Feb
11

Masahiro Tanaka Links: Transition, Scouting Report, Igawa, Quotes

By
(Koji Watanabe/Getty)

(Koji Watanabe/Getty)

In about an hour, the Yankees will (finally) introduce Masahiro Tanaka with a press conference on Yankee Stadium. As you may have already heard, he spent nearly $200k to charter a massive Boeing 787 from Tokyo to New York over the weekend, which the New York Post is already trying to turn into a controversy. If you’re not going to use your $155M contract to charter 787s around the globe, well then I just don’t get the point of it all. Here are some stray Tanaka links from around the web.

The Transition From NPB To MLB

Buster Olney (subs. req’d) had some really great stuff about the transition from NPB to MLB in his blog today. The whole thing is worth reading, but the most important takeaway is that Tanaka has already embraced the Yankees’ throwing program as he prepares to go from starting every seven days to every five days.

“This is not something unusual. It’s like a guy moving from the AL to the NL. He’s going from 20 to 25 starts to 32, and you’re forced to work and make adjustments,” said Brian Cashman. “You can’t make someone do something they’re not comfortable doing. That would be doomed for failure.”

We’ve already heard that Tanaka was using an MLB ball during his between-starts bullpen sessions last year, but Olney says teams were impressed with the quality of his splitter with the MLB ball during the World Baseball Classic last spring. Daisuke Matsuzaka had trouble throwing his splitter over here and it essentially took away his best pitch. Make sure you check out Olney’s post, it’s well worth the read.

Scouting Reports

Tim Dierkes polled several non-Yankees officials who have extensively scouted Tanaka, and in general they are very optimistic. More than I expected, really. They all agreed he has three better than average big league pitches — one evaluator said they like his slider more than his splitter — and an extra gear for his fastball in tight spots. At least one deemed him a number one starter.

“He pitches inside, he doesn’t pitch away from contact a lot,” said one evaluator. “Some guys in Japan, they’re not as aggressive. He has more of a Western style that he’s not afraid to go up and in, he’s not afraid to pitch inside. He pitches kind of with a little chip on his shoulder.”

He’s Not Kei Igawa

This goes without saying, but Jack Moore went through the trouble of writing it up anyway. Tanaka and Igawa have pretty much nothing in common outside of their nationally, as Tanaka was a considerably better pitcher in Japan with better stuff. There is no comparison statistically — Jack didn’t mention that Igawa’s inferior stats also came in Japan’s DH-less league — and the idea that Tanaka will be another Igawa is click bait at best and intellectually dishonest at worst. Tanaka might be a total bust, it could happen, but if he does, it won’t be for the same reason as Igawa, who simply lacked the stuff for the big leagues.

Some Quotes

Nothing really groundbreaking here, but the Japan Times has some quotes from Tanaka before he left for New York over the weekend. “I’ve heard that the New York media can be severe,” he joked, “but I don’t want to be overly concerned about what’s going on around me. I would rather focus on the things I need to do.”

Categories : Links
  • Dalek Jeter

    If anybody is interested in a little more: http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/.....anaka.html

    Basically, 4 scouts (who scouted Tanaka) say that the innings aren’t as big of a concern as people are making them out to be, that he has 3 plus to plus plus pitches, and that he has the potential to be anywhere from the 15th-25th best starter in baseball with one scout saying that he is a potential ace and should compete for the Cy Young.

    • I’m One

      Interesting piece. I’m sure most would be thrilled if he’s 15th-25th best starter in baseball. That’s either a #1 or strong #2 starter. If he lives up to that, he’ll be well worth the contract.

    • jsbrendog

      this was a nice little piece but the glaring editing issues and typos made me want to stop a couple times.

      plus I don’t like how they keep posting it to the top of the page every few hours, but hey, all about hits.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        I keep on thinking it’s been updated, but no.

    • jjyank

      Yeah, I saw that earlier. Very excited to watch his starts and see if he can live up to that. I’d love a top 25 starter in baseball.

  • Kvothe

    Luckily for him, if there are negative headlines here, he won’t be able to read them.

  • Dalek Jeter

    “If you’re not going to use your $155M contract to charter 787s around the globe, well then I just don’t get the point of it all.”

    I agree completely. The same way that if you have a giant penthouse or mansion you don’t have at least one room (preferably a Scrooge McDuck-ian vault) that is only accessible through secret door…then what is even the point of having that mansion/penthouse.

    • The Great Gonzo

      Or a miniature giraffe. Got to have a miniature giraffe, and name it Matsui.

      #Opulence

      • Dalek Jeter

        I’d prefer an Ocelot. Preferably named Baboo or Buyer’s Remorse.

        • The Great Gonzo

          Hahaha. Perfect!

        • jjyank

          Nailed it!

    • pat

      And while we’re at it, why not commission a painting of yourself as a centaur?

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Who and what did he fit in a 787, though? That’s a hell of a lot of plane.

      • Dalek Jeter

        Apparently him, his wife, a few friends, his agent, and his dog.

        • The Great Gonzo

          The Entourage!

          #TheAsianPacmanJones

          • jjyank

            The Asian Vinnie Chase!

        • I’m a looser and a trader baby so why don’t you kill me?

          I heard 20 people. If true, and considering that (real) first class seats on these Asia-> NY flights are thousands and thousands of dollars apiece, it’s not that big a premium for what surely must’ve been a wonderful experience.

          Don’t know the Tokyo route myself but various Singapore Air routes have $10,000 (!!!!!) fares where you get your own little private cabin. Mile High Club FTMFW!!!

    • PettitteMariano

      I wish my first impression of this guy wasn’t connected to his burning obscene amount of fossil fuels to just to avoid having to sit next to other people on a flight

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        Your favorite actor/singer/politician does it five times a week and you don’t know about it.

        • LK

          If other people do it, it must be OK!

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            Way to miss the point.

      • jjyank

        I’d be willing to bet that you’d do something similar at some point if you just signed a contract guaranteeing you $155 million.

        • PettitteMariano

          You’d be wrong but that’s OK. I’m pretty careful about my carbon footprint but that’s just me. Congrats to Tanaka and I hope he has a great Yanks career, I just think there’s something to be said for at least considering the environment when possible.

          • Mr. Roth

            I read a report that his original plan was to have his entourage row him over to the US in a galley, but he wasn’t going to make it in time for spring training because of some problem with tidal currents shifting.

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              If one were to sit down and actually consider his actual alternatives, I wonder what the most environmentally efficient way of getting here would be.

    • jjyank

      Yup. Not to mention his wife is a famous pop star who probably makes good money herself. Not seeing the controversy in a young, extremely wealthy couple chartering their own plane. Excessive, being a freaking 787? Yeah, I guess. But when you’re making obscene money, you might as well spend lavishly.

      Also, I really freaking want a secret door somewhere.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        I’d find a MUCH cooler plane.

        • jjyank

          True, though the amount of space they had available to them must have been pretty sweet.

          • I’m One

            On a flight that long, you want all the room you can get.

  • Darren

    Would you take Scott Sanderson level of production?

    I hate to say it but I would. Hell Sanderson was the ace of the Yanks for a while!

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Or a 2014 Scott Sizemore level of production. BOOM.

  • Chip Rodriguez

    Press conference just starting now on mlb.com

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    Tanaka with the “this is the coolest thing EVEH” face on.

    Sadly, Randy Levine has the same face as well.

    • Chip Rodriguez

      think Randy was just reading his email?

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        “Hi, Masahiro. I’m Randy. Can we be friends?”

        • Chip Rodriguez

          *emails from A-Rod fall into spam folder*

        • The Great Gonzo

          Facebook: ‘You and Randy Levine are now friends. Go see his Timeline’

    • Dalek Jeter

      Hal looks so confused. He apparently has no idea where to be looking.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        “Wow. I wonder who’s paying for all this.”

        • Dalek Jeter

          “I paid an arm and a leg for that craft services table, who the hell’s idea was it that it be on the other side of the room. I want one of those pigs in a blanket. ANTHONY MCCARON YOU TOUCH ONE OF THOSE AND I’LL KILL YOU!”

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    TANAKA ROCKING THE ENGLISH.

  • JOhnC

    “I’ve heard this place can be harsh to you at times”

    LOL!! WOnder if someone told him about Mike Axisa and this forum.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      “I very much want to impress forensic.”

      • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

        Hahahaha

      • The Great Gonzo

        OK everybody. Go home, Jorge won the Internet.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          He still lives in his mother’s basement.

          • I’m a looser and a trader baby so why don’t you kill me?

            Pollyanna.

  • Farewell Mo

    I wonder if the reason he chartered a jet that huge was to bring over his Matsuian sized pornography collection to the U.S.

    • jjyank

      Well played.

  • willie w

    how does the post know he spent $195K ? in the same article they say it might have been free in exchange for publicity.
    don’t trust we know all the facts

  • TWTR

    I can’t believe the media asked him such ridiculously dumb questions.

    • Dalek Jeter

      Are you ready to face real latin players?

      /facepalm.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        He was probably referring to the Great Gonzo.

        • jjyank

          He’s totally been screening Kei Igawa’s calls all day.

        • The Great Gonzo

          I think I’m flattered? Oh well, Imma go with it….

          Tanaka, here’s a scouting report. Don’t throw him the eephus. Give him the heater.

    • Hawkeye

      +100

  • dkidd

    is his wife at the press conference?

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      She was not.

      • jjyank

        It’s only because Cashman ran out of flowers.

        • I’m a looser and a trader baby so why don’t you kill me?

          No. Derek was out of gift baskets.

          • jjyank

            I refuse to believe that our Captain could ever run out of gift baskets.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            Damn you, Darren.

            • Mr. Roth

              Greg Maddux was at the press conference???

              • Jorge Steinbrenner

                I’ve lost the Internet to you.

  • TWTR

    I was impressed by his presence.

  • I’m a looser and a trader baby so why don’t you kill me?

    This thread is teh lulz.

    • jjyank

      Aren’t ones like this just way more fun than the ones where everyone bitches for 100 comments?

      #teampollyanna

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      http://www.irenesinternet.com/.....olines.jpg (SFW)

      My best TSJC imitation reply.

      • jjyank

        I legit lol’ed.

      • Macho Man “Randy Levine”

        That was very TSJC.

  • Yankee$ (Formerly Pseudoyanks)

    I think Pineda just gave the First “Best Shape Of My Life” comment for the Spring. Ah, Baseball…

    • The Great Gonzo

      Nope, Panda’s Instagram did it first…