Thursday, January 23, 2014
Vote: Over/under on Masahiro Tanaka
By David Schoenfield
Let's do a quick little survey on Masahiro Tanaka. How do you think he'll do in 2014?
Tanaka had a 1.27 ERA in Japan but 3.20 is a pretty low figure. Only eight AL starters were below that last year. CC Sabathia, in his first four years with the Yankees from 2009 to 2012, had a 3.22 ERA, going under 3.20 twice. Yankee Stadium is a tough place. Is Tanaka better than the pre-2013 version of Sabathia? That's a pretty good pitcher. I'll take the over.
Of course, wins are team dependent, so the wins could depend on how many runs the Yankees will score? The offense was 10th in the AL in runs scored in 2013, with regulars like Lyle Overbay, Ichiro Suzuki and Vernon Wells posting sub-.300 OBPs. They've lost Robinson while adding Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran. Overall, that should be a net gain on offense but the infield is still full of question marks. I'll take the over, but just barely: 15 wins, as Tanaka should prove to be a durable innings eater who can pitch deep into games.
I'd probably pass on this bet. Wins are still important in the voting, so even if Tanaka posts that sub-3.00 ERA, he's going to have compete against pitchers like Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander who are better bets to win more games. My Cy Young pick for 2014 will probably be Yu Darvish, with Scherzer, Verlander, Chris Sale and David Price other candidates I would rank ahead of Tanaka.