It’s no secret the New York Yankees love them some Masahiro Tanaka. Why wouldn’t they? When a guy goes 24-0 at any level in any league, it’s sure to get you’re attention. The transition from NPB to MLB is going to be a bit tricky for Tanaka. If the Yankees sign him, there are some factors to consider with him in the transition.
Throwing Schedule: One of the things that Daisuke Matsuzaka struggled with when he came to the states is something Tanaka could struggle with; throwing schedule. In NPB, you pitch once a week. In MLB, it could be twice a week depending on off days. That’s something every pitcher has to get used to. Daisuke had to. Yu Darvish had to adjust as well and so will Tanaka.
Innings: Tanaka has thrown 1,315 innings in his career and will be entering his age 25 season. Let’s take a look at that in comparison with some MLB aces:
Clayton Kershaw: 1,180 innings in his entire six year career
Justin Verlander: 1,772 innings in his nine year career at age 30
David Price: 973 innings in his six year career at age 27
Felix Hernandez: 1402 innings through age 24 season (came up to majors at age 19)
He also has thrown 165 pitches in a start which you never hear about a major league pitcher doing. There is a bit of concern that he could break down at one point or another due to a ton of mileage on that right arm.
Tanaka is 25 years old and at this point, the best pitcher on the market. The Yankees, with no real big pitching prospects, need to get him. However, if he struggles early, don’t panic. In 2012, Darvish gave up five runs in his first start and went 1-3 in July. Daisuke went 15-12 his first year and then won 18 games in 2008. Tanaka will need some time to adjust and that’s okay.