The 26 year old posted a 2.56 era and a 154/50 K/BB ratio in 179 innings for the Carp in 2014. Maeda’s fastball ranges anywhere from 87-94 mph, and commands both four-seamers and two-seamers well.
Maeda’s primary secondary offering is slider, though several reports indicate that it might not translate well against more established big league hitters. He often leaves that pitch in the middle of the zone, and it is often flat.
Based on his stuff, he wasn’t projected to be a top of the rotation starter like Masahiro Tanaka, or Yu Darvish, but he had the chance to be a very successful back of the rotation starter, with room to grow.
Maeda has expressed interest since last offseason to pitch in the United States, and many thought this was the year that he would finally get the opportunity. Evidently, the Carp want to keep him in Japan.
Maeda pitched against the MLB All Stars team in the Japan All Star Series, and outdueled Matt Shoemaker of the Angels, pitching five scoreless innings in a 2-0 win for Team Samurai.
Maeda will not be an unrestricted free agent till after the 2017 season.
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So what does this news mean for the Diamondbacks? Well for starters, Dbacks General Manager Dave Stewart had a lot of interest in him, and the Snakes were thought to be one of the front-runners for his services if he was posted:
This is what Stewart told Steve Gilbert of MLB.com last month:
"“I love Maeda,” Stewart said. “I love him. We have a lot of video and film and we have people who have seen him. We think that he’s got a chance to be very successful in Major League Baseball. We’re going to try to be in on the market when he does post, if he does post.”"
Or the team could wait till next winter’s free agent pitching market when the likes of Johnny Cueto, Jordan Zimmerman, Mat Latos, and Zach Greinke could be available. Stewart has indicated that he likes next year’s free agent class better.