Scouting report on Masahiro Tanaka

Masahiro Tanaka pitches to the San Francisco Giants Masahiro Tanaka pitches to the San Francisco Giants during an exhibition baseball game in Scottsdale, Ariz. on Mar. 11, 2009. (Jan. 22, 2014) Photo Credit: AP

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A scouting report on new Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka from former Yankees, Mets and Japanese league pitcher C.J. Nitkowski:

STUFF: "You'll see a fastball that's not going to blow you away -- it's not [Yu] Darvish's fastball, but 92 to 95 [mph] with really plus control. He has more of a forkball than a split [-fingered fastball]. But that's his first go-to pitch. That's a good one. That's the one he gets a lot of his swings and misses on. He throws a curveball and a slider, but not nearly as much. It's pretty much fastball/split."

 

MAKEUP: "He's kind of an alpha male. Loves being the lead guy. Ultra-competitive. Definitely a guy that wants to be an ace. It'll be a little different for him being in New York and theoretically not being the ace. But realistically, he'll probably be the ace when it's all said and done."

 

WEAKNESSES: "Not too much, to be honest to you. The big thing is how is he going to react to facing the best competition he's faced by far? It's not even close [between Japan and MLB]. Tougher competition, a different baseball, the mounds can be a lot harder here. He's already talked about getting different types of spikes. And also the mental component: Understanding it's OK to be what we call pretty good. That's considered average to Japanese stars. Getting over that and realizing it's OK. That's probably going to be his biggest adjustment out of all of them."

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