When the Japanese import announced that he would be signing with the Yankees. I can remember how sports analysts questioned the decision. Some questioned whether he was worth the $155 million the Yankees spent on him, some pointed to the fact that Tanaka having a huge amount of innings in Japan could lead to injury.
“He’s good but he’s not Yu Darvish” one analyst said. Pretty much the nicest thing I can recall hearing about Tanaka before the season, was that he would be a solid number two or three starter in the Yankees’ rotation. 10 wins and a whole lot of frustrated batters later, Masahiro Tanaka is not only the Yankees’ ace, but he may very well be the best pitcher in baseball!
Tanaka ranks in the top 10 in almost every major pitching category; his 10 wins is tied for first with Mark Buehrle, his 2.02 ERA is ranked 3rd in the bigs, and his .216 opponent avg. is ranked 7th in baseball, but those are just numbers.
What’s even more impressive than the stats, is how Tanaka is putting the team on his back. The Yankees had gone through a long stretch, where it seemed like they couldn’t put more than 3 or 4 runs on the board. Time after time, Tanaka was able to bail out the slumping offense with his shutdown performances.
It’s clear Tanaka is a fierce competitor and every time he takes the hill, someone’s lineup is going to be in for a long day. There are not many pitchers who takeover games completely the way Tanaka does. He’s got poise, he’s got nasty stuff, but most of all he’s got grit.
Thats why Masahiro Tanaka is currently the best pitcher in baseball!