Kenta Maeda: NPB History’s Youngest Triple Crown Pitcher
Pitching has been a critical element in baseball. While a layman may see the act of throwing a ball towards opponent is simple enough, literally anybody can do it. However, despite the simplicity seen with the act, to be considered an effective pitcher is not just to make strikeouts after strikeouts but also of the metric so-called wins and earned run average (ERA).
A triple crown pitch happens when a player leads the ranking based on these three factors, all in a single season.
In Japan, there is only one player in its baseball league’s history who holds the record as one who is youngest in attaining pitching triple crown, the name is a legend among his peers: Kenta Maeda, former player in the Nippon Professional Baseball and now player for the Major League Baseball.
As a play of words based on his name, Kenta is popularly known also for his nickname “Maeken” (from MAEda KENta).
Back then player for the Hiroshima Tokyo Carp, Maeda made his first professional debut in 2008. Throughout his 7-year career in the Nippon Professional Baseball league, his most notable years were in 2010 and 2015 when he won the Eiji Sawamura Award for his pitches.
It is also during his stay with the Hiroshima Tokyo Carp that he earned the recognition as the youngest professional baseball player to hold the Triple Crown.
While consequently be flying to the US to play for the MLB via the so-called posting system, Kenta first tried to assess his pitching skill against international hitters by joining the 2013 World Baseball Classic where he represented the Japanese National Baseball Team.
By 2016, Maeda was already in the Major League Baseball playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers after signing an 8-year contract amounting to $25 million but with the potential to reach $90 million should he make the incentives based on the contract.
Maeda begun his debut at the Major League Baseball in August 6, 2016.
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