Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees
7-2, 3.15 ERA, 1.09 WHIP
Some might call me crazy, but Masahiro Tanaka has the ability to pitch at a Cy Young level.
After last year where he took a step back from his stellar rookie season, the Japanese right-hander has shown flashes of his old self. His splitter has wreaked havoc for hitters when he’s been at his best, leading to his 3.15 ERA (sixth in AL).
Even though his strikeout rate and WHIP have gone down, Tanaka has found a way to be effective by lessening his homerun rate. His 0.8 HR/9 is the lowest of his career and it has helped him this year to limit damage and prevent big innings, unlike last year.
If he wants Cy Young consideration, he is going to have to pitch like he did in the beginning of his rookie year. Although many people have been concerned about his arm since he hurt his elbow, those issues could be behind him.
Tanaka may not be back to his rookie year form, but if he is able to get some of that form back, the mediocrity of A.L. pitching may get him Cy Young consideration.