Masahiro Tanaka
Masahiro Tanaka
29-Year-Old PitcherSP
New York Yankees
2018 Fantasy Outlook
Tanaka was expected to anchor the Yankees' rotation last season in advance of a big payday in free agency, but he instead opted into his contract with the team for 2018 after the bottom completely fell out in the first half. The 29-year-old's season-long numbers never completely recovered from an especially wretched May, saddling Tanaka with his worst ERA in four MLB seasons. A lack of command was the main issue, as Tanaka served up 35 homers and was frequently hit hard when he did keep the ball in the yard. Fortunately, Tanaka regained velocity and unlocked the swing-and-miss stuff he lost while pitching through elbow injuries the last two seasons, generating a 15.1-percent swinging-strike rate that ranked third among qualified starters. That bodes well for Tanaka's chances of returning to peak form for the balance of 2018, especially since he seemed to turn a corner in the second half of last season. Following the All-Star break, Tanaka submitted a 3.77 ERA while holding hitters to a .229/.267/.405 line. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
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$Signed a seven-year, $155 million contract with the Yankees in January of 2014. Contract includes player options for 2018, 2019 and 2020.
Surrenders five earned
PNew York Yankees
September 20, 2018
Tanaka allowed five earned runs on eight hits and no walks while striking out three across four innings Thursday against the Red Sox. He did not factor into the decision.
ANALYSIS
Tanaka never got comfortable on the mound, allowing at least one earned run in three of the four innings he completed. It was his highest earned run total since August 10, and the first time he has not worked at least five innings in his last eight outings. That said, it should be expected that he bounces back in his next start, likely to come Monday at Tampa Bay.
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Pitching Stats
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Minor League Game Log
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2016
 
 
-3%
BAA vs LHP
2018
 
 
-5%
BAA vs LHP
2017
 
 
-3%
BAA vs LHP
2016
 
 
-1%
BAA vs RHP
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2016vs Left .238 967 230 46 216 42 2 34
Since 2016vs Right .245 1185 281 65 270 64 0 46
2018vs Left .225 258 64 15 53 10 0 7
2018vs Right .236 337 88 19 74 20 0 16
2017vs Left .252 319 87 17 75 11 0 16
2017vs Right .261 433 107 24 105 31 0 19
2016vs Left .237 390 79 14 88 21 2 11
2016vs Right .235 415 86 22 91 13 0 11
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2016
 
 
-9%
ERA at Home
2018
 
 
-10%
ERA on Road
2017
 
 
-50%
ERA at Home
2016
 
 
-39%
ERA on Road
ERA WHIP IP W L SV K/9 BB/9 HR/9
Since 2016Home 3.57 1.11 256.0 21 11 0 9.4 1.8 1.3
Since 2016Away 3.91 1.16 268.0 18 10 0 8.2 2.0 1.5
2018Home 3.66 1.27 66.1 5 5 0 8.8 2.4 1.1
2018Away 3.31 0.94 81.2 7 0 0 9.6 1.8 1.7
2017Home 3.22 1.01 95.0 9 5 0 10.6 1.5 1.4
2017Away 6.48 1.50 83.1 4 7 0 8.9 2.7 2.2
2016Home 3.86 1.09 95.2 7 1 0 8.5 1.6 1.2
2016Away 2.34 1.07 104.0 7 3 0 6.5 1.6 0.8
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Stat Review
How does Masahiro Tanaka compare to other starting pitchers?
This section compares his stats with all starting pitcher seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 120 innings). The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.
K/BB
4.56
 
K/9
9.2
 
BB/9
2.0
 
HR/9
1.4
 
Fastball
91.7 mph
 
ERA
3.67
 
WHIP
1.11
 
BABIP
.289
 
GB/FB
1.61
 
Strand %
73.8%
 
Advanced Pitching Stats
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Defensive Stats
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Stats Vs Today's Lineup
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2010
Tanaka has perpetually been on injury watch since electing to forgo Tommy John surgery in 2014 and pitching through a partially torn UCL, and although he was shut down for the final week of the season with a slight forearm strain, the team's ace made it through 199.2 innings and 31 starts in 2016. He ranked third in the American League among qualified starters in ERA (3.07), fifth in WHIP (1.08), and was fourth in K/BB (4.6). The Japanese import showed some personal improvement keeping the ball in the yard - a problem that plagued him in 2015 - and posted a career-best 14 wins. There were some aspects of his game that left something to be desired, as he struck out batters at a career-low rate and walked them at a career-high clip, but the season mostly trended in the right direction. The injury specter will continue to hang over him, but as long as he's healthy, Tanaka figures to have another productive campaign in 2017.
There were major concerns around Tanaka entering 2015 and while he didn’t make it through unscathed (late-Apr. DL stint for forearm strain cost him a month-plus), he was upright and pitching well for three quarters of the season. He didn’t need the Tommy John surgery that many believe is inevitable so a lot of the same concerns will linger again this year. Tanaka did have his right elbow scoped for bone spurs in October, but the partial tear remains. His performance was a few ticks worse in the spots one would expect: fewer strikeouts, more home runs. Otherwise, he was the same very good pitcher we saw in 2014. Sometimes it’s lazy to just take the average of two seasons as a guideline for expectations, but it works here. Both of Tanaka’s seasons have included great fundamental skills, a bit of a home run issue, and a substantial DL stint. Prospective owners should plan for more of the same until we see something different.
Tanaka came in with exorbitant expectations and actually found a way to outdo them, taking the league by storm with a 2.10 ERA in his first 16 starts. His next two starts were uncharacteristically poor outings and eventually resulted in elbow inflammation that sidelined him for the next two and a half months. He somehow avoided what felt like an inevitable trip under the knife and returned for a pair of late-September starts, though the second of them was a shellacking in Boston. Now with a potential Tommy John surgery hanging over his head, Tanaka will again be one of the most polarizing players at the draft table, albeit for markedly different reasons this time around. Drafting him sight unseen will require a significant discount, but even seeing him in spring training won’t alleviate the worry surrounding him in 2015. Tread cautiously. The payoff is high, but the price won’t always be lowered enough to take the risk.
Tanaka, the top pitcher in Japan last season, agreed to a seven-year, $155 million contract to play for the Yankees in 2014. When Tanaka signed his 2013 contract with Rakuten in the Japanese Pacific League, he expressed his desire to move to MLB prior to qualifying for free agency. He went on to have a legendary 2013 season, going 24-0 and leading the Rakuten to its first NPB championship. His video game numbers (24-0, 1.27 ERA and 183:32 K:BB in 212 IP) in 2013 are well documented, but what might get overlooked is that those numbers aren't really out of the ordinary for Tanaka. In 2012 he missed a few starts with some muscle strains, but he still managed a 1.87 ERA in 173 IP, with 169 strikeouts against just 19 walks. Tanaka passes the eyeball tests as well. He is a sturdy 6-2, 200, and features three pitches that project as above average: a fastball that runs from 90-96 mph, a sharp splitter at 85-90 mph and a sweeping slider. His only concerns are his workload in Japan -- Tanaka threw 160 pitches in Game 6 of the Japan Series before closing the clincher -- and a strikeout rate that has dropped in each of the last three seasons, from 9.6 K/9 in 2011 to 7.8 in 2013, but those aspects appear minor given his body of work. While Tanaka's new home park isn't the best environment for a pitcher, it hasn't limited fellow Japanese native Hiroki Kuroda from having two strong season in the Bronx. All signs point to Tanaka also making a strong transition to MLB.
Tanaka may be the best pitcher in Japan after going 10-4 with a 1.87 ERA and 169:19 K:BB ratio in 172 innings last season. He told his team he wants to play in MLB and the Rakuten Eagles could post him after the 2013 season. He'll be just 24 years old next season, so he could be a major impact player in MLB and worth adding in keeper leagues where allowed.
Tanaka may be Japanese baseball's best young prospect. The 21 year-old got off to a roaring 7-0 start to the 2009 season, and eventually finished at 15-6 with a 2.33 ERA. Tanaka has always had an electric arm, and learned how to dominate with it this season. Still, we may not see him come to the U.S. until at least 2016.
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Tosses six shutout innings, fans eight
PNew York Yankees
September 14, 2018
Tanaka (12-5) threw six scoreless innings Friday, allowing four hits and two walks while striking out eight as he notched the win over Toronto.
ANALYSIS
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Dominates over eight innings
PNew York Yankees
September 7, 2018
Tanaka (11-5) tossed eight shutout innings in a win over the Mariners on Friday. He allowed only three hits with no walks and stuck out 10.
ANALYSIS
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Spins seven effective frames in win
PNew York Yankees
September 1, 2018
Tanaka (10-5) struck out six and recorded the victory by throwing seven innings, allowing just one run on seven hits and one walk against the Tigers on Saturday.
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Fans seven, saddled with loss
PNew York Yankees
August 27, 2018
Tanaka (9-5) allowed four runs on 10 hits and one walk while striking out seven over seven innings as he took the loss Monday against the White Sox.
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Delivers quality start in no-decision
PNew York Yankees
August 21, 2018
Tanaka allowed one run on four hits and one walk across six innings in a no-decision Tuesday against the Marlins. He struck out four.
ANALYSIS
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