Maeda’s changeup came in seven ticks slower than his fastball and hit the zone just 30.9% of the time. The pitch got a 19.3% SwStr% and 47.6% O-Swing%, but just a 26.7% K%.
Maeda’s curveball hit the zone 42.2% of the time and when batters swung at the pitch they had a 100% Z-Contact%. The pitch did a decent job of limiting hard contact, allowing a 6.3% LD%.
Maeda’s fastball suffered from the juiced ball as it hit a career-high 23.7% HR/FB% en route to allowing a .241 ISO.
Maeda’s slider was a “Money Pitch”, hitting the zone 44.4% of the time, while getting a 21.8% SwStr% and 41.8% O-Swing%. All of that added up to a 34.3% K% and a career-best 35 wRC+.
The good thing about Maeda’s fastball is he can control it. It makes for an OK pitch to pair with his changeup. The problem is making sure hitters don’t get to it before he can use his changeup. Opponents liked it a lot in 2018, more than they have in Maeda’s three years with the Dodgers.
Maeda’s slider has some serious movement, which a big part of why hitters miss it almost a quarter of the time they swing at it. It’s also why he uses to late in the count frequently, helping him finish off hitters.
The changeup is how Maeda makes his money. Hitters missed it over a quarter of the time they swung at it in 2018 and didn’t find much success when they put it in play, pounding it into the ground frequently.
This hook gets some movement on it, but hitters usually see it well and don’t miss it often. That could be a result of how much it moves at times. Instead of behind late and abrupt, it could get loopy in 2018. Maeda may need to make an adjustment with it, since he uses it so often and has been a halfway decent pitch for him before.
Maeda’s sinker has some serious arm-side run to it, but it doesn’t get the job done. The lack of depth could be why hitters hit so well against it—hitting line drives as often as ground balls. Maeda didn’t throw it often in 2018, never has. He should probably keep it that way.