Newly-acquired New York Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole has some things to say about right-hander Masahiro Tanaka.
In a video posted by YES Network, Cole said he thinks highly of everyone on the team’s pitching staff but really admires “Tanaka… how can you not? I mean he’s been, just, like the quintessential professional here in New York for his entire stay… ”
He specifically appreciates how Tanaka came from a completely different world in Japan, but was able to adjust very well in New York, and become such a great pitcher and figure, in general. He noted that he wants to pick his brain about that transition.
Cole also recognizes Tanaka’s talents and ability on the mound.
“I think his delivery is really consistent so I’m really looking forward to learning how his thought process is on the mound and maybe some drills he does to keep himself so centered and so consistent over his delivery.”
These words speak to Cole’s character just as much as Tanaka’s. Cole has slowly worked his way up to becoming one of the best and most dangerous pitchers in the game. In 212.1 IP in 2019 with the Houston Astros, Cole finished the year with an AL-best 2.50 ERA and 2.64 FIP, 0.895 WHIP, and MLB-best 326 strikeouts, 185 ERA+, and 13.8 SO9.
He was an All-Star, finished top-10 in AL MVP voting, and was the runner-up for the AL Cy Young Award, falling just short of his then-teammate Justin Verlander. It really is amazing that a player of that caliber for whom a case can be made is the best pitcher in the game is so eager to hear about the experiences of and to learn from others.
In six years, Tanaka has a 3.75 ERA, 1.128 WHIP, 113 ERA+, 3.88 FIP and 75-43 record. He is also one of the most dominant postseason pitchers in the game with a career ERA of 1.76 and 0.727 WHIP in eight games.