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When is Kenta Maeda Coming Back? Fantasy Baseball Injury Return Update

Kenta Maeda - fantasy baseball rankings pitchers draft sleepers MLB injury news

Kenta Maeda inked a two-year pact with the Tigers this season, looking to build off a strong second half with the Minnesota Twins following a triceps injury in the 2023 season.

After working to a 5.80 ERA across 45 first-half innings, Maeda turned in a tidy 3.03 ERA alongside a healthy 21.3% K-BB% across 59 1/3 innings in the season's second half. Unfortunately, that second-half success hasn't translated to Detroit, where he sports a 6.75 ERA across seven starts before hitting the 15-day injured list due to an illness.

A 15-day stint on the IL with an illness is a rare one, so let's look into Maeda's status and what fantasy managers can expect upon his return.

Be sure to check all of our fantasy baseball lineup tools and weekly lineup resources:

 

Kenta Maeda Injury Update for Fantasy Baseball

Chris McCosky of The Detroit News reports that Maeda is expected to throw his first bullpen session since hitting the injured list on Wednesday.

The news doesn't exactly come as a surprise. The veteran isn't dealing with any arm injury or injury in general and likely just needs some time and rest to get his energy back up to game level. A minimum stay on the injured list seems to be the likeliest of scenarios in this case.

 

Kenta Maeda Fantasy Baseball Outlook

Maeda is a pitcher who has long posted ERA figures above his peripherals. While that is the case this season, his peripherals remain subpar with red flags across the board.

His 4.70 xFIP and 4.62 SIERA are both roughly two runs below his surface ERA, even if they aren't anything to write home about themselves. His average exit velocity and hard-hit rate both rank in the 67th percentile or above, as per Statcast. His fastball velocity is down and he isn't generating whiffs, especially with his patented splitter, a pitch he needs to succeed.

The results have been a decreased 17.2% K% that sits miles below his 26.4% career mark and the 27.3% clip he posted a season ago. Of course, a 2.64 HR/9 clip isn't doing him any favors, but also doesn't come as a surprise considering he sits in the 12th percentile in barrel rate alongside a 43.4% fly-ball rate that sits above his 38.3% career mark. Not a great recipe for suppressing the gopher ball.

Last season was a fine example of how quickly things can turn after a stint on the IL. At the same time, there isn't much to support a successful return, even if some positive regression should be had.

The wise move for fantasy managers would be to give the 36-year-old the benefit of the doubt considering his track record. However, keeping a close eye on his first couple of starts would also be prudent before deciding his future on your roster.



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