Masahiro Tanaka’s has six pitches. We all know about his splitter which is one of the best in the game. His slider is somewhat less recognized but effective, boasting a whiff rate of 15.6% in 2018. After that, things fall off a bit. Tanaka’s four-seam fastball has been lowly pitch due to average velocity and same with his cutter which also has been much easier to hit than his splitter and slider.
That’s why Yankee fans will get excited when you get reports from Japanese media that Tanaka was tinkering with a new pitch. on Sunday against the Tigers he was seen toying with what seemed like a new pitch. And Tanaka confirmed he was working on a new Knuckle Curve ball.
We showcase two pitches here one showing his normal curve:
Notice the velocity at 77 MPH. And now check out the knuckle-curve:
Very slight difference and we think the velocity target might be closer to 80 MPH but this would be great for Tanaka and he could have his best season if he can add a third pitch to his already stellar splitter and slider.