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New York Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka Already Earning Cy Young, A.L. MVP Discussions

June 6th, 2014 at 11:20 AM
By Doug Rush

If not for Masahiro Tanaka, who knows where the New York Yankees would be right now given their current struggles.

Despite being in third place at 30-29, Tanaka has been nothing short of dominant and has so far lived up to the hype that surrounded him coming over from Japan and signing a seven-year deal with the Yankees.

Following the Yankees 2-1 victory on Thursday afternoon against the Oakland A's, Tanaka picked up his ninth win of the season despite only going six innings, but is now 9-1 on the season with an American League-leading 2.02 ERA with 92 strikeouts in 84.2 innings.

Tanaka's strong start to the 2014 season isn't just earning him early honors for the American League Cy Young Award and potentially to start for the American League team in next month's All Star Game, but he's getting discussions for the American League Most Valuable Player award too as well. Joel Sherman of the New York Post discussed Tanaka's case for the MVP award.

"Two months into the season, Masahiro Tanaka is a front-runner for AL Rookie of the Year, Cy Young and to start the All-Star Game. Can we add MVP to the discussion, too? For the Yanks would already be near playoff extinction already without Tanaka, which makes him invaluable and, perhaps, “Most Valuable.” It is not just that the Yankees win when Tanaka pitches (9-2). It is that his workhorse genius — emphasis on workhorse — has empowered Joe Girardi to use the strength of this team, the late-inning pen, aggressively and early when the Yanks have a chance to win. Tanaka is winning his games and saving the bullpen to give the Yankees a chance to win other games. Is that Most Valuable?"
 
It's not uncommon for a starting pitcher to win the MVP Award; as Justin Verlander did so back in 2011 when he won both the Cy Young and the American League MVP Award when he went 24-5 with a 2.40 ERA and 250 strikeouts.
 
With the way Tanaka is pitching for the Yankees right now, he's looking to hit those numbers and it wouldn't be the first time Tanaka put up such numbers since he went 24-0 in the previous season while pitching in Japan. Without the 9-1 record, the Yankees are in deep trouble and likely not even in playoff consideration, but Tanaka has kept the Yankees in the race and thus, why he's been given consideration.
 
He'll likely face competition from Miguel Cabrera, Nelson Cruz and Jose Abreu; but as long as he keeps up the pace with his numbers, Tanaka makes a great case for the award and Verlander's 2011 season says that Tanaka has a great chance to win once the season is over.
 
 

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Tags: Baseball, Masahiro Tanaka, MLB, New York, New York Yankees

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