News: 1 hour agoTanaka (concussion) played catch on the field at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reports.
Spin: Though Tanaka has yet to progress to throwing off a mound, Saturday's brief catch session is another positive indication that the right-hander is feeling fine after being struck on the head by a line drive off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton on Independence Day. With Opening Day less than two weeks away, it remains to be seen whether Tanaka will be fully stretched out -- or available at all -- at the start of the campaign.
ESPN Fantasy Projection: After a consistent four-year stretch where his xFIP ranged from 3.29 to 3.61 and his SIERA fell between 3.36 and 3.79, Tanaka's ERA ballooned to 4.45 in 2019. Checking under the hood, Tanaka's velocity has been in gentle decline, but not enough to account for last season's ERA spike. The culprit was an 11.6% swinging-strike mark with his splitter, half of what he was able to entice the prior two campaigns. Tanaka needs the splitter to be effective as his fastball generates swinging strikes at a meager 7% clip, while his slider has checked in around 15% over the past two years. The spin rate on Tanaka's splitter was higher than usual, something detrimental to pitches designed to drop. If he can correct that, Tanaka can again be a solid fantasy asset. It's not a sure thing, however, rendering the 31-year-old right-hander a risk.