The YES Network announced today that on February 10, at 7 p.m. ET, it will broadcast the June 9, 2013 Nippon Professional League game between the Rakuten Golden Eagles and the Yomiuri Giants. Why? Because Masahiro Tanaka started the game for the Golden Eagles and threw seven shutout innings. The YES broadcast will be provided in partnership with ONE World Sports, the TV home of the Yomiuri Giants.
Along with the broadcast announcement, YES passed along Tanaka scouting reports from John Flaherty, Ken Singleton and Al Leiter based on video they’ve seen.
“His fastball looks like it has a little more movement than I heard it did. It sinks in a bit on right-handed hitters; not enough to call it a sinker, but enough that the hitter will pay attention. He threw a lot of sliders-cutters in this game. It looks like he has a lot of confidence in it and he threw it for strikes when he was behind in the count. That tells me that this is his off-speed pitch that a catcher can call anytime and have confidence that it will be a strike. Kind of a get-me-back-in-the-count pitch. … His curve ball might not be a strikeout pitch, but it could be used for a get-me-over strike on the first pitch of an at-bat. The split looks like the best swing-and-a-miss pitch for him. I thought he would throw it more but he picked his spots in this game. You can see how a catcher will go to that pitch when the game is on the line. … His delivery is simple and he loads up on his back leg well. He is quick to the plate out of the stretch, so Brian McCann is going to love that. It also looks like he is a good athlete and fields his position well.”
“I was impressed with his control. He is constantly working the corners with all of his pitches. Tanaka has enough fastball, a good curve, a slider and a top-shelf splitter. He was not afraid to use his curve and slider when behind in the count. All his pitches were quality.”
“I think Masahiro Tanaka’s repertoire and “stuff” plays very well. His fastball velocity will sit at the 91-93mph mark and occasional touch 95. He has a very good split that has great late action with good velocity. His split finger is his main secondary pitch and his slider is better than his curveball. … I really like his mound presence and disposition. He pitches with a fire in his belly and is emotionally involved. … I think Tanaka can be a front-end starter once he gets acclimated to the routine of American baseball.”
Just few other quick notes from today:
· Interesting look at the Yankees farm system over at ESPN New York. Our friends Wally Matthews and Andrew Marchand quote one source who says Manny Banuelos could become a bullpen option out of spring training. Sounds more like that’s a theory based on how well Banuelos could pitch in big league camp, not based on any set-in-stone plan to have him tryout as a reliever. Interesting idea, though. The kid has a good arm. I would still fully expect him to open in the minors.
· From the remarkably thankless job of monitoring early workouts in Tampa, Anthony McCarron reports that Derek Jeter took more batting practice and took 32 ground balls at shortstop today.
Associated Press photo of Tanaka, headshot of Banuelos