MINNEAPOLIS - Kenta Maeda turned out to be the top acquisition for the Minnesota Twins other than Josh Donaldson last off-season, and now he’s a finalist for the American League Cy Young Award.
His competition is Cleveland's Shane Bieber, and Hyun-Jin Ryu of the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Twins acquired Maeda in a trade that sent Brusdar Graterol to the L.A. Dodgers. While Graterol now has a World Series ring, Maeda did start Game 1 of the AL Wild Card series against the Houston Astros.
Maeda became one of the Twins’ best pitchers in the 60-game season, especially with Michael Pineda out serving a suspension until the last 21 games. Maeda finished 6-1 in 11 starts with a 2.70 earned run average. He had 80 strikeouts and issued just 10 walks in 66 2/3 innings. In his only postseason start, he pitched five innings against the Astros, didn’t allow a run, struck out five and walked three.
Maeda also took a no-hitter into the ninth inning this season before giving up a bloop single.
The AL Cy Young Award winner will be announced Nov. 11. Bieber is the favorite. The Twins haven’t had a finalist since Johan Santana won it in 2006.