There’s a lot we don’t know about Masahiro Tanaka. This much is apparent however: the Japanese right-hander is 20-0 with a 1.24 ERA in Japan’s Pacific League he may jump to MLB this winter and the Toronto Blue Jays are among the big-league teams intrigued by his potential. With the off-season approaching quickly here’s a guide to Tanaka his skills and his prospective suitors: Essential Facts: Age: 24 (25 in November) Throws: Right Height: 6’2” Weight: 205 pounds Team: Rakuten Golden Eagles of Japan’s Pacific League 2013 stats: 20-0 1.24 ERA 7.7 K/9 1.3 BB/9 in 181 innings Career stats: 2.32 ERA 8.5 K/9 1.9 BB/9 in seven seasons Status: If the Eagles post Tanaka he will be available to MLB teams through the same process that led to Yu Darvish’s contract with the Texas Rangers. However the Eagles may decide not to post Tanaka. Representation: As of late last month MLB agencies were still vying to represent Tanaka should he transition to North America. Repertoire: Tanaka relies on a fastball that sits in the low 90 m.p.h. range and can touch 96 m.p.h. according to Baseball America’s Ben Badler. The right-hander also throws a splitter that’s well above-average Badler reported. Some MLB scouts view him as a No. 2 starter who could help at the big-league level immediately. Why he appeals to MLB teams: Tanaka has dominated the opposition in Japan and according to Badler his stuff intrigues MLB teams. A 20-0 record and 1.24 ERA will generate some attention. As a 24-year-old he’s younger than just about any MLB free agent so it’s possible his best years are ahead of him. The upcoming class of free agent starting pitchers appears relatively thin so teams must consider alternatives such as trades and international players. MLB teams could add Tanaka without surrendering prospects or draft picks which is a bonus for the many GMs reluctant to part with minor leaguers and future picks. Interested teams: Blue Jays assistant general manager Andrew Tinnish and pro scout Dan Evans were in Japan scouting Tanaka last month Bob Elliott of the Toronto Sun recently reported. While teams generally don’t waste their time and money on players they have zero interest in adding there’s presumably an element of due diligence involved as well. The Blue Jays are far from the only team intrigued: The New York Yankees have heavily scouted Tanaka according to Mark Hale and George A. King III of the New York Post. The San Francisco Giants are interested according to Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com. Minnesota Twins executive Mike Radcliff is going on a scouting trip to Japan in the next few weeks according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN. The Boston Red Sox were watching Tanaka closely Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported in May. Cafardo also linked the Oakland Athletics to Tanaka. The Texas Rangers and Yankees have sent top evaluators to Japan to scout Tanaka Badler reported.
Japanese star RHP Tanaka intrigues Jays, others
Sportsnet | Sep 11