Yankees Editorial: Pineda vs Tanaka Who’s The Ace?


They say all the best teams have an ace. The Dodgers have that Clayton Kershaw guy. He’s pretty good. The Mariners have Felix Hernandez. I’ve heard good things. The Nationals have 12 so that doesn’t count. The Yankees? Good question. It was CC Sabathia. Those days are long since over. Nathan Eovaldi has looked impressive this spring, but can he pitch to that level? I don’t know.

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It comes down to Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda.

With Tanaka, all spring and really for the duration of this season, you have to hold your breath with every pitch, kind of waiting for that shoe to drop. His velocity hasn’t been there, though he’s been working on that two-seam fastball to help improve his arsenal and take some stress off that UCL. Tanaka was their best pitcher last season. If he had been healthy the entire year, it is quite possible they could have made the playoffs.

That leaves us with big righty Michael Pineda. NJ.com’s Ryan Hatch made an excellent argument for Pineda being the Yankees best pitcher right now. Pineda had an excellent spring training. He struck out 23 in 19 innings, following up a dominant stretch when he came back from injury and suspension. There’s a reason why he’s the number two starter behind Tanaka.

Tanaka can be their best pitcher. If he is healthy and if he can get that arm strong enough to hold up the entire season and still has that bite to that splitter, then he can surpass Pineda. However, I can’t see it.

As I said last night on our season preview show (recap up later today), I don’t trust Sabathia and Tanaka to be healthy over the entire season. They both are going to need time off. It’s just gonna happen.

It’s Pineda’s time to shine. There’s a new ace in town. And it’s the big guy.

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