Masahiro Tanaka sends shivers down spines when he pitches. His split finger fastball has left the Yankees’ players and staff in total awe of the pitcher.
The team has had nothing but positive things to say about their newest teammate and their recent interaction with his pitching has resulted in even more compliments for the $155 million man. The pitch left Yankees catcher Austin Romine in complete disarray at the plate and the catcher Brian McCann speechless. Romine admitted to having to turn and ask what kind of pitch it was because of way the pitch flew forward. Romine stated later “I’ve never seen a ball move like that before. It’s special”.
Tanaka’s split finger fastball is considered one of the best in the world, so it is no surprise the team is impressed to see it live during their preseason workouts and batting practices. Players were quoted saying that Tanaka is “as good as advertised” and gushed about how sharp every pitch has been so far.
His manager, Brian Cashman, commented that Tanaka’s “stuff looked crisp to me”. However, despite the love struck comments of his teammates and staff it is Tanaka who is the least impressed with his abilities so far. After throwing 25 pitches, including the well known split finger, Tanaka told reporters he felt he could still stand to make some improvements and feels he can get better pitching in the bullpen.
Well Tanaka, you do what you need to do but America is already aching in their hearts and sitting at the edge of their seats to watch you pitch those infamous fastballs, and the Yankees are already completely smitten with what they’ve seen thus far.
McCann also said that the pitcher’s “motion’s completely the same as his fastball, and that’s the key to getting swings and misses.” McCann is just one of many players who are already head over heels for Tanaka and the pitching he brings to the table. The talent he has displayed so far outside of the bull pen puts Tanaka on the right track to earning the $155 million on his contract. However, Tanaka stated that he felt he only pitched at around 70% intensity and hopes to continue working toward 100%.
Well if that fastball was only 70% of what Tanaka is made of the Yankees will have nothing to worry about with Tanaka. A pitcher who impresses his team and staff with what he calls 70% intensity, then goes on to say he wants to keep improving is a pitcher worth the money. That being said, Tanaka’s fastball may be the golden ticket to the World Series for New York and the stuff of opposing team’s nightmares this spring. I would hate to be the batter who has to face the 100% intensity split finger fastball flying out of Tanaka’s hand, and I’m sure the Yankees’ catchers are gearing up for some soreness as well, catching for their newest pitcher.
My only suggestion for Tanaka is to try not to hurt himself, the Yankees could definitely utilize his skill and those fastballs for many seasons to come. Oh, and I love you Masahiro Tanaka, you are what every Yankees fan wishes for when they blow out their birthday candles. Your fastballs and cutters are already visions dancing in my head as I dream of the Yankees season opener this April. Only 6 weeks and 2 days until the Yankees 2014 season opener!