There is a burning question in every baseball fan's mind: How will Masahiro Tanaka pitch in 2014? The Japanese ace will be paid $155 million over seven-years by pitching for the New York Yankees. In his first season in the Major Leagues, how will the 25-year-old fare pitching with the big leaguers. First, let's take a look at his stats in his final season in Japan:
28 games, 212 IP, 24-0 record, 1.27 ERA, 0.943 WHIP, 7.1 H/9, 0.3 HR/9, 1.4 BB/9, 7.8 K/9
Those numbers will not be repeated in the Major Leagues. Tanaka is a great pitcher, but he shouldn't do as well as he did in his final season in Japan. Here are the Steamer and Oliver projections for Tanaka in 2014:
Steamers' prediction seems more on the realistic side for Tanaka. I doubt he makes 39 starts, like the Oliver prediction says. Even if he starts every fifth day, he'll likely make about 30 starts. I doubt the Yankees start him every fifth day. In Japan, Tanaka started every seventh day. Now, I believe he'll do something similar to Yu Darvish, who started every sixth day in his transition season in 2012. He made 29 starts that year. Here are my projections for Tanaka in 2014:
30 starts, 195 IP, 14-6 record, 3.25 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 2.5 BB/9, 7.5 K/9
Tanaka will likely get better as his career moves along. Lucky for us, we get to find out how well Tanaka pitches in 2014 in just 63 days.