The Masahiro Tanaka Post (Video, NPB Stats, Screen Shots of Stats)

Game Four is going on, but do you think Brian Sabean stops everything he’s doing for this kind of stuff? No, and neither do I. Normally he’s thinking about other baseball stuff pertinent to his organization while I, on the other hand, just think about other things other human beings in their twenties think about. Today just happens to be Masahiro Tanaka day. My friend basically says I’m overpaying for TV Japan, so while I’m doing that and watching TV Japan when baseball’s not going on, I also got to see highlights of Tanaka CG-ing the Yomiuri Giants in Game 2 of the Japan Series a couple times today. If that name sounds familiar, maybe you have heard of him from one of three Grant Brisbee posts, this really long article on him written by someone, or maybe you just watched the World Baseball Classic and remember him being one of the aces of the team.

As you’ve likely gathered from all these posts, there is probably reason for all this attention to the soon-to-be 25-year old pitcher pitching for the Rakuten Eagles, whom also employ former MLB-er Andruw Jones. (Yes, as a player.) Below is a video from the 6th inning of Game 2 of the Japan Series where you get to see a little bit of what Tanaka can do.

A stat the broadcast provided reminded me a little of the Ryan Vogelsong (and I’m sure a lot of other pitchers will do this, too)– Tanaka will up the velocity of his pitches when there are runners in scoring position:

Screen Shot 2013-10-27 at 7.16.27 PM

So, you’ll be happy to know that nobody but the Giants are interested in Tana–

Screen Shot 2013-10-27 at 7.20.24 PM

Because of course not, you sillyhead! The Dodgers are interested, too, so that will make negotiations fun for everybody, I’m sure. Here’s some information on a sneak peek into what might be the new posting system from someone that works with the MLBPA:

Which means even if the Dodgers and Cubs say that their posting fee will be $60MM, the Giants can be in 3rd place at $30MM and get into the discussion. Those are numbers I’m just throwing out there. Yu Darvish‘s posting fee was $51.7MM, and you can bet Tanaka’s camp has that number memorized to the very last digit.

Here are some stats of Tanaka, listed first amongst pitchers in the Japanese Baseball League. The columns after the name go as such: Team, ERA, G, W, L, SV, Holds, Win%, Batters Faced, IP, Hits Against, HR Allowed, Walks, HBP, K’s, R, ER, WHIP, DIPS.

Screen Shot 2013-10-27 at 7.28.05 PM

So Tanaka leads his league in ERA, has over 200 IP, 3.9% BB%, throws in the mid-90’s, is going to be only 25, you can’t tell me this kid hasn’t caught your interest at all. There are people that think that every Japanese pitcher is Daisuke Matsuzaka, or that every hitter that is not Ichiro Suzuki is a massive disappointment. I think the only thing we can really worry about are the innings that are on Tanaka’s arm already, being a Koshien horse (high school baseball tournament) and having pitched already 1300 innings in the NPB. Besides that, unless you’ve watched him and you’re a scout, your opinions on Masahiro Tanaka are probably going to be as valuable as mine are.

I think Tanaka would be a great get for San Francisco, but I’m not holding my breath on them submitting a strong enough bid to beat out everybody else that’s interested and get Tanaka’s attention in the process. However, the Giants just got out of the really big part of the Barry Zito contract and they’re done with Aaron Rowand‘s deal, and the Giants only have a few big contracts on their roster, so why not another?


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