a record of 16-11 with an ERA of 3.48, and in the win category, Maeda finished 5th in the National League. Even though Maeda did not lead any categories in the NL, his command of his pitches have progressed since his career with the national team in Japan.

Age W L ERA G GS IP BB SO
Kenta Maeda (2016) 28 16 11 3.48 32 32 175.2 50 179

Since the NL Rookie of the Year award is locked up with Dodgers rookie shortstop Corey Seager, does not mean that he was not a great candidate for the award.

Maeda’s numbers showed Dodgers fan everywhere that he the type of pitcher they want to see at the Chavez Ravine.

He has shown that he is consistent, mature, confident in his pitches, and shows everyone that there is only one King Kenta.

Below is a list of the best of the best Dodgers pitchers in their rookie seasons: 

Age W L ERA G GS IP BB SO
Hideo Nomo (1995) 26 13 6 2.54 33 33 191.1 78 236
Fernando Valenzula (1981) 20 13 7 2.48 25 25 192.1 61 180
Steve Howe (1980) 22 7 9 2.66 59 0 84.2 22 39
Rick Rutcliffe (1979) 23 17 10 3.46 39 30 242 97 117
Joe Black (1952) 28 15 4 2.15 56 2 142.1 41 85
Don Newcombe (1949) 23 17 8 3.17 38 31 244.1 73 149

In his first year with the Dodgers, Maeda cannot complain the names that he is being compared to. The names of Hideo Nomo,  Fernando Valenzuela, and Rick Sutcliffe, can only mean that Maeda will become a part of the Dodgers elite group of players.

Also, no one can forget the Cy Young winners:

  • Clayton Kershaw (2011, 2013, 2014)
  • Eric Gagne (2003)
  • Orel Hershiser (1988)
  • Fernando Valenzuela (1981)
  • Mike Marshall (1974)
  • Sandy Koufax (1963, 1965, 1966)
  • Don Drysdale (1962)
  • Don Newcombe (1956)

If Maeda continues pitching the way that he does, can he join Koufax and Kershaw in the three Cy Young club? Then Maeda will be receiving bonuses like he did in the 2016 season, and he will not be saying no to those bonuses.

King Kenta has not faced the Washington Nationals in the regular season and now Game 3 is approaching. Will he be the Dodgers hero in NLDS and continue the Dodgers success in the 2016?

He did have a home run when everyone least expected it, and he is overdue for another homer.

Like Kenta Maeda, most pitchers tend to forget how difficult it is to hit the baseball, even though they know the mechanics behind all of their pitches.

We can’t forget the the rookie hitters that shined in their rookie season.

Here is another list of the Dodgers rookies that were best in the batters’ box:

Age Games At-Bats Runs Hits Home Runs RBI BA OBP SLG
Todd Hollandsworth (1996) 23 149 478 64 139 12 59 0.291 0.348 0.437
Raul Mondesi (1994) 23 112 434 63 133 16 56 0.306 0.333 0.516
Mike Piazza (1993) 24 149 547 81 174 35 112 0.318 0.37 0.561
Eric Karros (1992) 24 149 545 63 140 20 88 0.257 0.304 0.426
Steve Sax (1982) 22 150 638 88 180 4 47 0.282 0.335 0.359
Ted Sizemore (1969) 24 159 590 69 160 4 46 0.271 0.328 0.342
Jim Lefebvre (1965) 23 157 544 57 136 12 69 0.250 0.337 0.369
Frank Howard (1960) 23 117 448 54 120 23 77 0.268 0.32 0.464
Jim Gillian (1953) 24 151 605 125 168 6 63 0.278 0.383 0.415
Jackie Robinson (1947) 28 151 590 125 175 12 48 0.297 0.383 0.427

Which past Dodgers pitcher do you see when Kenta Maeda pitches? 

Comment below.

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