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December 27, 2013

Raising Aces

Examining Masahiro Tanaka's Mechanics

by Doug Thorburn


The biggest news to hit the yuletide airwaves was the official posting of star NPB pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. From now through January 24th, teams are expected to scramble for the opportunity to pay the newly-adjusted $20 million posting fee and sign the right-hander. The new import process all but assures that Tanaka will receive a heftier contract than previous NPB standouts Yu Darvish and Daisuke Matsuzaka, since the bidding war now benefits the player rather than his old ballclub (much to the chagrin of Tanaka's squad, the Rakuten Golden Eagles).

Tanaka was the ace of the NPB champion Eagles, and he came in to pitch the last inning in the final game of the Japan Series to secure the championship trophy for Rakuten. The rare relief appearance came one day after an 160-pich outing in a complete-game loss to the Yomiuri Giants, and Tanaka's heavy usage patterns of the past could be a factor that affects his future performance. He has averaged a full eight innings per start over the past three seasons, frequently exceeding 130 pitches even when he fell firmly into the icy clutches of the early-20s injury nexus, which tempers the enthusiasm generated by the “25” in the age column of his baseball card.

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Related Content:  Pitching,  Mechanics,  Masahiro Tanaka,  Nbp,  Posting

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<< Previous Article
The Lineup Card: Nine ... (12/27)
<< Previous Column
Raising Aces: Bush Lea... (12/20)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Raising Aces: The Good... (01/03)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Minor League Update: I... (12/30)

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