The major free agent splash this off-season was when the New York Yankees signed Japanese starter Masahiro Tanaka. The right-hander signed a massive seven-year, $155 million contract with the Yanks and he has been flying up fantasy baseball charts ever since.
Tanaka was the first player to benefit from the new posting system. Now that the posting fee has been completely settled at a reasonable $20 million many more of his countrymen will follow his path to the states.
Among all the country’s young hurlers, the next star to come over to the states will be starter Kenta Maeda.
Maeda has already started to draw vast attention from major league scouts. He is under contract for one more year with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, but all indications are that he will come over during the 2015 off-season. He will instantly become one of the top targets in next year’s free agent class, and considering Maeda’s age (25), another whopping contract will likely be coming his way.
In 2012, Maeda threw 175.2 innings with a 2.10 ERA and 0.962 WHIP. It wasn’t as impressive as Tanaka’s 27-0 record in his final NPB season, but it is certainly major league quality. He has displayed a deadly fastball and even has the ability to mix in two deadly off-speed pitches. Maeda has workhorse written all over him.
Maeda will be a decent SP4 next fantasy season and will be worth grabbing now in any type of dynasty league. He won’t be on many people’s radar this early in the season, so take advantage of his lack of press and add the future superstar right now for cheap.