International News: Japan's Kenta Maeda could be posted this winter

Koji Watanabe

While uncertainty still surrounds Masahiro Tanaka, another top NPB pitcher could be headed to America.

Hiroshima Carps' pitcher Kenta Maeda has expressed his desire to play in the U.S. and could be posted this winter, according to Ben Badler or Baseball America.

The 25-year-old right-hander told Japanese reporters that he has wanted to play in the majors for some time but that his trip to the 2013 World Baseball Classic increased that desire. Meada was 2-1 in the tournament with a 0.60 ERA over 15 innings and he led the WBC with 18 strikeouts.

Badler quotes one international scouting director who says that Maeda's team will not have the same resrvations about posting the star pitcher that the Ratukan Golden Eagles have expressed concerning Japan's top pitcher, Masahiro Tanaka.

"If it's 100 percent from him, I think Hiroshima is definitely on board [snip]They can see the finances behind it."

According to the Baseball America writer, Maeda projects as a number-four starter in the majors and can transition to that role immediately if posted and signed. He gives this scouting report-

"Maeda is a slightly-built 6 feet, 160 pounds and throws around 87-93 mph with good sink and run, though he doesn't get great angle on his fastball. He's a good athlete, which helps him repeat his delivery and thrive when his command, which can be plus at times, is on point. Maeda doesn't have one knockout secondary pitch, but he has a solid-average slider and mixes in a curveball and a changeup as well."

In this video from the Wold Baseball Classic, Maeda shows several of those pitches on his way to striking out nine hitters from a respectable Netherlands' lineup that featured Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons, former-Braves star Andruw Jones and Red Sox top prospect Xander Bogaerts.

There are still issues with the new posting system to be finalized between Nippon Professional Baseball and Major League Baseball, so there is no timetable for any posting at this point. When the deal is finalized, it appears that another intriguing arm could be headed to America for the 2014 season.

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