Tampa Bay Rays vs. New York Yankees: Who Has the Best No. 3 Starter?

Masahiro Tanaka (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Masahiro Tanaka (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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Masahiro Tanaka (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

Yankees – Masahiro Tanaka

2019 Stats

4.45 ERA // 1.24 WHIP // 182.0 IP // 149 Ks // 2.0 BB9 // 7.4 K9

Masahiro Tanaka has been with the Yankees since 2014 when he arrived from Japan to much hoopla. He lived up to the hype with a 2.77 ERA and an All-Star appearance. Over his six years in pinstripes, he’s posted a career 3.75 ERA with two seasons with an ERA+ above 125 (2014 and 2016).

Tanaka made his second All-Star appearance last season for the Yankees. His K-rate was over nine per nine innings in his first major league season. Last year it was 7.4 per nine. Tanaka seems a lot older than 31 and has dealt with a lot of nagging injuries over his career.

2020 Outlook

Tanaka has battled throughout his career and gained a reputation as a good postseason pitcher. The Yankees are no longer asking him to be an ace, but I’m sure they’d like to see the ERA head in the other direction.

Tanaka still possesses a very good command of the strike zone. Tanaka’s sinker induced 47.5% groundballs. He is set to become a free agent after this season.

Steamer Projections

2.5 fWAR // 4.54 ERA // 1.29 // 183.0 IP // 160 Ks // 2.1 BB9 // 7.9 K9

Steamer is projecting Tanaka to continue with his command, but his velocity diminishing over the past few seasons* he will continue to pitch to contact with a low walk rate.

In 2017 his four-seam fastball averaged 92.9 miles per hour, last season it was down to 91.7 miles per hour.

According to Fangraphs he only had one pitch (slider) rated with a positive value in 2019.