When you sign a veteran pitcher from overseas, you do expect to get some type of early return out of him since he’s able to adjust a little bit easier than some of the younger guys are able to. With Kenta Maeda of the Los Angeles Dodgers, something very particular stands out about his adjustment to the big leagues.
That main takeaway, at least so far, is his pitchability. Maeda is able to control the tempo of an at-bat simply by knowing what pitch to throw and when to throw it. It’s a very rare elite trait in the game of baseball. Some pitchers have it, but most really don’t. At least not to a great degree.
Roberts said Maeda’s pitchability is “off the charts,” noticing the righty is now shaking off catchers’ signals to select a preferred pitch. Roberts praised Maeda’s in-bat adjustments and envisioned more improvement during the season, when Maeda will be armed with extensive scouting reports on opposing hitters.
Think about this for a second. Maeda is barely a month into his big league career, which, while it is just spring training, is pretty ridiculous. He’s already shaking off the catcher to get the pitch that he’s comfortable with throwing. It speaks volumes about his mindset and mental makeup.
Once Maeda is given the scouting reports on hitters that the team supplies pitchers with all season long, there’s no telling what he might be capable of doing out there on the mound. Sure, there will be some rough spots here and there, but it sounds like Maeda could have a downright special season.
As it stands, the Dodgers need a viable number two pitcher behind ace Clayton Kershaw. Whether that’s Scott Kazmir or Kenta Maeda makes no difference. However, it does sound as if Maeda is the one who is slowly starting to figure things out at a faster rate. That’s pretty darn huge right now.
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