Japanese phenom Masahiro Tanaka is on the short list of candidates to start for the American League, while 26-year-old setup man Dellin Betances figures to pitch out of the bullpen. Both newcomers have quickly emerged as masters of their respective crafts, helping an otherwise shaky Yankees team stay right in the thick of the playoff chase.
The 25-year-old Tanaka leads the majors with 12 wins, a number that no other Yankee rookie has ever reached before the All-Star break, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
If not for the remarkable season Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez is having, Tanaka would be a lock to start the All-Star Game. As is, Tanaka still has a chance to get the nod, with his 2.27 ERA only a bit behind Hernandez's 2.12 mark, and his 130 strikeouts just 15 shy of King Felix's 145.
Betances, who earned his first career save in Monday's game against the Cleveland Indians, hasn't received nearly the same amount of press as Tanaka, though his work out of the bullpen has been nothing short of remarkable. The New York City native ranks second among American League relievers with 52.1 innings pitched, while leading the majors in strikeouts (79) by a relief pitcher.
As if that weren't enough, the young right-hander sports a pristine 1.55 ERA, eighth-best in the AL among relievers who have logged 20 or more innings.
Along with Tanaka, Betances is the first rookie pitcher the Yankees have had in the All-Star Game since 1947, when Spec Shea did the honors, per the team's official Twitter account.