MLB has seen an exciting first quarter of the season. Two of the biggest headlines are two American League rookies, Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu and New York Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. The two teams are set to play a four-game series at the end of the week, but fans will have to wait for that exciting match-up in August due to Abreu being on the 15-day disabled list.
What the White Sox slugger has been able to do in 44 games is nothing short of amazing. With an AL-best 15 home runs and 42 RBI, Abreu should be a lot of fun to watch when he gets off the DL. However, he is not the most fun rookie to watch.
That rookie is Tanaka. Even when he does not look all that good, he is still impressive. His sinker is one to ponder about. It looks like a fast ball out of his hand and the next thing you know, the ball is dropping and making even the best of hitters look foolish. He pitches for the team that comes with the most pressure. He is 6-0 and as an AL pitcher, to have more hits than losses in a professional career, that is something to fathom.
As the Yankees deal with so many injuries, the piece holding the team together can be seen every five days. He is calm about the game and does not let the pressure situations get to him. Rather, he works with starting catcher Brian McCann and a Japanese translator to make sure he keeps his team in a position to win the game. He controls it with every pitch. Not many pitchers can get that credit, especially with only six professional wins. However, Tanaka is the exception — especially with the anchor of the rotation, CC Sabathia not looking like himself and being placed on the DL. If the Yankees were to make the playoffs, Tanaka who quickly looked like the team’s ace is surely going to be a big reason why.