Even though Kenta Maeda has been regarded as one of the top starting pitchers in Japan's NPB over the last several years, he doesn't have the sexy, front-of-the-rotation profile of Tanaka.
Although he's a 6'0", 160-pound right-hander with a fastball that rarely eclipses 90 mph, Maeda still is able to baffle opposing hitters thanks to deception in his delivery and plus command of a deep arsenal.
More specifically, the 25-year-old features both a two- and four-seam fastball that grade out as below-average offerings in terms of velocity, though the two-seamer does have some late run to the arm side.
In terms of secondary arsenal, Maeda throws a slider that registers in the upper-70s with significant movement, albeit of the sweeping variety, down and to his glove side. He also throws a second breaking ball, a curveball, that averages roughly 70 mph with a huge vertical break that rivals that of Barry Zito and Ted Lilly's, according to Clint Hulsey of I R Fast.
Maeda also mixes in a changeup that offers a nice change in pace in terms of velocity at about 82 mph, however, the pitch doesn't feature the amount of sink that one would expect from a crafty Japanese starter. Still, it's a very serviceable pitch and one that will presumably be vital toward his success against major league hitters.
MLB Player Comparison: Freddy Garcia
In the previously referenced article by Hulsey, he threw out a Freddy Garcia comp when projecting Maeda's future as a backend starter in the major leagues. And you what? I think he's dead-on.