Dodgers Season Grades: A Tale of Two Halves for Kenta Maeda

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 27: Pitcher Kenta Maeda #18 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches in the ninth inning of Game Four of the 2018 World Series against the Boston Red Sox at Dodger Stadium on October 27, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 27: Pitcher Kenta Maeda #18 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches in the ninth inning of Game Four of the 2018 World Series against the Boston Red Sox at Dodger Stadium on October 27, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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The Dodgers got another solid season out of Kenta Maeda in 2019.  It was a tale of two halves as Maeda was unhittable in the first half, but faded away in the second half.

In 2018, the Dodgers went into the season with a surplus of starting pitching which seems to be the usual for the last couple of seasons.  Kenta Maeda once again slotted into the bottom of the Dodger rotation and overall he had a pretty solid season.  Maeda went 8-10 but had a 3.81 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP.

Those are pretty good numbers for a fourth or fifth starter which is exactly what Kenta is.  In the first half of the season, however, he helped keep an injury-riddled Dodger rotation together.  Prior to the all-star break, Maeda pitched to a 3.12 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP.  He held opposing batters to a .227 batting average in the first half.

The second half of the season was a different story as Kenta Maeda posted a 1-5 record along with a 5.35 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP.  The opposition also fared better against him hitting .268 which was forty points higher than his average allowed in the first half of the season.  In August, Kenta’s ERA was almost six and he closed out September to an ERA over four pitching solely in a relief role.

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The second half fade is something that is becoming a bit of a trend for Maeda.  It appears that Kenta starts to wear down as the season progresses and sees a large dip in his performance.  Over the first three seasons of his career, Maeda’s second-half ERA is exactly a full run higher at 4.42 compared to 3.42 in the first half.

It would almost be best if the Dodgers used Maeda as a starter in the first half before turning him into a reliever for the second half of the season.  That would take some additional work though as Maeda has a contract that is filled with incentives based off games started and innings pitched.  Kenta did see his strikeout numbers increase in 2018 as he averaged 10.9 strikeouts per nine innings which is one strikeout higher than his career average.

The Dodgers will once again head into spring training with a surplus of starting pitchers, even if they find deals for Alex Wood and possibly Rich Hill.  The rotation figures to be Kershaw, Buehler, Ryu, Hill, and Maeda with Julio Urias starting the season in the minor leagues where his innings can be limited.

Next. Catchers the Dodgers could pair with Austin Barnes. dark

If the Dodgers do complete a deal for an upgrade like Corey Kluber then Maeda could be pushed to a bullpen role barring other trades.  As things currently stand, Kenta Maeda will be a part of the 2019 rotation and look to finish the season strong in the rotation next season.

KENTA MAEDA. B-. . Starting Pitcher. Dodgers