Masahiro Tanaka was born in Hyogo, Japan and played his high school ball at Komazawa University Tomakomai High School in Hokkaido. After sporting a 93 mph fastball in high school he was selected to play for the Japanese National Team and led them to a solid performance in the IBAF AAA World Junior Championships. During his high school career he struck out a Japanese High School record 458 batters and also hit 13 homeruns at the plate. In 2007 he joined the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in the Japanese Professional League and remained with the team until signing with the New York Yankees in 2013. During that span he was named the 2007 Pacific League Rookie of the Year, led the league in ERA and wins in 2011 and 2013, earned the 2013 Pacific League MVP award, won three Gold Glove Awards and earned six All-Star appearances. Tanaka signed with the Yankees in the 2013 off-season and immediately made his way into their rotation, earning American League All-Star honors during his first season in 2014.
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