Originally Posted by DSpivack
Does anyone know more about Tanaka's projection as an MLB pitcher? I feel like I've seen a lot written up regarding the posting system and NPB and MLB negotiating over changes to it, but relatively little scouting when it comes to Tanaka himself.
Traditional arm angle, small concern on body (especially back and head placement) through delivery, but there's a lot worse. Lands good. It looks fixable.
Sits low 90's normally on four seamer, can dial beyond 96 when he needs it. His other fastball is that "shoot" pitch. It acts like a 2 seamer. He averages about 93 on it. It gets tremendous movement and he commands it well. Virtually unhittable to right handers inside (he gave up like 10 hits on it the last couple of years), rough outside pitch for lefties. Think Mariano Rivera's cutter, only more movement and just as much command. And velocity is still climbing for him steadily every year.
His slider is a good pitch, but it's not a sweeper. He can throw it for strikes at will. It's tougher on righties, as basically an off-speed offering. He throws a forkball that's much much much better, but for some reason he doesn't throw it as often. That'll probably change when he comes over. It might, crazily, be his best pitch.
He also mixes in a cutter and an actual change, but it's rare. Last year he started working on a slow curveball, and it was seen a little more often as the year went on. He throws it SLOW...somewhere around 70-72 mph. If he can get that working, he'll just be plain nuts.
There's a reason teams are falling over themselves for this guy. It isn't that far fetched that he comes over an is immediately the best pitcher in baseball.