The Yankees’ ace, Masahiro Tanaka, has been on fleek for the majority of this young baseball season.
The 27-year old Japanese native is 3-0 with a 2.89 ERA in his 10 starts this season and is coming off an outing in which he surrendered a mere two hits over seven innings in an efficient fashion as he only threw 82 pitches (thanks, No-Run DMC).
Batters are struggling vigorously (.208) off Tanaka and if you take away two rough starts against the tough Royals and White Sox, he has held opponents to two runs or less in every contest this season.
But hey, include his two rough starts and his team is still 7-3 in games he starts. Comically, the Yankees won the contests in which he gave up four and six runs but dropped three games when he gave up two runs or less.
When you compare Tanaka with the rest of the AL, he gets lost in the crowd in some categories but emerges as a top pitcher in the rest. He is second in the AL in BB/9 (1.65), second in BABIP (.243) and has the sixth best war among pitchers with at least 60 innings pitched.
His ERA (2.89), BAA (.208), xFIP (79) and SIERRA (which answers the question: what is the underlying skill level of this pitcher?) all ranks in the top ten among AL Starters. Additionally, he is one of two qualified starters to have zero losses.
In comparison to his first All-Star appearance during his first half in America, it falls short, but not by much. His WHIP then was 1.005 and .964 here in 2016 but standard statistics show that the better Tanaka took the hill two years ago.
Tanaka makes the All-Star team as a reserve starting pitcher and will make a relief appearance as a representative of the American League on July 12 barring, of course, any fall-off in production.