The Yankees have their eye on an international pitcher

Tomoyuki Sugano, New York Yankees
Mar 21, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Japan pitcher Tomoyuki Sugano (11) throws a pitch during the first inning against United States during the 2017 World Baseball Classic at Dodger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are in the market for starting pitching once again. Names like Trevor Bauer, Masahiro Tanaka, and James Paxton are topping the market. However, the Bombers are also looking at some international names.

The Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan are expected to post right-handed pitcher Tomoyuki Sugano very soon. In fact, writes that Sugano could be posted as early as this week.Â

Sugano isn’t the youngest, but the 31-year old posted great stats in 2020. The right-hander was 14-2 with a 1.97 ERA, a 0.89 WHIP, and 131 strikeouts in 137 innings. From this, we learn that Tomoyuki isn’t a high-strikeout pitcher but can still get outs at an efficient rate. He’s played eight seasons in the NPB and won the Sawamura Award as the best pitcher in the NPB twice.

The Yankees have three potential spots to fill in their rotation. They’ve had some success with looking to fill those voids with international players. Names like Masahiro Tanaka and Hiroki Kuroda had success in the Bronx but Hideki Irabu and Kei Igawa turned out to be expensive misses.Â

Is Sugano worth the risk?

Giving money to an unproven international player is always a big risk. However, unless the Yankees are willing to spend 30-40 million on a big name like Trevor Bauer, they should try and take a risk on a player with ace potential. The names outside of Bauer in the free-agent market, don’t provide that for the Yankees.Â

Sugano has drawn attention from multiple ball clubs including the Yankees. It will be very interesting to see where he goes and how he plays out against major-league players. His potential and talent are there even if he might not be a long term option. Look to see if the Yankees take a risk on the 31-year old right-hander.