Rich Hill thinks Kenta Maeda is a future Cy Young winner

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October 22nd, 2020

Rich Hill has been around his fair share of Cy Young winners in his 16-year major league career. The crafty lefty broke in with Chicago, where he learned at the feet of the incomparable Greg Maddux, he played in Boston with Rick Porcello, and spent four seasons in Los Angeles with future Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw.

Hill understands what it takes to win baseball’s top pitching award, and strongly believes Minnesota ace Kenta Maeda is a future Cy Young winner.

Hill recently sat down with BetAmerica ambassador Glendon Rusch to sing the praises of his Twins teammate.

"With a full season next year he is one of my favorites to win the Cy Young in the American League," he said. "The reason why I say that is that he has almost reinvented himself. His ability and his pitch ability have gone through the roof."

Hill declined to specify how Maeda had altered his mechanics and approach, but whatever he did seems to be working. One year after going 10-8 with a 4.04 ERA in L.A., the Japanese phenom went 6-1 with a 2.70 ERA and a league-leading 0.750 WHIP during his first season in Minnesota. Maeda surrendered two runs or fewer in seven of his starts in 2020, and scattered just two hits over five innings in his lone postseason appearance against the Astros.

"It didn’t matter this year whether it was a lefty or a righty," Hill marvelled. "I was so impressed with just the conviction he had behind every pitch."

Maeda is signed to Minnesota for three more years, while the well-traveled Hill is set to become a free agent following the 2020 World Series.

Listen to Glendon’s full conversation with Rich Hill on The Rusch Hour here.