New York Yankees 2020 Projections: Masahiro Tanaka


Masahiro Tanaka will be key for the Yankees

Masahiro Tanaka enters the last year of his contract and is poised to make the Yankees starting rotation one of the best in MLB.

Masahiro Tanaka has been one of the most dependable starting pitchers during his seven years with the New York Yankees. He was the prized offseason acquisition before the 2014 season, and since then, he was one of the best right-handed pitchers in the American League. During his time with the Yankees, Tanaka has a record of 75-43, a 3.75 ERA, and pitched in 164 games. He has also stepped up for the Yankees when it matters most in the postseason. Tanaka’s record in the postseason is 5-3 to go along with a staggering 1.76 ERA.

Tanaka has been rewarded for his stellar pitching while in a Yankees uniform during his seven-year career. Tanaka has been a two time All-Star in 2014, his rookie season, and last year in 2019.

If this is Tanaka’s last season in pinstripes, then he will have had one of the best careers for a pitcher in Yankees history. Not only will he be one of the best in Yankees history, but Tanaka will also go down as one of the best Japanese pitchers in MLB history.

The 2020 MLB season is still up in the air, but baseball will be played at some point, hopefully. The Yankees starting rotation is going to be stacked this season. Tanaka should have a strong season in 2020 especially pitching behind Gerrit Cole. Hopefully, a strong 2020 campaign for Tanaka could earn him a contract extension when the season is over, heading into 2021.

Let’s take a look at Tanaka’s potential 2020 stat line for the Yankees.

Tanaka has appeared in at least 20 games during his tenure with the Yankees. However, that was with a full 162 game schedule. Of course, due to the coronavirus outbreak, the 2020 season is going to be cut down dramatically. However, the final schedule has yet to be determined, and because June is upon us, it is safe to say that at least three months of the season canceled.

I am going to base these projections with Tanaka making between 15-20 starts in 2020. So far during his career, Tanaka’s record is .500 or better. Expect the same from Tanaka in 2020. I think that pitching behind Gerrit Cole in the rotation will affect Tanaka. Cole is pretty much a guarantee to give Aaron Boone at least eight innings, giving the bullpen a rest every five days. So, if Tanaka has a rested bullpen behind him as opposed to an overworked bullpen, then the pressure will be off for him to pitch a great game and go deep in the game. The added pressure lifted off of Tanaka’s shoulders should help him pitch well in 2020.

Tanaka’s final stat line could mirror his rookie season when he went 13-5, 2.77 ERA in 20 games. His record might not be that great as it was in 2014, but I think he can make it to double digits in wins. His ERA could very well be the same as I think he can post an ERA under three. I don’t believe that he’ll pitch many shutouts during the season because it’ll be doubtful that Boone will give the bullpen two full days rest. Also, I think he will go over 100 strikeouts as well because he has had over 100 strikeouts every season.

2020 could be Tanaka’s best season in a Yankees uniform as a shortened season should help Tanaka, who has a history with injuries. Hopefully, the season gets underway within the next month. Stay tuned for news about a possible start to the 2020 season.