Masahiro Tanaka as a MLB MVP Candidate? Just Look at the Numbers
Earlier today on Overtime with Jeff Thurn, Jeff asked Orange County Register writer Pedro Moura who he believed would be the MVP of Major League Baseball as of today.
His answer, a surprising Masahiro Tanaka. Is it really that surprising though?
Having watched Tanaka pitch in many outings (as a Yankees fan...yes bring the hate), I can assure you that he instantly makes the team better just by being on the mound. He brings a different feel to the organization in a year in which C.C Sabathia has struggled with a 3-4 record, and no other Yankees pitcher has half the wins that Tanaka does (10).
Just taking pitchers into consideration, Tanaka (10w, 1L, 2 No Decisions) is tied with Mark Buehrle (10W, 3L, 1 No Decision) in terms of wins, but Tanaka also has two less losses on the mound. Tanaka has a 2.02 ERA compared to Buehrle's 2.28 ERA. The only statistic that Buehrle has the advantage over Tanaka is in home runs allowed (4 for Buehrle, 9 for Tanaka).
As we know with baseball though, pitchers rarely win the MVP. Only two pitchers have won the MVP since 1990, the last being Justin Verlander in 2011. Tanaka would have a tough battle to win the MVP against some of the top hitters in baseball such as Jose Bautista or even Troy Tulowitzki.
If Tanaka is able to keep the current pace that he has though, it will be very hard to not name him league MVP. That will hold true if the pitcher is able to steer the Yankees back into the playoffs. Adding that to what should be an All-Star appearance, and a AL Cy Young award, would cap off an amazing season for the first year MLB pitcher.